Counting Sheep

Josie Leavitt -- December 22nd, 2015

In October, Elizabeth wrote a blog When a Self-Published Book Is Done Right about the book Sweet Pea & Friends: The SheepOver. The authors, John and Jennifer Churchman, got an agent two days later and then the book went to auction; 10 days after the blog post ran, the Churchmans got a three-book deal with Little, Brown. We have been selling the book like crazy since we got it, but then last night the CBS Evening News ran a story on the book. Our website has exploded with orders that can be directly tracked to when the news aired across the country. Yes, we’ve been selling hundreds and hundreds copiesmof this charming book, which is a delightful holiday story for our small independent bookstore in Northern Vermont. But the book and the subsequent news coverage has meant much more. 

The holidays are always a fun and stressful time for all retail stores and we’re no different. Our season has been truly stunning this year, and the countless daily mail orders (almost exclusively the SheepOver) that we’re doing has put additional stress on an already over-worked staff. There are many details to mail orders that need to be done correctly and on the same day. We don’t have a shipping department, so this can be a challenge when the store is swamped and we’re helping customers, unloading books, or wrapping. Every day I have watched my staff be flexible, nimble, and good-humored about the new workload. Elizabeth and I are truly lucky to have the staff we do. We have all worked together for years and we are family. We support each other and laugh through much of the day.

Now that the CBS Evening News piece has run and we are swamped in orders, we face a long day of processing them. Elizabeth and I spent a lot of time yesterday figuring out how best to manage the day. We just kept saying how fortunate we are to have the staffers we do. Today is also the day that a sixth-grade class from a local school is coming to shop. The Flying Pig is feeling the love from the community and all the customers, new and old, who are choosing to shop locally and support us and we are deeply appreciative.

These new things happening three days before Christmas, on a day when we’re normally crazy with business, will surely make the day hectic and insane. But I find myself excited for the challenges ahead of me largely because I will spending it with the people who are book smart, adept, and just fun to be with.

So, as ShelfTalker is about to go on holiday until the New Year, I wanted to take a minute to thank my staffers, Darrilyn, Sandy, Laura, Lizzy and David, for making each day at the store a delight. It is a lucky world to live in when work is at its craziest and I’m having the most fun.

2 thoughts on “Counting Sheep

  1. VickeyB

    I was delighted to see the story on CBS last night, and just thought to myself “What fantastic–and well deserved–recognition for the Flying Pig!” (And for the Churchmans and their lovely book, of course.) I’m so happy the story brought you and the Churchmans a holiday “windfall.”

    I’m not a bookseller; but, I AM a book lover, and I look forward to reading your blog every day.

    Happy holidays to you and all your staff.

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