The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Garth Brooks' Hands

 I went to Tulsa last week for the 100-year commemoration of the Tulsa Race Massacre. I didn't sell any books--physically--but I think I "sold" a few through the conversations I had with people.

Before the trip, I was looking forward to seeing Alfre Woodard and Wes Studi--both former Tulsans and both actors--and was not thrilled with the prospect of seeing Garth Brooks--also a child of Tulsa. (All three were among the stars at a fundraising brunch.) Garth Brooks ended up stealing my heart. You can read my post about Brooks... and how I squeal even now, thinking about it.

                                        This was a mural on the wall of Greenwood building.

These are some things I learned:

  • Don't discount the chance encounters. Even though I was not able to set up a table and sell my books, I met people... I met families, and I hope that some of them order my book, read it, learn from it, and review it.
  • Taking a risk is worth it. After checking out of our hotel and heading home, my friend and I stopped at the Philbrook, a way-cool museum in Tulsa. The goal: to speak to the buyer for the gift shop so (hopefully) they would carry my book. My publisher (Margo Dill) had gone to the museum a couple of days before; she thought it would be the perfect place for Greenwood Gone: Henry's Story.
          Unfortunately, the buyer was in a (Zoom) meeting. I spoke to a few of the gift shop employees, 
          connected to one in particular, and asked him to give my card to the buyer. I started to leave... 
          then stopped and asked, "Would you give her a copy of the book?" He agreed, and gave it to her 
          right then. As she left the Zoom momentarily, she got intrigued (a book written from the 
          perspective of a 12-year old African American?). The employee returned, saying, "She said she 
          gets the shop's books from Ingram. She's loyal to them." I was happy to tell him that my book
          was available through that distributor--thanks to my publisher. 

           It ended up sounding promising. I'd be thrilled if there was a spot on one of their display tables
           for my book, so when people come to the museum, they might buy a copy and the word is 
           spread about the Tulsa Race Massacre. I almost left with just dropping off a card. But I took a                 risk and went a bit further... and I think it paid off.
  •  Sometimes you reap the benefits later. Garth Brooks got a copy of my book. So did Alfre Woodard and Wes Studi and the director of the Greenwood Cultural Center. I got a wonderful   review in the St. Louis paper. Perhaps something exciting will come from one of these. I hope so...
How about you? What exciting things have you experienced or learned because of your writing?