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I know that the first few posts are out of order. On the first page of my website I asked for kindness and understanding because I was still learning. This is one of the things I was talking about.
February 4, 2022
To be filed under "Things you shouldn't have to take into consideration."
If you're from Windsor, you may remember the name Carl Morgan. Carl was the long time editor of The Windsor Star and a local author of some repute. I also regarded Carl as a friend. I remember him, often, selling his books out of the trunk of his car. He'd pop the trunk open and there would be three or four boxes of different books of his that he had for sale. So when the day arrived in the publication process of my book for me to choose how many copies of The Principal Chronicles I would be responsible to sell, it brought a smile to my face.
This was back in November of 2021. I chose 500 paperbacks and 10 hardbacks. When I did, I saw myself popping open the back door of my van, just like Carl, and reaching into a half empty box to sell a copy to someone on the street. The publishing house advised me that there was an author queue, and that I probably wouldn't get any of my books until early in February. I wasn't concerned about this. I thought that this would give covid a chance to calm down, and maybe I could have an in-person book launch, as I'd planned, and not have to do some on-line thing.
The hard covers, all ten of them, arrived far more quickly and sold out within a day. Although I drove to a few houses to deliver them, I didn't get to sell any out of the trunk of my car.
And I waited and waited for the five hundred.
On January 26th, I received a brief email saying, "Your books have shipped. Estimated delivery date January 31st." My wife and I began to look around our house, wondering where we'd store so many books. Although I thought I might keep a box in the van, I hadn't given much thought as to where the rest of them would go. My wife advised me though, not to send out Facebook messages or tweets telling people the books were coming. “Wait until they’re here. Something might happen”.
The shipping company did a pretty good job letting me know where my books were as they travelled across the country. On January 30th I received another email saying they were in Brampton and due in Windsor on the 31st. I was very excited.
On the 31st, I called the shipping company to ask them if they could be any more specific as to when they might arrive at my house. The man there said, "I see no reason they won't be at your house later this morning, or early this afternoon." I was super excited. I pretended to remain calm, but throughout the morning and early afternoon, whenever I heard anything outside, I rushed to the window like a puppy waiting on his human.
I called the shipping company at 4:30, and a different person said, "I'm sorry Sir. Your books arrived in Windsor this morning, but they were just off-loaded from an 18 wheeler. They'll probably be delivered to your house tomorrow." Not "probably tomorrow morning" or "tomorrow afternoon" but "probably tomorrow." I told this person, "No. They have to be delivered tomorrow! We have a major winter storm coming the day after tomorrow! These are paperback books in cardboard boxes! They can't be delivered in a snow storm!"
I thought of what my wife had said. “Wait. Don’t tell anyone. Something might happen.”
"We'll do our best, Sir."
The next morning I resumed my vigil by the front window. At 11:00 in the morning, a delivery truck pulled up and I raced outside to greet the driver. He gave me a bill of lading that listed my 13 boxes of books. I ran around my driveway like that same puppy whose human had just come home.
He opened the back of his truck to show me two plastic buckets and a huge container of green liquid. "This isn't yours?" he asked when he saw how crestfallen I was. "BOOKS! I'm expecting 13 boxes of books!" "Oh... You'd better call the office. Somebody made a mistake."
The shipping company was very apologetic. They realized that, yes, they'd made an error, and they would find my books and make every effort to get them to me, hopefully some time today.
My wife and I looked at the weather map. There was a huge storm on the way. Snow for the next two full days and rain starting in a few hours. Rain. Not even snow. Rain. Rain on my paperback books in carboard boxes. The ones I'd been waiting for for months. Something might happen…
In November, when I ordered five hundred books, I thought only about whether or not I could sell them. I did not worry about them being caught in a snow or rain storm. That is not something an author should have to consider.
In any case, at just after 4:00, another delivery truck arrived. This one had my books. My wife and I got them into the house as quickly as we could. Dry. The rain started a few hours later. Two days of snow followed that.
Selling the books out of the back of my van will have to wait. And it will be easy compared to the waiting I did for the books to arrive.