Monday, November 17, 2014

Retail Therapy

Winter has arrived way too early, and most people I know are none too happy.  What do we do?  How about a little retail therapy?  Not the kind where you sit in front of a computer, access shopping site after shopping site and burn through your credit card.  Nope.  This therapy should provide a few laughs as I give you a peek at items from my ever growing  I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS BOOK EXISTS pile-o-wonders.

It has been said that everyone has a story to tell. Some people tell them well, others not so much.  Some self published authors have done an admirable job with their work - my friends Steve and Kathryn, for example.  A downside of self publishing is that when a writer does not submit a book through traditional channels, no one ever says to them "Nope. That's not such a good idea."  Lucky for me, many of these bad ideas come to me in the mail in hopes that I will stock them.

Take Dolly goes to the Supermarket for example.  I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but, Dolly's dress is actually fitted behind a cutout in the cover.  The dress can be removed and used on whatever doll it will fit.  While that is all well and good, really...look at that artwork. The story arc and writing are equally sophisticated.  The fourteen page story finds Dolly, the little girl and the mother (neither have names) walking up and down the isles in a grocery store looking at food.  They buy milk, eggs, cheese and yogurt.  The little girl hugs Dolly and they go home.  Apparently, two more action packed trips are scheduled for the trio.  They will go to the beach and then on vacation.  I can't wait.

As far as illustrations are concerned, they don't get much more awkward than Snickeyfritz.  Meet Piper, Pepper and Penelope, the papier machee people.  The larger than life illustrations inside the book are even more frightening.  This book introduces readers to the word culottes by bolding it and using an exaggerated font size.

I receive many complimentary copies of books and some are just plain weird. The Excreman is one of those.  The protagonist is made out of, according to the inside flap, "a piece of humble dung."  You can get yourself an Excreman doll, t-shirt, umbrella and coin purse if you are so inclined.

While we're in the bathroom, The Sh*t Book comes to mind.  The funny thing about this sure to be a best seller is that the author provided a sub-title just in case we couldn't figure it out.  The subtitle?  The Poop Book.

I remember a couple offering that were quickly placed in the file marked "Uncomfortable".  Three of these writers visited me in person.  The first was a man who said he had to wait several years before publishing, and had to change names because he feared for his life.   I read the book quickly.  It was hard to follow and when I Googled his reference to The Church of Goofballs in Mexico where he said he had spent many years, I came up with nothing.  Closed the book.  Then there was the mother-son team who were trying to sell a book with colored pencil drawing about a unicorn.  Not interested.  Even less interested when I discovered they were part of a family involved in some serious impropriety with children.

At one point, I had a spirited email exchange with a man who wrote about how to buy a coffin.  From the get-go, I didn't find the book compelling  His sell sheet informed me that I could buy the books from Amazon and then resell them in my store.  Duh!  Since he was a first time self publisher, I wrote back and tried to give him some hints on how to work with indie bookstores.  I told him that Amazon is a retailer, just like I am and that he really needed to consider finding a distributor to represent his book.  He wrote back saying he was sorry to hear that I'm not a Christian and that my bookstore is failing.  That was about 12 years ago.

Let me end by quoting directly from the man's sell sheet..."I am, in police language a WMA (White - Male -American), sixty years of age, most people take me for forty eight."  Forty-eight?  Really.

So, there's a taste of my job that most people don't know about.  I sure do have fun.  I hope that whatever you're doing is equally as fun.

Thanks for stopping by.