Last week, I stopped at three of our local post offices to ship books all over the United States. Here at the edge of the Blue Ridge, many of our post offices are small, and that’s what makes them amazing. After fighting the crowds in Charlottesville to mail four packages, I stopped in North Garden to send off a few more. The label machine broke, so the postmistress and I chatted while she fixed it. Then, she suggested I head down to the next small office on my way home because the postmistress there had only sold a book of stamps and shipped one small package. She also told me that the other postmistress was her mom and so I could give her a hard time. When I walked in with 35 packages at Covesville, I may have made the postmistress’s quota for the week. And I did give her a hard time . . . . with a smile. I love country living.
Yesterday, I delivered books to my home church – 8 copies for the pastor’s wife who is giving them as gifts – and had the chance to catch up with the pastor, a good friend, for a while. Then, I trucked a mile down the road to my favorite restaurant and saw Julie and her new hair cut. She took 4 more copies of the book (having sold four already) and then texted me later in the evening to say another had sold. Next, I scooted across the two-lane highway to the local pharmacy, the place where I had my first job, and dropped off four more copies there to replace the 7 they had already sold. Nothing like hometown folks for being enthusiastic about your work.
At my dad’s house, he bought 6 copies that he’d hand-sold to his friends, and when I got up this morning, my cousin had ordered a copy, too.
Now, I sit here with just one more copy of The Slaves Have Names on hand. That’s just 1 copy out of the 125 I initially ordered to give to readers and my Kickstarter supporters and to sell. Plus, we’ve had sales picking up on Amazon, too. I am absolutely speechless with joy.
There’s something about having the honor of sliding a book into an envelope and sealing it with my own fingers, of putting copies of the book into people’s actual hands, of seeing them smile when they tell me they sold several copies, of opening Facebook to see my book cover on the screen – this opportunity to be a delivery person – well, it’s one of the great perks of self-publishing. It’s my responsibility to get these books out yet, but it’s also my joy.
Today, I will send out the copy to my cousin, probably at the North Garden post office. I’ll chat with the postmistress, and I’ll leave with the reminder that all writing is personal as is all reading. One book to one person at a time.