For those of you who have never heard of Bar Harbor, Maine, here's a brief overview. Tourist trap of the most extreme sort. Hotels, restaurants, more gift shops than should be allowed in on small town, and yachts from around the globe. For those looking for more nature than glitz, there's Acadia National Park with its hundreds of trails, kayak tours, horseback tours, carriage tours—complete with tea and popovers!—and garden tours. A bit for everyone.
Needless to say, the masses from all over flock to Bar Harbor. Usually. Not this summer, though. The weather has really put a damper (pardon the pun) on the tourists trade. Shops were empty, sidewalks were passable and there were places to park if you looked.
It was the perfect summer day in Maine, yet the masses were nowhere to be seen. It makes me wonder if it's just a sign of the times economically, or if people really just don't care about buying books from the author anymore. Yes, I know there's a significant savings by shopping on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.com, but it seems to me that there is less and less interest in going to hear an author speak or go to a signing.
Pretty much the same thing happened last week when I was invited to speak at our library. I hung posters, took out ads in the papers, send out invitations, and told everyone I knew. Most promised to be there and I was pumped to have a great night. I even made my Single Malt Whisky Cake!
Five people showed up, and one walked out halfway through.
Writing the books is the easy part. Truly! The rest is much like a bad business venture. Do you bail out and write it all off? Or do you wait out the storm and hope for better days?
I know what I'm doing. I'm going to do my part and write my stories and get my books out there. Then I'm going to rely on my readers to help spread the word. It can't be any worse than traveling all over and have no one show up.
But, even though sales were a bust, we had a great time. We ate well, did a little shopping to stimulate the local economy, and had a beer on the deck of a restaurant overlooking the water before heading back home.