On Friday I participated in a book signing for local authors, which sounds more grand than it actually was. We were invited to set up our wares at a trade show for higher education suppliers. If you had trekked and circled through long halls and small rooms past the Tassel Depot, Scientific Laboratory Equipment Services, Herman Miller Furniture, Whalley Computer Associates, and Wing Press Marketing, you just might have found the dark little room filled with bright-eyed authors behind their allotted tables.
This was only my second meet-the-author rodeo but I knew before leaving home how the afternoon would go. We piled our books seductively, set out our free bookmarks and bowls of candy and waited expectantly. A total of something like twelve people actually entered the room and most drifted past all the tables while trying to look both friendly and non-committal.
At the end of two hours I sold one book and gave away another to a woman representing the Lincoln Public Library in Lincoln, MA. And I did better than the earnest couple next to me with their book about how to find a successful marriage through God.
On Saturday My Guy and I packed up boxes full of basement
debris treasures, price
stickers, two lawn chairs and the dog. It was time for the annual massive tag
sale that occurs every year in my nephew’s neighborhood. We weren’t too sure
how Mamie would react to all the strangers and Baxter, the resident beagle.
She began in the car
Graduated to the lawn where the big meeting was an anticlimax
And when she wasn’t charming the shoppers,
she found a quiet spot hidden from all the confusion.
Saturday was the more productive of the two days. Maybe the secret is variety:
We sold the dog stairs I’d bought for the Mamester to reach the bed before I realized they took up 50% of the bedroom, and we parted with four ripped folding chairs that had been in the garage for the past twenty years. A young couple took away two packs of mousetraps, a woman bought a leopard-print cat carrier for her daughter, and another shopper picked up a hand-carved whale plaque.
We learned long ago that the secret is the deep desire to empty your basement and the willingness to sell cheap. So one woman paid one dollar each for gold embossed martini glasses, and another also spent one dollar for a tiny vase of hand painted Staffordshire flowers. To balance all this altruism, I sold a leather purse for $2 that the owner may later realize has a slight whiff of cat pee.
It’s impossible to predict what people will buy. My two practically new fabric shower curtains were passed over time and again, but one man went away thrilled with a shoe box of rusty nuts, bolts and screws and I sold two baggies full of the little figurines that come free with my Red Rose tea.
Still, the day was a success. We made enough to pay for that night’s Chinese take-out and Mamie didn’t die of fright or get eaten by Baxter.