Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)
TITLE: The Great Bumble Bump
By Dolores Stohler
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With typical optimism, I approached Barnes & Noble, book in hand. But the store manager looked at me as though I had a contagious disease, handed me a questionnaire and told me to fill it out and send it to their New York office with a copy of my book. “They need to approve you first. Then we’ll talk,” she said, dismissing me with a wave of her hand.
I did better at Family Christian Bookstores, although they thought I was self-published, which I’m not. Two stores agreed to take several copies of my book on consignment. One even said I could do a signing on a Saturday when business was brisk. I was elated. “Location, location, location,” I muttered to myself as I left the busy area. In preparation, I went to Kinko’s and had them make up a large poster. Expensive, but worth it, or so I thought. I asked the store manager to advertise the event by putting the poster in their window as I’d seen others do. And the local newspaper listed my signing.
When the big day came, I gathered up stacks of the precious books and entered the store with confidence, hubby in tow. My mind drifted somewhere in the clouds as I waited for the manager to appear. I looked around for my poster. Not there!
The manager appeared smiling and led me to a cozy spot with a table in front of a fireplace. When I asked about the poster, his face fell. My expensive purchase had sat in a corner of his office all week. Now, “Where should I put it?” he wondered, bringing the poster to light. “Oh, here’s a good place.” He found some tape and plastered it to a spot high up on the fireplace across from where I sat.
My self-confidence took a dive but I smiled and greeted everyone who passed by, hoping to make some sales. But everyone had their own agenda. They were looking for a particular book and some, thinking I was a store employee, asked me to help them with their search. By the time forty minutes had passed, I wanted to jump up and down and yell like a circus barker, “Please, everyone, give me a chance.“ But as time went by, I shrank lower and lower in my seat until I melted into a pool of butter and slid under the table.
Then at last an interested customer! I tried not to appear too eager as she thumbed through the slim paperback and asked about the plot. She was polite, she was friendly, but…she didn’t buy my book. At the end of my hour, I slunk through the door trying not to look like the fool I felt. Don and I dumped the books in the trunk, and, the following day, we laughed and called it “the great bumble bump”.
The next book signing will be different I told myself with my second book ready to go to print. My church was having a craft sale before Christmas and I signed up to sell copies of the new book. Changing my strategy, I planned to offer something at a bargain price in order to lure customers to my table. Accordingly, I spent several weeks before the sale baking dozens of cookies, storing them in the freezer, then wrapping them attractively with a bow on top and offering them at low, low prices--no profit there.
Success at last! All of the cookies sold, along with copies of the first book and orders taken for the second one that hadn’t arrived in time for me to bring to the church. But I wasn‘t disappointed. I had a wonderful time, no one ignored me and everyone looked at my books. Signing autographs like a star, I knew inside that I was just another cookie baker and lover of books. Oh, what a lesson the Lord had bonked me with! Self-importance has no place in His kingdom. So now I have a new motto: do what you love, love what you do and smile if they give you the old bumperoo.
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