Thursday, September 29, 2011

Word On!

Have you ever watched a fly attempt to escape through a screen window? Poke, poke, buzz around, poke again, buzz…of course you haven’t, that’s just weird. OK, how about the cliché of the hamster going around and around on a wheel? Either one of those represents my life in the last few days.
First, my husband’s band held their annual dance on Saturday night. Our granddaughter came to kick up her heels. So there I was, wiggling my butt along with hers, lifting her up so she could see, doing the twist and the mashed potato too…
Next morning, I’m up early to get to Word on the Street on time. I take my bag lady shopping cart with me, along with my wheelie briefcase. Alison and I meet at the subway, find a parking spot, then trundle down the sidewalk to Word on the Street. (We pass a movie shoot with Rachel McAdams and I miss my Meredi again!)
The tents are spread all over Queen’s Park Circle, on the road, pathways through the trees, and up the streets to the north and south of the park. It’s a perfect day; a sunny, breezy September, and there are already hundreds of people wandering through the stalls. The displays are in various states: some are dressing up, some are setting up, some are selling. The Word is On!
Our authors and volunteers are at the Crime Writers of Canada tent already. I finally meet Jackie from the National Post, after months of talking and planning by phone and email. The writers are enthusiastic, funny, spirited. We hang crime tape, a Beware sign, and lay spider and skull tablecloths to make our booth fit the theme. It’s a wonderful camaraderie and the positive energy flows out to our potential customers. We get hundreds of them!
The buzz is all over the area. After several days of rain, a taste of sun yesterday, today is a glorious display of warmth, colour and synchronicity. Everyone smiles. People line up in orderly fashion for the deals or the contests. They’re having fun.
I am hyper and do not sit down all day. Wearing my witch’s hat, I give out flyers and coax people in to meet our authors. Most of the time I get grins and “I like your hat” comments. One woman, however, says she doesn’t appreciate being approached by a person in a witch’s hat so I lie defensively, “I’m a wizard” but she’s still not impressed.
A tall thin man, grey hair flowing over his shoulders, passes by with his stick wife at this side. I ask, “Do you like mysteries?” and I get a quote about history in return. “No,” I foolishly say, “mmmmystery…” About thirty minutes later, I have been lectured on the death of society so thoroughly that I am almost convinced that I should give up taking care of my teeth or eating, as this man and his wife have clearly done.
Some of my friends drop by, Kim and Clair and Nancy and Frances and Marty and Cathy and Bernard, and I’m so happy I can share this gorgeous day with people I know. I visit Cheryl in the Bloody Words tent, eat a sausage on the run with Nancy, but otherwise, I stick around the CWC booth.
When it’s my turn to sell, I am suddenly shy. On one side, I have an absolute master of marketing, who knows exactly how to successfully pitch books. On the other, a disgruntled salesperson who’s obviously not happy with how things are going. I feel squished and out of my element. I can sell others, but not me, it seems. I sell two books, one to a friend and one to a stranger. Then I buy two other authors’ books. What a salesperson.
Now that I have my ebook contracts with Imajin Books, I am determined to learn how to do this. When I get home, my body is pretty much inflamed with anger about standing on my feet for eight hours, but I ignore it. All day Monday I read and follow my publisher’s tips on selling. At least I’m sitting.
I can do this! I can! Right?
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