Tuesday, April 20, 2010
My Latest Promo Adventure
The little town where I live is in the foothills of the Sierra, 17 miles above the nearest city, Porterville.
Every year they have an annual Jackass Mail Run which is more or less to alert people to the fact that the very next weekend is the Springville Rodeo.
In the morning, a mail wagon pulled by mules leaves Porterville being escorted by about 60 horseback riders, sometimes more. They make a stop at the Antlers, a local watering hole on the highway for a barbecue and whatever people like to drink at these things.
Meanwhile, starting at 9 a.m., people began putting up tents and displays in the parking lot of the Springville Inn and across the street in the park. When we got there we found the space were marked with numbers but though I'd been in touch with the woman in charge of vendors numerous times, she'd neglected to give me the number of my space. We stood around for awhile and finally decided to just set up where in a space no one had claimed. You can see the backside of me helping with this process in the above photo.
The actual event started at noon, but I made my first sale around 10 a.m. to a truck driver who bought two books for his mother. That sale paid for my spot. People started coming around 11 a.m. I was the only one selling books--not uncommon for me--and many of my sales were to people who were looking for me. There had been a great article in the paper telling about the book store signing I did last weekend and that I'd have a booth at the Jackass Mail Run. I also send out a few announcements.
In the photo of the Springville Inn you can see how people gathered to wait for the Mail Train. Most of the riders dropped off at the rodeo grounds. When the train arrived around 5, there was a big gun fight with robbers attempting to steal the mail, but the mail made it to the post office and anyone who'd sent mail that way (cost a few bucks) will get a Jackass Mail cancellation on their letters.
You can see our two famous residents in the photo on the Inn's balcony, Springville's Honorary Mayor, actor Ned Beatty and Monte Montana Jr.
Despite this being a truly Western Event, I did quite well selling my books. Next up is a library event--I don't expect any gunfire at that one--or any celebrities.
It's always fun to watch the gunfight though it's very noisy.
Son and daughter-in-law came to help us break down the tent so we took them out to eat at the Thai Kitchen.
If you've never tried selling books at a non-literary event like this you should try it. It's a lot of fun, and after you've done it a few times, people will come looking for you. I even had one friend who only came to buy my latest book.