I am really proud that A Metis Man's Dream; From Traplines to Tugboats in Canada's North has been accepted for sale in the gift shop of The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta. Just in time for ski season and Christmas!
The Whyte Museum is one of my favourite places in the whole world. Its bookstore/gift shop is a marvel of history, indigenous materials, mountaineering, and Canadiana. The art and displays in the rest of the galleries are well worth a visit.
You know, I have to look into getting a distributor for A Métis Man's Dream!. It is crazy to think you can deliver books either by driving them to your destination, or by Canada Post or freight services. This year has been fine because I have enjoyed travelling throughout Alberta (and almost, but for the wildfires, the NWT)
And the interaction with book store owners, museum curators, and gift shop operators has been really fun. Each of them has their own story to tell, and usually great advice on what books they have for sale!
Of course, delivering books to somewhere more than a few miles from your home, only to have them take one book at a time, is, well, pleasant but frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I understand the joint issues of space and rent.
I love any expression of interest and the chance to tell Gordon's story. And until we get some traction with CBC, or the major press*, it is ok to subsidize the sales efforts...even when a retailer only wants a single copy. Sometimes, they come back for more!
Canada Post, at least in small numbers, is not the answer. I think the single mailers for delivery in just western Canada (which by the way does not include the north) is about $17.00 which is significantly more than the author's share of the book proceeds. If you add it on to the price, well now you are looking at $41.75 instead of $24.95/$26.95, which may well price you out of the local history market. Bulk shipping brings the cost down.
Contrast this with the United States. According to a lovely young woman in a Phoenix post office, the US Postal Service has long had a mandate, in honour of its founder Benjamin Franklin, of shipping books cheaply. Apparently Franklin was also a book seller. In my experience earlier this year, the cost of buying the shipping container and postage from Phoenix to San Francisco was around $6.00 a book.
I have had discouragements, naysayers, rejections, and frustrations (including one prospective agent who said not even to bother, since no one would know either Gordon's name or mine).
Luckily for us, and our over 800 purchasers, and multiple library users (so far), that was not a universal feeling.
But what has made up for all that potential negativity is the tremendous outflow of unsolicited compliments, and reviews, an engaging and appreciative audience, and wonderfully encouraging book sellers.
My friend, classmate and fellow author Justice Adam Germain (retired) told me that for self-published books, A Métis Man's Dream is for sure a Canadian Best seller!
So, many thanks and much appreciation to all of you.
* CBC North did a nice interview with me; Hay River Hub, The Yellowknifer, and Mackenzie Report all did features in their newspaper coverage and we rec'd a really nice mention and small review in the November issue of Alberta Views Magazine.