Wow! What a year it has been. In January, I put the finishing touches on 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die. After submitting the manuscript and images in early February to Reedy Press, I took a big sigh of relief. Writing a guidebook during the pandemic while coping with Ira’s craniotomy, chemotherapy/radiation, and chemotherapy treatments was extremely challenging. Ira and I spent the spring and summer exploring different parts of the world and celebrating life.
The release date was September 15. Reedy Press asked me to delay my launch until mid-October. From mid-October to mid-December, I had the good fortune to arrange 20 onsite appearances, participate in a couple of media events, receive a few book reviews, and publish five stories showcasing Boulder. Miraculously, Ira accompanied me to each book event. Some of Ira’s doctors did not believe it would be possible. Even when sales were pitifully slow, Ira found something positive to say.
October to November
I couldn’t have asked for a better launch party. Thank you to the Boulder Bookstore and the participants. After just one night, 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die was recognized as a Boulder Best Seller For more details, read Launch of 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die.
A second round of thanks goes to my five other October events: Barnes & Noble-Boulder, Brookdale North in Boulder, Tattered Cover in Westminster, Louisville Recreation Center, and Sunrise of Boulder. Ira and I also traveled to San Antonio for a few days to attend the ASTRO conference so we could share our glioblastoma experiences with doctors and nurses. 1st Week Showcasing 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die provides more information about the last half of October.
By November, I had an established routine for book chats and signings. In addition to a California getaway, caring for Ira after his Mohs surgery, and celebrating Thanksgiving, I worked with Avanti F & B to create a multi-faceted event combining fundraising for the National Brain Tumor Society with a book signing. Before the end of the year, Avanti F & B will be sending NBTS a check for $1,000. Thank you to the anonymous donors who made this Boulder fundraiser a success.
I was also happy to share my travel writing experiences with a Lit Buff Club presentation on the CU campus, be hosted by Tangerine in North Boulder, have a short book chat at In Motion Running, and sign more books at Ramble on Pearl, Boco Life, and Beleza Coffee. November’s seven events are described in two separate stories—Continuing to Promote 1oo Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die and Book Signings for 2nd Half of November
December was a challenging. While I wanted to take advantage of the holiday shopping season, many stores did not want to be bothered or offered inconvenient timings. I also had to work around my family obligations for Hanukkah and our travel plans. I set aside a few days to ski at Keystone prior to Ira’s doctor appointments and follow up brain scan. Skiing is a great way to minimize the anxiety associated with Ira’s scans. What a joyous moment to watch Ira ski down the mountain to start his 3rd post-glioblastoma diagnosis ski season. To learn more, read this story highlighting Ira’s perseverance.
I was delighted to fit in nine media events with an emphasis on bookstores. Sadly, two were postponed/canceled due to the unexpected death of Andy Clark, the owner of Moxie Bread Company. From Boulder to Lafayette to Westminster to Denver, I shared my book with a variety of audiences. Thanks to the following places for scheduling a December event:
Piece Love & Chocolate Book Signing in Boulder
On a cold, blustery early December evening, I set up shop in this wonderful chocolate shop. Due to weather conditions, foot traffic on the West End of Pearl Street was a bit slower than normal. While my book sales were less than anticipated, I did chat with a small number of customers who braved the gusty winds.
Ira and I indulged. We loved our complimentary cups of delicious hot cocoa made with premium cocoa and one of their signature truffles. Yum!
Flower Child Book Signing in Boulder
Flower Child is one of the few places mentioned in the book that originated outside of Boulder. It is part of nationwide consortium with approximately 20 brands. With an organic and health conscious mindset, I am always happy to have a nutritious meal at Flower Child.
During lunch time, the line for the ordering counter can meander to the entrance way. Catching hungry customers before they start reading the wall menu was my goal. A handful of newcomers were happy to purchase my book. Others purchased copies as a gift.
After two hours, Ira and I were hungry. The management provided complimentary bowls before we headed back home.
