“Author in Aisle Two”

I’ve been in the book biz for a long time. I got my start in 1992 by marketing books for The Countryman Press in Woodstock, Vermont (now a part of W.W. Norton in NYC).

Dan & Whit's in Norwich, Vermont, the inspiration for Cooper's General Store in Carding, Vermont
Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, Vermont, the inspiration for Cooper’s General Store in my novels of Carding, Vermont

It was a good perch from which to watch the incoming and outgoing tides of the industry at the time. (And believe me, not too much has changed on the marketing side of the agenda.)

That’s how I learned that most book signings—the stuff of which new authors’ dreams are made of—are not what they are cracked up to be. In other words, unless you’re Stephen King or Louise Penny or J.K. Rowling, you shouldn’t expect too much when you stand next to a table full of your works-in-print waiting for the hordes to arrive.

Hordes are hard to come by.

So why am I grinning from ear to ear about a book signing I’ve got coming up this Friday? Because it’s in a general store, a very unusual spot for a book signing. And that general store is one of the inspirations for my novels set in the fictional town of Carding, Vermont.

If you’ve read The Road Unsalted, you’ve visited Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, Vermont. It rambles. You can get lost among the nooks and crannies if you’re a newbie. The floors are uneven. It’s heated by a wood-burning furnace in the basement. There’s a small coffee corner toward the front of the store, and it is THE spot for local news of the live-and-in-person variety.

It’s also the fundraising hub for the 19 Days of Norwich effort to stock the food pantry shelves of the Upper Valley Haven.

So I’ll be there on Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with copies of The Road Unsalted, pre-order forms for Thieves of Fire (the next Carding novel), and the wonderful seasonal gift of American Patchwork: True Stories from Quilters. And in the spirit of the event, 10 percent of all book sales on Friday night will be donated to the Haven effort.

If you’re inclined to stop by, please come find me in aisle 2 and say hi. I would sure love to see you.

It’s sort of like life inspiring art inspiring life.

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