Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Different Kind of Bread at the Farmer's Market

This morning started foggy and wonderfully crisp as a light drizzle misted down upon our town. This summer I have been spared the sizzling heat that normally bakes me dry and makes me feel like a crispy weed that will snap with the next passing foot fall. Today began with gray clouds hovering low across the green oak mountains. The dense clouds framed the heaven while the gray pavement under my feet blocked me from hell. The cool space in between was mine. And for that I was thankful.

Today, I had a new venture to begin.

Today, I went to our local farmer's market, but not to buy fruits and vegetables.

Today, I went to sell books. Bingo books. Bingo's Big Adventure that is.

Our farmer's market just opened up for "crafts" and I dragged my folding tables and my big green umbrella and my boxes of books and my wrinkled cotton table cloths and my framed photos and my laminated sheets of literature downtown to set up a Bingo booth with aspirations of greatness.


My goals were to sell books, meet members of my community and get some exposure . . . in any order they would come. I am not picky about this.

Marketing as an independent author and publisher is not easy and you have to proceed by your own merits. There is no overnight stardom. There are no big guys who have your back or who's words alone will sell your work. It's the real deal. If people like it they buy it. Plain and simple.

People began filtering through the market. Singly and in pairs. Mothers with stroller. Dads with stroller. Families walking in staggering lines among the booths. Families in tight clusters touching shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, hand to hand. All shapes. All sizes. All colors. They were all out to see the offerings from the vendors who were trying hard to attract customers to their fresh foods.

Placed at the end of the market, the crafts were the last in the line. But I did not mind. I was a little nervous, but confident that some one or many some ones would like to buy my book.

The first book that sold was a paperback. Phew. . . One down. Then another paperback. And then a hardback. And another paperback. And so it went. In total, I managed to sell 25 books to total strangers in four hours.

I was relieved.

The best part of the day was seeing the reaction of the kids who were looking at the Bingo book without their parents. There was one special boy who I will never forget. He was a spiky haired blond, about 8 years old, with blue eyes and a white sugar mustache. He'd definitely been eating some cinnamon rolls with frosting!

The blond boy carefully leafed through each page of the Bingo book right before me. I could quietly study him. This was a total stranger child who I could look at and judge for reactions. Uninfluenced by parents or any other adult, I could see a raw opinion from this little guy.

He never looked up at me as he inspected the book, but I could see the gears and wheels moving steadily in his mind. He did not rush to turn pages. He was thinking about what he was seeing and reading, then processing the information.

When this little boy turned the page to reveal Jimmy the Cat with his arched yellow fur and slanted eyes, his child's mouth made a long vertical "O" and his voice did the same. His eyes perked up and he studied while skimming the words.

And his expression of wonder and awe was once again displayed to me when he viewed the picture of Bingo climbing the tree... After a short time, his parents who were nearby came to him. His mother asked him softly if he wanted the book. He said yes. And they got it for him.

Goal Achieved.

Finally, with the sun reaching it's highest point in the sky and the fog's disappearance, the ground did not open up and swallow me whole, cooking me within a searing oven. The day broke open slowly and a evenly baked loaf of bread emerged. It appeared to be just right for eating. And I was glad to have been able to serve a few slices. I think it might just be good bread.

19 Comments for OSL:

Sharkbytes said...

Julia- this is SO awesome!!!!! My book (not the Moose one, but North Country Cache) has not done well at farmer's markets, but I've never been at one with a real amount of traffic, and it's not the same as a picture book, eh?

I am so happy for you! I will buy one of yours when I end up with special kids in the right age group again.

Joan

Melodie said...

Congratulations on your great day at the farmers market! It is wonderful when you see a child like the Spikey haired boy who all ready has a love for books!

Cheryl said...

Good for you Julia. What a rare treat to see the reaction of a child discovering your book for the first time.

Doris Sturm said...

Good bread indeed, food for the mind and soul... I enjoyed this post tremendously, not just because you did well selling 25 books (Congratulations) but I was studying that little boy right along with you and I'm so glad his parents bought him your book.
Sounds like you had a great time for a lot of reasons. How did your son enjoy his market experience?

Pricilla said...

Oh how wonderful. Farmer's Markets can be fickle and 25 books is fantastic!
Congratulations!

Suzi said...

Hey,nice picture! Great job yesterday, congratulations!

bcurlette said...

Julia, well done! Undoubtedly, many children will explore Bingo's adventures as did the blond headed boy! This is just the beginning of many more adventures for young children.

blueviolet said...

I just love how you described the day of sales, and that boy's reaction is fabulous!!!! Congrats on the sales!

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

You're so brave! I'm glad you sold so many.

I personally thought Jimmy added a whole lot of excitement to the story. He's going to have his lawyer call Bingo's lawyer and then do a conference call to your lawyer, concerning getting a bit of CREDIT (payable in catnip) for his contribution to the wonderful story.

Karen said...

I loved reading how the little boy read and discovered the excitement of the book. Way to go on the sales. It is probably worth more knowing how a child's face lights up as they read the book. The sale was icing on the cake.

Sara said...

Congrats! That is wonderful! Wishing you continued success!

Dawn said...

So cool! I knew kids would love Bingo's Big Adventure!

Raven said...

Congrats, that is fantastic! I'm very happy for you.

Julie Harward said...

That is so awesome...so happy for you! :D

theUngourmet said...

I love kids! They are so innocent and full of wonder. :) Congrats on selling so many copies of your wonderful book! I love the photo of you with your kids at the market! Fun!

San-Dee said...

what a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning. You are teaching the kids so many things by including them. they are two lucky people!

DayPhoto said...

Good for you! I saw the same marvelous wonder in my grandchildren. Your book is a delight.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/

Grand Pooba said...

Holy cow, that is awesome you sold so many!!! I gave the other copy to Brolan and he LOVED it! It's such a cute book!

Vixen/Apron Frenzy said...

That had to be so very, very gratifying! Good for you going out there too. I am, however, extremely jealous that you are not baking away in the heat like I am....