Moxie Events in Boulder and Louisville (To be Rescheduled)
I was looking forward to promoting my book at Moxie’s holiday fair in Louisville and at their north Boulder store. Sadly, the owner of Moxie, Andy Clark, an award-winning baker, passed away unexpectedly in the beginning November. He was a well-respected member of the community who helped many after the devastating Marshall Fire. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
In 2023, I hope to do an event at one of the Moxie locations.
The Read Queen Bookstore & Cafe in Lafayette
During my October book chat at the the Louisville Recreation Center, one of the participants asked if I knew about a Lafayette book store that opened during the pandemic. Since I rarely visit Lafayette, I was unaware of its presence. I reached out. One of the co-owner offered to have a book chat. I jumped at the opportunity since I prefer talks over signings.
With a requested dinner hour event, I anticipated a smaller group. My intuition was correct. Despite the small number of participants, I had a great time responding to their questions and comments. I also discovered a wonderful bookstore with a noteworthy inventory of books for all ages. It was a successful and inspiring evening.
Mount Inspiration Boulder in Boulder
With the holiday shopping season revving up, I was delighted to find myself on Pearl Street on a Saturday afternoon. While the East End of Pearl Street gets a smaller volume of traffic compared to The Mall area, there are numerous shops and restaurants attracting locals and visitors.
My table was positioned near the open door. Cold outside temperatures prevented me from removing my coat. By mid afternoon, it was necessary to zip up. While ample people were walking on the sidewalk, only a small number chose to enter. Due to my freezing feet and dismal sales, we ended up leaving early.
The Bookies in Denver
My first Denver event was at wonderful book store called The Bookies. This store has a loyal customer base. Many of the people entering the store were greeted as if they were long lost friends. The volume of sales was steady. Most people walked out with numerous items. Some people had boxes completely filled with merchandise. The knowledgable sales staff, who were mostly former educators, along with customers purchased most of the store’s inventory of 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die. Some bought multiple copies.
Barnes & Noble in Denver
I was asked to sign books from 4 to 6 PM on a Friday afternoon. We traveled 1 1/4 hours by car to reach the store during the early Friday afternoon rush hour. Surprisingly, the store was jammed with people throughout the allotted time. The line to the checkout area ebbed and flowed.
Few people were interested in listening to anything about the book. The shoppers had a mission to find the books on their list and most did not want to be bothered with a distraction. Some had negative opinions about Boulderites and Boulder. Fortunately, I had sent last minute invitations to several people who live and work near the store. Some of these individuals showed up. It was fun to sign books for people that we know.
Barnes & Noble in Westminster
My last December event was at the Barnes & Noble in Westminster. This store scheduled an 11 AM to 1 PM signing. Book lovers flowed in and out of the store almost the entire time. The first hour was extremely frustrating. Few people would make eye contact and less people would respond to my friendly greetings. With 20 books on the table, I was getting a bit antsy. I wanted to sell at least 10. Was it possible?
Slowly, individuals started to engage and ask questions. By 1 PM, I had sold eight copies. I stayed for an additional half hour and sold two more. I was content when I reached my goal.
In two weeks, Ira and I will celebrate the beginning of 2023. I will continue to shine a spotlight on Boulder by promoting 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die, find time to ski in the winter, periodically explore the world, and set aside precious time with our growing family. Our seventh grandchild will be joining our family this summer.
Best wishes for a joyful holiday season and a Happy New Year.
Sandy is an award-winning author and lifestyle and travel journalist. She is the author of 100 Things to Do in Boulder Before You Die, a guidebook offering an easy way to pinpoint your best options in this sunny, high altitude college town. Sandy’s second book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. As a licensed Colorado teacher, she taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad. Sandy also taught college-level courses at Front Range Community College and the University of Colorado-Boulder.
To follow Sandra and Ira’s travel adventures, visit TheTravelingBornsteins website.