Most of my recent posts have been positive, but today I’ll share the other side of the coin. I made a few more “cold calls” in Bryson City, North Carolina, on December 13. Some of them went better than others. Although a Saturday in December was probably not the best day for me to be out and about promoting my book to store owners, it was my only opportunity to visit Bryson City this winter. Overall, I had a successful day. I called on three stores there in the afternoon that probably won’t result in book sales, but that’s okay. Bryson City isn’t a large enough town to support my book in every store. I’m confident that it will soon be available in two stores in town and that will be perfect.
Trips like the two I made to the mountains in December have given me confidence and some interesting memories. All the memories fall into the “good” category except for one, which definitely falls into the “interesting” category. I visited one store, which will remain nameless in this blog, in which the owner was less than receptive. After reprimanding me for having called on him on a Saturday, he turned his head and spit. (You can’t make this stuff up!) Needless to say, I do not expect my book to ever appear on the shelves in that store. I can’t help but think that particular establishment stays in business in spite of the owner. The other 25 to 30 store owners I met in December were welcoming and gracious. There are a lot of good people out there operating small businesses. I hope as the economy continues to improve, people will remember to support small local businesses.
As a new author, I must get myself and my book title out there any way I can without breaking my contract with Arcadia Publishing. Together, we are trying to blanket the mountains with my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is proving to be a slow process, but I believe I made some excellent contacts during the month of December.
My next blog will be about another pleasant surprise I had in Bryson City.
Bryson City is a nice little town just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of its draws is Smoky Mountain Railroad and the steam trains one can take to and from the town. We were there recently on a Saturday. The historic downtown district was filled with families and children dressed in their pajamas — ready to board The Polar Express that evening.
We were in town to try to get my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, placed in a store or two. Sometimes we go into a store hoping to place it there only to be sent to another location. That is what happened in Bryson City. I thought perhaps the old N.C. Clampitt Hardware Company or the Ace Hardware would be interested in selling my book. I was told in each of those establishments that I needed to go up the street to Charleston Station and ask for Diana Clampitt. Charleston Station is an antiques and gift shop located in an old house.
Ms. Clampitt is one of the owners of all three stores. She loved my book! She said she will order it in the spring for Charleston Station. She tries not to duplicate merchandise in the three stores. Charleston Station will close after the holidays for the winter and will reopen on March 18, 2015. Hopefully, my book will be available there when it opens for business then for the tourist season.
When I was researching retail stores throughout the mountains of North Carolina where my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, could be sold, I was intrigued by a bookstore in Cherokee called Talking Leaves.
A couple of weeks ago, I got to visit Cherokee and Talking Leaves. It is in a small strip shopping center at the corner of US-19 and Nickel Drive, next to KFC. The owner, Ron Blankenship, thought he had my book on the shelf. Taking a closer look, though, he realized he had confused my book with another book by Arcadia Publishing.
I showed Mr. Blankenship my book and gave him a postcard with its picture on the front and ways to contact the sales department at Arcadia. I hope he will order my book.
While visiting bookstores and other retail establishments that sell books in the mountains of North Carolina a couple of weeks ago, I made a point to stop by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Oconaluftee Visitors Center near Cherokee, North Carolina.
I hoped to find my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, on the shelf there, but it was not there. I was pleased, though, to get to meet Ila Hatter, a volunteer with Great Smoky Mountains Association, the 501(c)3 organization that operates the bookstore/gift shop at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center. I recognized Ms. Hatter from seeing her on UNC-TV (North Carolina public television.) She is a medicinal plant expert. It was a pleasure to meet her.
I told Ms. Hatter about my book and she told me how to e-mail the buyer for the Great Smoky Mountains Association. I did that when I returned home, and I hope to see my book on the shelves in all the GSMA gift shops on my next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
My sister and I joined the Great Smoky Mountains Association and hope to get to take advantage of some of the programs the association offers throughout the year. Even if we don’t, though, we like knowing our membership dues help preserve the national park and provide educational opportunities for others.
Weekend before last we took time out from visiting bookstores and publicizing my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, to attend two performances by the Lake Junaluska Singers at the United Methodist Church Conference Center at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.
The Lake Junaluska Singers performed in Stuart Auditorium. Since I had researched the building and written about it in my book, it was nice to get to enjoy two concerts there.
The bell at Lake Junaluska, which I wrote about in my book, is between Harrell Center (where the bookstore is located) and Stuart Auditorium. It was donated in 1920 to call conference attendees to meetings in the auditorium.
