Last thing at night now I Google “Bronze Inside and Out” to see what I get. For a while the number of hits kept going up and up until they were about 1200 or more, but now they’ve sunk back down below a thousand, maybe 800 or more. I have no idea why this happens. I’m cheered to see that the Calgary Public Library has ordered two copies, one for the history shelves and one for the biographies. But there’s no notice that they’ve arrived yet.
I do know that one of the Calgary newspapers has received a review copy and staff are discussing among themselves who is competent to review it. Now that’s a new thought. They want someone sensitive and insightful, but actually my premise in writing it was to create a book that would be funny and a little wicked! I mean, there are patches of discussion of the history of art or immigration patterns from Europe to Indian reservations in Montana, but they’re clearly labeled so a person can skip them. On the whole there is a lot of romance and ingenuity among a bunch of people who don’t always know what they’re doing. I mean, I think it sometimes kills art to be too respectful.
I’m dividing my desk time among my new niece (lots of family info and photos flying back and forth), a big zoning war brewing in the town of Valier, and the follow-up on this book. Letters to old friends to let them know it’s coming. I made a set of postcards to send to people around the state who ought to be notified -- I put the cover of the book on them. I’m posting emails to the people who have inquired over the past decade and trying to keep an accurate list of all these people.
In between I’m using my sharp stick on the shippers and the distributors of books. On January 2 the books were delivered from the printer. On January 15 the American copies were packed and waiting on the loading dock. About the same time I received my five complimentary copies. (What a compliment.) Michigan State University is the distributor on the American side, which confuses all the people who think Canadian publishers can just merrily distribute books on the US side without thinking of customs and all the people who think Canada is just another state, so why would a person need a second press to be a distributor? Can’t they just pop them in one of those padded envelopes and throw them in the USA mail? Michigan tells me it takes about about three weeks for the shipper to get the books to them. Then they ship to the American bookstores from there.
Amazon was saying that the books would be sent in March, so the U of Calgary Press said, “Oh, no! They’ll be out much sooner!” So Amazon changed the delivery date to Feb. 28 which shows they still haven’t realized this is a leap year but they know to be sceptical of shipping dates. They are still showing the discarded cover for the book, though the new proper cover image has been sent to them. (Or so the U of Calg Press claims.) Whoever was typing in my name got distracted somehow so I’m listed as Mary Stracha. My new nom de plume. Maybe I’ll be unmasked by the usual energetic and misguided NYTimes reporter -- if they aren’t all busy working to whip up a good fight among the Presidential candidates.
But I enjoy seeing the Google entries that are in foreign languages. I can’t tell whether there are errors or not.
I have a champion here in Montana who wanted to help me use my author’s discount to buy more books so I could sell them at readings and signings. I’m not allowed to do it in a town with a bookstore, but that’s not much of a constraint in Montana. I told him he was not to get involved until he’d read the book, so I sent him a copy several days ago. No word yet. 400 pages of fine print. I don’t know whether he’s a fast reader. It’s not his main line of work.
The book is priced at $45 which was assigned when Loonies were still at 80% or so. Now that they are at par, there is consternation all over the Canadian publishing sphere because suddenly Canadian books are extremely expensive. Amazon, however, is selling my book at $30, a nice discount -- almost as good as my own as author. When I asked, the U of Calgary Press told me, “Amazon does whatever it wants to do.” Googling reveals other discounts. I don’t know what’s happening in England or Australia, much less Japan -- but the book may be of interest to them.
So far I’m speaking at the Glenbow Museum on February 12 and will send them the DVD of Bob talking about his work in case the weather goes rotten and I end up in the ditch. The honorarium is not enough to pay for the gas ($4 in Canada -- at par) but friends will house me for the night. Anyway, the Glenbow is a beloved institution in the Scriver career and I'm very pleased to be there first.
Then I speak again at the Valier Library on February 16 and they say they will put up posters through the area. I had originally put out feelers in Browning but was met with no enthusiasm. However, I tipped off the man who’s been selling my homemade books about Bob for the last few years so that he’ll get copies for this summer without having to wait for a second printing. We all feel pretty confident there WILL be a second printing. They only ordered a thousand copies.
I sold 350 copies of my homemade 70-page trial balloon bio of Bob. As it turns out this has confused some people, who think this big formal book is the same. Also, people keep wanting to buy “Bronze Inside and Out” from me because I sold the homemade ones personally and they think my writing is just a hobby. At the other extreme, “Twelve Blackfeet Stories,” a Print On Demand book that I wrote and produced but that is printed in Britain and mailed to the customer, is not being linked to “Bronze Inside and Out” by the book suppliers who should be able to tell by the ISBN and other info that it’s the same author. Montana, the Magazine of Western History is supposed to review “Twelve Blackfeet Stories” in this issue. That might help.
At the moment publishing is so confused that not even the publishers really understand what’s happening -- maybe them especially. I commented to Whiskey Prajer, who self publishes through Lulu.com the same as me, “Most people get their information about publishing from the same source that they get their information about Christianity: the movies! It's a plot device. The result is that they only know about a much-desired letter that arrives with an epiphany, life is changed from then on, and all is well.”
But it’s more like marriage: a beginning. And in my case, one of the drawbacks is that Bob isn’t here to know about it, so I’ve been making phone calls to his grandkids. Next best thing.