Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Tax Dollars Not at Work

I wrote (well, applied online per their request) the National Personnel Records Center in January asking for copies of my dad's service records. I know he kept a lot of papers, but I thought there might be something that I don't have but should be included in the book. The website indicates that it might take six weeks for a response, but that they are working to get that down to seven days. Since it is going on three months and I have received nothing, I sent another email just to make sure that they indeed have my original request on record. Here was the response:

"Thank you for contacting the National Personnel Record Center. We have
received your request for information and we are obtaining the
appropriate records. The estimated date of completion is approximately
7/27/2010. Please allow 5-7 business days mailing time."

I guess that shoots the seven day turnaround goal all to heck, doesn't it? Seriously??? Ironically, the Record Center is located in St. Louis, but you can't go there to copy the things I want. So my decision now is if I want to hold up the book, which is essentially ready to go to the book designer. If some pertinent papers end up showing up in a few months, I'll be mad at myself that I didn't wait. On the other hand, I hate to hold the whole process up. Maybe I'll contact a designer and see if it makes sense to do a layout now knowing that additional papers might be added later.

With regards to my other book, yesterday I stopped in at Pudd'nhead Books to see how sales are going. They actually had sold nine of the copies I had originally left with the store. Nicky wrote me a check for my portion of the sales, and also took an additional eight copies. We also talked about setting up a time for me to do a presentation on house research at the bookstore.

Today I mailed off two copies to the Midwest Library Service, which had sent me a purchase order in the mail. Interesting - I wonder how they heard about the book? And tonight I attended a genealogy lecture which was sponsored by the Clayton History Society. I took advantage of the opportunity to pass out business cards and show them my book. I also let them know I am available for speaking engagements to discuss how to research the history of your home. I figure I need to seize every marketing opportunity that presents itself.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Publishing University

Recently I received notification that I have been selected as the scholarship recipient to represent the St. Louis Publishers Association at Publishing University next month in New York. While I will be responsible for my flight, hotel and other expenses, the scholarship pays the not insignificant registration fee to the two day conference. Publishing University (I sure don't want to call it PU!) is a conference by publishers, for publishers, designed to bring you up to speed on changes in the publishing industry and to help you grow your business. Even better is the fact that the workshops are broken down for those who are just starting a company, those with a company already established, and those looking to take their companies to the next level. Marketing guru Seth Godin is a headlined speaker, and he should be awesome. I'm looking forward to an information packed two days, and need to decide if I want to stay on in New York for the BookExpo America. I wasn't seriously considering it until I learned that Barbra Streisand is the opening night speaker. Wow!

Okay, back to reality...The Webster Groves Historical Society called and requested more books. They sold the five copies I left there on consignment. I am donating 20% of book sales to the society, so they have been really helpful in pushing the books. As a member, it makes me feel good to give back to them as well. I dropped off ten more copies on Thursday, and they made me aware of a genealogy presentation this Wednesday that is sponsored by the Clayton History Society. Free and open to the public, I think I'll attend with copies of my book and business cards in hand. This society might be interested in having me as a speaker down the road.

In the mail on Saturday I received an order for two books from Midwest Library Service. Apparently they purchase books for resale to libraries. Interesting...I wonder how they heard about the book? With their order, I have now sold 50 books and have 25 additional copies out on consignment. Not too bad...

I have my computer set up for "Google Alerts", and I get an email every time my name, my book's name or my website are mentioned on the web. Mostly I just hear about my new posts on my blogs, but the other day I got an unusual alert. Apparently someone listed my book for sale on Amazon, at more than the retail price. Good luck with that one, pal.