Friday, July 27, 2007

In Canada, as in Ireland, books seem to be a bigger deal than in my neck of the US of A. Granted I live in northern Wisconsin where fishing, hunting, logging, and supposedly outdoor sports like hockey and football more effectively captivate the interest of the general population. Here in the Hamilton/Toronto market (fifth largest market in North America, I'm told) there isn't a lot of hunting going on. (Unless you're stalking rival gang members.) There are a lot of bookstores though. Walking around "Fat City" (as some Canadians call it) tiny bookstore-fronts regularly leap out of the confusing glut of small shops lining both sides of every street and proclaims a sale on this or that title. In fact, right next door to my current domicile, resides one Bryan Prince, whose bookstore in Hamilton was benkighted with the honor of "Best Bookstore in Canada" just last year. Looking back on my transistion from logger to writer to publisher, reget has a way of infusing my body. In the land where trees outnumber humans by a gazillion to one (more or less) I chose to find life in publishing. If I'd been born in Toronto would I have taken to logging? Not likely.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Speaking of Ellen Baker's launch (see below) undoubtedly the most memorable book launch in SPI history was last December when Carl & Debbie Nelson launched Packers "Verses" Vikings. The launch party was at the Keyport, a local bar. The Nelson's were giving away little plastic Packer footballs as door prizes. The Packers/Vikings game was on the big screen. The place was packed, much hilarity ensued. Until near the end of the 4th quarter when a guy who had had his share of beer took umbrage (Packer's fans are always taking umbrage in our area) saying he'd been cheated out of a little plastic football. A fight ensued (fights at Packer/Viking games are de rigueur in our area), the cops were called. One woman was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. The offender was hauled off in handcuffs to jail, and, most importantly, the Nelson's sold over 100 books.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Met with old pal and SPI author Frankie Larson at the Anchor Bar today. Frank is an old Sourdough from Alaska who wrote two books for Savage Press. He self published the first book, Jackpine Savages, or Skinny Dipping for Fun and Profit, and then spun it off to Savage Press for sales and distribution. JPS is riotiously funny if you're from Iron River, Wisconsin and pretty dang funny if you're from anywhere else. His second book, Baloney on Wry is a collection of his best newspaper columns from Alaska and Tennessee and is also pretty dang funny. I dare you to buy one or "tuther" and not LOL at least once when reading it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Book Launches

Went to Ellen Baker's book signing event last Tuesday here in Superior. There was a line about 200 people long and the report is that Ellen sold 300 books that night. Pretty dang good for a Superior, Wisconsin book launch. It helps that Ellen is tremendously talented and wrote a captivating narrative. I had the privilege of meeting weekly with Ellen when she was working on one of the drafts of the book. I was happy to see her success and I was a little sad. Sad to think that my own writing hasn't gotten a smiliar reception. I'm a little loathe to admit the jealous part of me, but it is there and there's no denying it. And on a more cheery note, Ellen's success reminded me of a couple of SPI book launches that were equally exciting. Jill Downs' book launch for The Awakening of the Heart at the Duluth Barnes & Noble sold 165 books in two hours. Phil Sneve's (Rhymes with Navy) launch of Eraser's Edge sold 150 books in a couple of hours. Rebel Sinclair's launch of The Devil of Charleston at the Old Jailhouse in historic downtown Charleston, S.C. sold 78 books in one afternoon. Georgia Post's launch of With Malice Toward Some sold 75 books in one evening. Plus we all had loads of fun. Cool.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mid-year inventory is always instructive. We've created and sold over 30,000 books since starting this adventure. That's 30,000 books that weren't in existence before and weren't in the posession of readers. Industry literature indicates that every book sold is read, on average, by 4 people. That's 120,000 readers of SPI titles. Pretty cool.