Thursday, September 29, 2016

Our Newsletter Project

Even though it was over 90 degrees in the shade, people were looking through the books displayed outdoors on the 10-cent rack at the Bottom Shelf. The top shelves get the most views; bending down to scan the bottom rows is hard work in the heat. Most of the customers are too old or too young to do the repeated squats necessary to get a full view of all the books. Just like in the grocery stores, the most valuable real estate is at eye level.

Nancy met me with her folder full of ideas for the newsletter. We're both so starved for jobs of value that we jumped on the positions of editor (Nancy) and girl reporter (me) for the Bottom Shelf Newsletter—circulation approximately 90. 

I'm reminded of my job in high school selling advertising for the yearbook. This was a coveted job because you got out of school early to canvas the neighborhood for ads. Young shysters in training, we canvassed maybe once a week and spent the other four days crammed into a booth at the Welcome Inn sharing one coke and one or two cigarettes among 5 or 6 of us. All those blissful unsupervised hours...were we lucky not to have parents hovering over us every minute like the poor kids do now! Not that any of our parents loved the idea of us hanging out like we did, but I think it was valuable time learning to get along with others...sharing one coke and a cigarette or two built character and taught restraint! we didn't have to hang out every day, but that hour or so with my friends was the most important thing in my silly teenage years.
All that was more than fifty years Nancy and I meet in one of the library study rooms—no cokes, no cigarettes, no juke box. We've spent most of our newsletter time figuring out how to use Microsoft Publisher (which we gave up on), MailChimp (gave up on that too) and now Pages— easy for layout, but not so easy or convenient to mail. 

Nancy is brimming over with ideas for content. Our problem will be running out of room for our stories, not running out of material. 
The former newsletter editor has moved to Arizona—not because the job was so onerous, but life changes made this a good time for her to go. She toiled alone on the job. Because there are two of us now working on the publication and we are only publishing every second month, we're trying to kick the content up a notch, adding gripping features like "Interesting things found in books." Here's a few we'll feature in the next edition. 
Business cards make great bookmarks

Hand painted perhaps over the original postcard. It appears to be Chinese.

......and "Hitting the Jackpot" with a valuable book. In our ten cent world, "valuable" takes on a new meaning and a book selling for more than twenty dollars is a big deal....hearts pitter-patter and adrenalin pumps. The most valuable books are often the least likely....arcane titles about subjects of narrow and special interest.  

I'd better grab my green eye shade and get back to work or my editor might fire me!!

1 comment:

  1. I think we're going to have a great time working on the newsletter together. Two down, more to come.