Saturday, February 1, 2014


By Gayle Carline
Author and Horse Butler

Last year, when I released Snoopy's memoir, I decided to do a little extra advertising, so I took some ads out in a few horse magazines. This led one magazine editor to put me in touch with a woman in charge of the "Book Corral" at the Western States Horse Expo in Sacramento. They were offering author booths for free - would I like to come up and sell my books?

Geez, all I have to do is get a hotel room, schlep my stuff into the minivan and drive seven hours north. What could be the down side?

Well, there's the weather. Sacramento in June experienced record highs. I mean people fainting, pavement nuking, H-E-A-T.

And there's the fact that our author "booths" were outside. Yes, we were in a shady area, surrounded by ferns. Still, the sun peeked through from time to time, curling book covers, and melting the mascara from my lashes.

Here I am, melting.

The "booths" themselves were tables, covered by plastic tablecloths, which is all I need. I was smart enough to carry my books in a sealed plastic tub. Each night, we packed up and stored everything under the table. Each morning, the sprinklers watered the ferns... and our tables.

I mention this because we all took great pains to cover our stuff, except for one author, who was a psychic. Shouldn't she have known?

My new pal, Kathryn Roberts, found some slammin' boots.

With all that, over the 3-day event, I sold exactly eight books each day. It doesn't sound like a lot, and I certainly didn't cover all my expenses, but I sold more than a lot of the others. Some folks didn't sell any.

When I was approached to be in the Book Corral for the Pomona Horse Expo this weekend (Feb. 7-9), everything about Sacramento should have made me decline. Working from 9-6 in a questionable environment to sell one book an hour does not seem like a good use of my time. Plus, they are no longer offering author tables for free - they're now $75 for the weekend.

Why bother?


Even in the stifling heat, I got to meet people, talk about horses, and autograph books. Okay, 24 of them, but still. It's 24 more people to have Snoopy's story, and when you are an author-publisher, you build your readership brick by brick. I only wish Snoopy could come with me, but there wouldn't be enough room for him at the table. Plus, he'd eat the books and throw the chairs around.

So if you live in the Southern California area and want to spend a weekend immersed in horses, horse breeds, horse training, horse equipment and yes, horse books, come to the Pomona Fairplex. I'll be in Building 6 with other authors - and mini-Snoopy.

I probably won't have mini-Snoopy on display all the time. He's absolutely priceless, having been specially made for me by a young friend of mine. So if you come to Pomona and stop by my table and he's not out, ask me where he is, and I'll give you $2 off a copy of his book.

BTW, I made a book video as special advertising for the event.

Hope to see you in Pomona!


Laura Crum said...

Gayle--You are a brave, brave woman. I did a few similar events in my early years as an author--and my experiences were much like yours. Except as an introvert, I found the constant people interaction very tiring. Yes, I met some nice folks, and that was fun, but the travel and long days for the somewhat daunting result of selling roughly a book or two an hour--I had a hard time with it. Which is one of the reasonsI love blogging and connecting with readers on the internet. I hope you have a lovely time at Pomona and sell many, many books. And I will say, this DOES happen--who knows why, but once in awhile I would sell every single book I brought to an event. And then the next event I'd hardly sell any. I never could figure it out. Wishing you good fortune.

Gayle Carline said...

I am more of an extrovert. I like teaching workshops and giving talks, so I really like the human connection.

I often look at your description of your very quiet life in a nice, rural setting and I think, hmm, that sounds so nice. Then I think about my need to be part of a community and realize I wouldn't be ultimately happy so far away from the action.

Guess we're both where we're supposed to be!