One of the main things about A Métis Man's Dream, From Traplines to Tugboats in Canada's North for me as the author is the sense of direction that Gordon Gill had, even as a kid. He knew he wanted to be a welder and a mechanic, and somebody who could make a difference in the lives of others.
I doubt Gordon knew how his goals would carry him to success but somehow he seemed to know that he had to try. Gordon kept his eyes open for opportunity and wasn't afraid to try new things. Some succeeded; some did not.
Even in discouraging times, Gordon received unsolicited help from others that pushed him in new directions or gave him new ideas about business. Gordon's explanation was that he always worked hard; he did more than he was paid for, and gave more than was expected of him. He always wanted to help others look good.
That may be the core lesson of A Métis Man's Dream and of Gordon's personal success.
My own sense is that Gordon's personal friendliness combined with his dedication to hard work and his focus on the success of others led to 'pay it forward' reactions from others. Gordon was positive and gracious enough to engender that from others and to do the same for others. He was able to decide to follow through on the opportunities made available to him.
I asked Gordon a number of times during the interviews we had if he had any advice, any wisdom to share with young people, Indigenous, Métis or otherwise.
Gordon's answer was always no; he didn't presume to advise others. He felt that his situation was not likely to be repeated, that for him the stars aligned in such a way that he was blessed with good friends, good advisors and good success.
The funny thing for me is that the harder Gordon worked, and the more he tried to help others, the more those stars aligned. Just coincidence I guess.
Blue Rock Gallery, in Black Diamond is a delightful art gallery, book store and eclectic crafts seller (and more) right on main street. I stop there every time I go through town and invariably buy something. They now have a supply of A Métis Man's Dream and some of the source books I used for research for this book and my current project.
As a newly published author, I am learning a lot, usually at my own expense.
I recently blogged about the pain of non-response or outright rejection from book sellers. You will also know that self-publishing a book means hours and hours of self-promotion, and in my case, direct deliveries to bookstores and other outlets. Of course, when I felt compelled to start writing, I surely did not anticipate that the marketing and delivery would take on a life of its own, or that it would need to.
And the acceptance of books, especially on cold calls, is such a good feeling, a surprise and a blessing. I recently had wonderful chats with book sellers who took books, with no delay, like 6 at Mountain Light Books at the Chateau Lake Louise, 5 at The Viewpoint in the Samson Mall in Lake Louise Village, 6 at The Book Nook in Akamina Gifts at Waterton, and 6 for Jasper Mercantile and the Mt. Robson Store.
It is hard to describe the sense of appreciation and validation, that uplifting "specialness" that boosts the spirits of a beginning writer. Thank you George, Dale, Dave and Annie! Good luck with sales this summer.
One lesson learned after perhaps one too many road trips to sell books...one should actually call to see if the bookstore being sought is actually there, and open and a bookstore. You will be surprised at the number of places which appear on the internet as existing, but which are either gone, or are something else, or only sell used books, in a basement. In the long run, turning into a town, and following the GPS to a building that is empty, or an address which doesn't exist or is not really a bookstore, is not the end of the world. I like driving, I like road trips and exploring places I have often just flown by on the highway, but it sure wastes time, usually on a trip where the cost of gas outweighs the "profit" from the books sold anyway.
Fun news, for me anyway! A Métis Man's Dream is now lodged for sale in at least 19 sales outlets from the far southwest of the province (The Book Nook in Waterton Lakes) to Métis Crossing and Fort MacMurray Heritage Society park in the northeast, and Hay River and Yellowknife in the NWT!
And books are now in our first BC outlet, Mt. Robson Store in the Mt. Robson Provincial Park.
Fort Edmonton Heritage Park is now a seller of the book and a great place to check out local history relating to Indigenous, Métis and Others who made their home in the Edmonton area.
Fort Edmonton Gift Shops is the 21st retailer that has A Métis Man's Dream!
We have a new friend to share Gordon's story! The Bookstore on Perron which has been serving St. Albert and area since 1975 is getting stocked up on A Métis Man's Dream!
The audio version of A Métis Man's Dream is under production. The voices sound wonderful so far! I'll be updating this post when the audio book is ready for purchase.
Best wishes for a wonderful summer!
Marketing A Métis Man's Dream has been a learning experience! Of course, selling a self-published book is difficult, and per force, involves cold calling. For me, an almost overwhelming sense of inadequacy hits me as I arrive at the front door of a bookstore or as I see a call or email come in from someone who might reject this labour of mine.
Those are stressful moments. It is an easy time to rationalize that you are wasting your time, that yours is a book more suited to some other bookstore. I have been blessed by special people who have pushed me to, yes, actually go into the store, mention my book, see if they are interested in carrying it on their shelves.
For lo and behold, usually they are! What has been so truly fascinating and encouraging is that those same cold call approaches to book sellers have, like miracles, led to wonderful, interesting, deep and connecting conversations.
Those conversations, the information I have been blessed with, and the stories, some joyful, some sorrowful, which have been shared with me on this journey have been one of the highlights of the Gill project. There are so many good stories out there.
Thank you book sellers, for your support and your encouragement, and for sharing your own stories!
You will likely know and understand that putting yourself "out there", ready to be rejected, is quite personaI, and scary. And one difficulty is that, as I told a friend the other day, my book sales seem to be tied directly to my efforts. They go up when I am up and they go down when I am "down", inactive, tired, or distracted. So again, thank you book sellers and those friends who have suggested I contact this one or connect me with that one. It has been a marvelous ride!
There is another thing....perhaps it is worse just being ignored. I understand of course that no one has to take an interest in MY book. But I do find it strange and disappointing that CBC Edmonton, the Royal Alberta Museum (the Provincial Government is its purchasing arm), and the Fort Edmonton Park Indigenous Peoples Venue didn't even acknowledge receipt of information about a local, positive story of a successful Métis Edmontonian Gordon Gill. Especially a true story with much information about Alberta and NWT issues, and history, by an Edmonton author, sold in Edmonton bookstores.
I am very appreciative of the great interview aired on CBC North about Gordon and his life, and the full page articles about A Métis Man's Dream in various northern Alberta and NWT newspapers.
I am so happy to announce that new bookstores are coming on stream with A Métis Man's Dream all the time. Colourized, glossy, deluxe, signed-by-the-author copies have NOW been delivered to:
- Mt. Robson Store, Mt. Robson Prov. Park, BC.
- Jasper Mercantile, Jasper, Ab.
- Mountain Light Books, Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Louise, Ab.
- The Viewpoint, Samson Mall, Lake Louise, Ab
- Cafe Books, Main Street, Canmore, Ab.
- Shelf Life Books, 1302 - 4th St SW, Calgary, Ab.
- The Next Page, 9th Ave, Inglewood, Calgary, Ab.
- The Book Nook at Akamina Gifts, Waterton, Ab.
Thank you booksellers!
Books continue to be stocked and restocked with the good folks shown in the "Get Your Copy" Section of the website.
Thanks for supporting those stores which support Canadian, local and independent writers!