OBX Book Tour – Traveling Saleswoman


Sometimes I feel like a traveling saleswoman. And today was one of those days.

Eastern National ordered my book The Mountains-to-Sea Across North Carolina for all its Cape Hatteras National Seashore bookstores. My plan was to drive to (almost) all the outlets, sign books and shake hands.

First stop was the Bodie Lighthouse store; a small store. But I don’t believe in all work and no play. I took the opportunity to climb the lighthouse, something that you couldn’t do when I first came here on my MST trek. The National Park Service just opened the lighthouse to the public this year.

OBXday4-Joel ProperRanger Joel Proper gave a wonderful talk as we climbed the lighthouse, full of stories and enthusiasm. I’m writing a story for National Parks Traveler on the climb so I’ll save the details for later. The picture at the top of this page is a view looking down from the lighthouse.

OK, that was the “play” part of the day.

I proceeded down NC 12. The next stop was the Pea Island Art Gallery, a fantastic art and pottery store in a cute cottage. It turns out that I’ve visited the gallery each time I come out to the Outer Banks. The owner has kept track of my progress, from walking the MST (2011), to researching it (2012) to having a published book (2013).

To my surprise, the owner, bought several copies of the book for resale. She likes to have a few books sprinkled among the pottery and art cards.

I stopped at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to let them know about my book. The woman who orders books took my book card and just said “I’ll check it out.” I couldn’t convince her to buy a couple of books so she could save on postage. Actually, I’d much rather they bought from my publisher, The History Press. Yes, I make a little more money if they buy from me. But by buying from the publisher, they set up an account and are much more likely to reorder.

On the road again, I stopped at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse bookstore. It’s a big bookstore and they bought a lot of books. I signed them all. I always leave with thanking the sales assistant and saying “I never take it for granted.”

While signing books, I told the ranger on duty about the MST. Ouch! The trail is so visible on the Cape Hatteras site.

OBXday4-GeegeeBuxtonbooksThen onto Buxton Village Books, where I finally met GeeGee, the owner.

Gee Gee has owned this bookstore for over 30 years. The store is packed with best sellers, regional photo books, serious literature and my book, of course.

When I came in, she was having an intense conversation with a long-time customer. Gee Gee is open all year round for its residents (almost 1,500 people) and summer folks. No coffee, no magazines, at least none that I’ve seen, no toys or trinkets, just books. Yes, she’s going into ebooks.

I continued my trek to the Graveyard of the Atlantic museum but again, the person on duty at the gift shop wasn’t really interested and wasn’t able to make a decision. The person behind the counter, whether owner or staff, is so important to that sale.

And then I had to drive back. I know every NPR station from Asheville to the Outer Banks but no NPR here. I listened to a Tammy Wynette CD while driving with the ocean on one side and the sound on the other. Tammy Wynette works for the ocean, Dolly Parton for the mountains.


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