Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Roundup

As the end of the year approaches (!) I am trying to get a handle on the Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed(room)? books I have out on consignment. The St. Louis Genealogical Society has had 5 of the books since day one and I have received no payment from them. The weekend before last when I was in their office I noticed that only 2 books remain on the shelf. Have they sold 3? My neighbor bought 1 there, so I know I am owed for at least that book. The lady in charge of the shop is a little hard to get in contact with, so I have sent her an email and hope to hear back from her soon.

The Webster Groves Historical Society is the easiest to deal with. They had sold 3 more copies of the book, so I went over there yesterday and was paid in cash for those. While I was there, a local woman was looking through the original Webster Groves tax books in an attempt to research the history of her home. She has checked my book out of the library a couple of times, so she was familiar with me. I gave her a few pointers on other places to look. It was a little disconcerting to hear her say that our library told her they have nothing except my book (yay!) and a CD with a spreadsheet on it listing some of the tax payments. There is so much more at the library than that! When our library renovation is complete I definitely want to schedule a session on how to research the history of your home.

The current president of the historical society asked me (again) to serve on their board. Unfortunately their board meeting conflicts with the St. Louis Publishers Association meetings, so I just can't do it. I told her (again) that I would really like to work with the archivist in organizing the historical society collection. No one knows exactly what we have, which is a shame. That is when she told me that the archivist left this summer to move to Oklahoma. She then wanted to know if I would take over. I explained that I am not an archivist - I am quite sure there are things one should know about handling and storing the old records. (Such as the fact that our original real estate tax records dating back to 1897 should not be on metal shelves close to the floor in an old building!) I really would love to help, but I am a bit concerned that if I step forward I will be biting off way more than I want to chew. I'll have to do a lot of thinking on that.

Today will head over to Puddn'head Books. The last time I was in there they were getting ready to move across the street, so we decided that I would bring more books over after the move. At that time they only had one book left on the shelf and I had given her 9 the time before. So I will be looking to collect some money there as well.

All of this points to one of the biggest drawbacks of self-publishing. In addition to being the author and the publisher, you also become your own distributor - at least in St. Louis where the one distributor was driven out of business when Borders collapsed. This means you have to be responsible for getting your books out in the market, tracking them and collecting payments. Definitely not the fun part of the job.

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