I also wrote about Memorial Chapel at Lake Junaluska in my book, so I was glad to finally see it for myself. The chapel was constructed in 1949 in memory of members of the Methodist Church, South, who served in the armed forces during World War II.
The lake at Lake Junaluska is beautiful any time of the year. It was named for the Cherokee chief who served in that capacity in 1838 when the United State government ordered the removal of the Cherokee people to the Oklahoma Territory.
After leaving the Biltmore Estate on December 12, 2014, I went to downtown Asheville and visited Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. I knew my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, had been available there since the week it was released in August.
Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar is an intriguing combination of old and rare books and hot-off-the-press books shelved and otherwise displayed on and around interesting pieces of furniture. There are cozy little areas where friends can meet for drinks and quiet conversation and chairs in corners where readers can sit and escape into the pages of a good book.
Seven copies of my book were on a shelf in the Western North Carolina section, a copy was on display on a table with several other Arcadia Publishing books, and one copy was on display on an end cap across from one of the bars! Wow!
Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar is located in the Grove Arcade. I included a postcard of the Grove Arcade in my book. It has quite an interesting history. It was built by Edwin Wiley Grove, who also built The Grove Park Inn. He made his fortune selling Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic.
The Grove Arcade fills a city block at 269,000 square feet. It opened in 1929 with shops and offices. The federal government took over the building during World War II, but in 2002 it was restored to it’s original beauty and elegance and is again home to a variety of shops and offices. After researching it while writing my book, it was a thrill last Friday to get to see the building and enjoy several of the stores there.
As the sun was setting over the Blue Ridge Mountains, we (my sister/trusty photographer and I) returned to Lake Junaluska for the night and a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” by the Lake Junaluska Singers and an orchestra.
I visited The Book Binder’s Shop and the Shop at the Gate at the Biltmore Estate. My book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, was not being sold there, although other Arcadia Publishing books were. I followed up with the buyer and hope my book will be sold there soon.
We arrived at Lake Junaluska late on Thursday afternoon. Lake Junaluska is a conference center of the United Methodist Church. My vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, includes many images from the conference center. After checking in, we visited the bookstore in Harrell Center.
I was pleased to find copies of my book on the shelf in the bookstore.
We had tickets to attend the Christmas portion of “The Messiah” that evening in Stuart Auditorium. It was a thrill to see the auditorium after researching its history for one of the vintage postcards in my book. The auditorium was originally green, so I was surprised to discover it is now a white building.
The Lake Junaluska Singers performed with back up from other singers and an orchestra that was made up of musicians from Asheville, Black Mountain, and Appalachian State University. It was a wonderful evening and a relaxing way to end a very busy day of traveling and visiting bookstores.
Our next stop in Waynesville, North Carolina last Thursday was Blue Ridge Books. What better name for a bookstore selling my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina?
I knew Arcadia’s sales rep had placed the book there in August, so I was eager to see it on the shelf and thank the owners face-to-face. (I wrote letters to all the stores in which the sales rep sold the book the week it was released.) I found two copies of my book in the Western North Carolina section of Blue Ridge Books.
I introduced myself to Christine, one of the Book Associates. She asked me to autograph my books and then asked if it would all right if she added them to the “Autographed Books Make Great Gifts” table near the front of the store. “Of course!” That was a no-brainer!
By then, Jo Gilley, one of the store owners had come out front, so I got to meet her and thank her for selling my book.
We enjoyed the scenery as we drove from Brevard to Waynesville, North Carolina last Thursday. It had snowed the night before and a dusting of snow remained in the shaded areas beside US-276. Some exposed rockfaces were encased in ice, while some had long icicles hanging from them. We took time to stop and visit Looking Glass Falls, one of my favorite waterfalls in our state.
There are two views of Looking Glass Falls in my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
It was a cold but bright sunny day. I love driving on curvy mountain roads. US-276 is a good one. It was a great day!
We visited Mast General Store on North Main Street in Waynesville, North Carolina. No visit to Mast General Store is complete without a trip to the candy section. You pick up a basket and select how much of each wrapped candies you wish to purchase. You pay by the pound of candy; it’s all the same price. In addition to current popular candies, they sell some old-fashioned candies that were all the rage in the mid-20th century.
I was happy to find my book on display and for sale at Mast General Store. I hope it’s available at all their locations in western North and South Carolina.