The trail of my book promotion has been long and winding these past 6 months. It has brought some long lost family back into my life, from second cousins I never knew I had to first cousins I haven't seen in years. But maybe even more interesting are the chance encounters I've had with a number of total strangers that have followed me or my book. Here's a few examples.
There is a guy who saw me at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books and sparked up a conversation. He had been to the BWCA as a teenager, but not since. He is also a Vietnam veteran and a writer who has his first book being looked at by a publisher in January. The book is titled The Last Man Out of Vietnam. It sounds like a great read and I can't wait to get a look at it. He said he read Dirty Shirt and really enjoyed it. He even came to my Pewaukee Library event to hear more of the back story and maybe to learn a little about book event promotion. I told him I'm no expert, but that it sure was a lot of fun
And there was the Canadian guide that I met in Ely who had actually written a number of guide-type books. He was an interesting character and probably had enough material for 10 Dirty Shirts if he put his mind to it. He was currently in dispute with his publisher, trying to get royalties that were long overdue for a book they were still selling.
At the Pewaukee event I had a lady come up to me and say she couldn't wait for my next book because she had raised 5 sons as a single parent. I had given everyone a sneak peek at what my next book-length memoir was going to be about. She bought a copy of Dirty Shirt and popped into my life and could relate to me on a personal level, even if for a brief moment.
Of course, there was the gentleman from Dousman, Wisconsin that I've mentioned before who had a brother die of cancer and who went to the BWCA every year with his family. Strange parallels all the way across the board there, but crazy how a book can connect two people for a short time over something like that.
At the Martha Merrells event I didn't manage to sell any books, but did get cornered for 45 minutes by a 93 year old guy who told me stories about his time living in Ely. It was a long winded monologue for the most part, but I'd be lying if I didn't say there were some interesting parts to his story.
There are the two people who helped coordinate my book signing events at the libraries. One was given the book by the other, but both loved the story of Dirty Shirt enough to think it was worthy enough to bring to the reading populace of the local libraries. Super nice ladies with nothing to gain by helping out a new writer. Good folks.
And there was the Michael Perry signing where, in the presence of greatness, I was privileged with having him taking one of my books and telling me congratulations on my own. A regular guy doing his thing to make a buck. Crossed paths.
There was a fellow writer who lived in Ely for quite a time that I have taken up a friendship with because of our common threads.
Or the woman who took my picture with Michael Perry who also bought Dirty Shirt and now reads my blog. She would like one day to retire in Ely. She too, has been to a couple of my events to hear more of the story.
The list goes on and on. All once were strangers for the most part, but also kindred spirits for one reason or another. I sometimes wonder why they were put on the same path as me, if even briefly. I do know that they've enriched my life in small ways one incident at a time. If nothing else, they've brought out my closet extrovert and we shared a moment. And it's all made the whole book promotion experience a whole lot of fun.
More good stories coming in the future, of that I'm sure.
***I will be appearing at the Granite City Book Club in St. Cloud, Minnesota this Wednesday evening, December 17th from 6:30 - 8:00. The event is free for book club member and $7.00 for non-members.