Friday, October 12, 2012

Georgia COMO update

Last week was the Georgia combined librarian event in Macon, Georgia. The trip down there wasn't too bad except my GPS took me the round about way to get to Anderson to get to the back road to head down to Macon. The traffic was light until I got around Athens but then again, that is the home of Georgia University (or maybe it's the University of Georgia, whatever it is - home of the GA Bulldogs) and I had missed a turn which would have taken me directly through downtown Athens. Coming back, the GPS wouldn't let me go the back way around Athens and on Friday afternoon the weekend of the GA-Carolina football game at 3 or so in the afternoon - not a good time to travel through Athens. The drive was really rough on my knees for some odd reasons and next year, I need to remember to make several stops along the way so as to get out and stretch my legs so I won't be so stiff. My left knee is finally recovering almost a week later. The school librarians weren't really at the event as expected but overall I did make some good contacts. Met Mimi from State Standards Publishing who led me to Follett (a distributor). I was supposed to be in the SELA booth but when I got there Thursday morning (after setting up my table Wednesday evening), I had been reduced to a corner that was totally invisible to anyone. Gordon was nice and said he had a cancellation and he was going to put me in that booth, which just happened to be next to Rainbow Books (another distributor) and about three tables down from Davidson Title (another distributor). When I found the Follett booth and talked with them a few minutes, they directed me to the Mackin table which is yet another distributor. Now why are distributors important to me and those four contacts especially important? These are the folks who can get my books in the schools because the schools tend to get their books from distributors directly rather than from the authors or through Baker & Taylor directly. During the authors' reception, I shared a table with Minnie P. Harmon and have got her working on publishing her books through createspace (she is published with xlibris right now and her books are expensive - $30 for a hardback and $20 for a paperback - with no margin for profit or any real way to cut her prices). We are also considering sharing a booth next year at the event and hopefully that will help. I also talked with a lady from Surpass Software who is a retired librarian or teacher and has written some jingles on how to remember what a dictionary is, a thesaurus, et cetera. She will be publishing her compiled songs into a book through createspace as well. I had two ladies attend my workshop and they were pretty good at shelving my books. One of them said the whole reason she was in my workshop was because apparently my books were being talked about from one of the schools in their district. I contacted the librarian in that particular school but she said they didn't have my books in the library but that wasn't to say that a teacher may have bought them and has them in her class, so there is no telling who has any copies of my books and where they got them from. I'm just glad someone is talking about my books. So as you see the contacts were well worth the trip. I'm looking forward to next year's event and will hopefully have a big foot in the door if the distributors carry my books. (That's the hope and then I can start publishing more states and pay Heather, so keep those distributors in mind and send some prayers up that they start carrying my books.) The next event is next weekend - the Sugarfoot festival and I would love to see my afghans sell (that will get me back on track with my car payments) and some books as well. If the weather stays cool like it has been since last weekend, then my afghans should be a big hit as people will be looking for a way to stay warm. Until next week - Ma America (aka Mrs. E) and the JGDS :)


Diplo_Daddy said...

Sounds to me like distributors are one of the main obstacles preventing independent authors like yourself, from ever getting a chance to publish any of your works. Sort of like Walmart moving into a small town and running nearly every mom & pop store in town, out of business. Keep your head up and stay positive.

elysabeth said...

Actually, just the opposite. The distributors are exactly who I need to get my books in the schools. They can do so in bulk orders and I can't offer the schools discounts like the distributors want to. I've sent all the information to three of the distributors that I met last week and one has responded already (the way books have to be paid for through createspace is what will keep them from carrying my books) so I'm waiting to hear from the other two to see where it goes. If by the end of the month I haven't heard from them, I will contact the fourth distributor and send the information to them. I couldn't have asked for better contacts with just those 5 tables and talking to folks.

Just keeping my fingers crossed the distributors can pick up and carry my books in large print runs - E :)

Diplo_Daddy said...

Excellent to hear, E! Good luck to you.

elysabeth said...

Fingers are still crossed - I'm probably sending out another email this week just to see what the process is and how long it takes to get books in the schools since I've not heard anything from them - E :)

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