I went to Arizona last month and drove US89 the entire way–first time I’ve done some sections in a couple years. One of the best parts was getting to meet my first Arizona retailer: Brett Gerasim. Brett and his wife Mary Ann run the Old Livery Mercantile, a cool gift shop in the heart of Wickenburg and right on old Highway 89. The store is across the street from the historic jail tree, an old mesquite tree to which Arizona’s law-abiding citizens chained their prisoners for the duration of their sentence before the first jail was built.
Wickenburg’s biggest annual event, Gold Rush Days, starts tomorrow. If you are in Wickenburg this weekend for the festivities, stop in and say hi to Brett and Mary Ann.
Unless an author sells tens of thousands of copies, writing a book is not going to pay the bills. Breakthrough books from unknown authors happen, but my US89 book, with its admittedly niche subject, was never intended to hit the NY Times best-seller list. Rather than just numbers of units sold, I envisioned my own definition of success for the project, one that focused on production quality and ultimately the enjoyment of my readers.
My vision was this: that somewhere on the highway, someone would buy my book, and it would be successful if it inspired my reader to visit a Highway 89 destination that I had photographed. On Monday, I met a wonderful woman and Twitter follower, who told me that she bought the book at the King’s English Bookshopas a Christmas gift for her father. Dad, who lives in California, enjoyed it so much he is planning an extended family vacation somewhere on Highway 89. I’m calling that a victory. What’s your definition of success today?
*Wranglers at the Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona run the horses through a corridor down the ranch property each morning to corrals where the dude ranching patrons saddle up. Maria Langer took me over to see the spectacle when I visited last week on a book-selling trip to Arizona.