Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I need a break

I am trying to motivate myself to go to my book signing today in Murray from noon to six. I am tired, having spent about ten hours yesterday working on book three. I will be in Bountiful tomorrow during the same times.
I have noticed as I have been writing about Amy and her parents and the contention that swells around them, that I am emotionally disturbed by that contention. I am not sure if it hits too close to home, but as an eternal peacemaker, it goes against my nature. As I work through these things in my writing, I feel good when it is over, but when I am in the thick of it, I am on edge and cantankerous and nothing is right with the world. I suppose that is one reason I gave up TV a few years ago--I find myself living whatever I see--somehow the emotions of whatever it is translate into my real life in a negative way.
Case in point...this morning I am a little perterbed about a movie I took my kids too last night-Where the wild things are. I loved this book growing up, but this movie is a total flop from my point of view--no real story line, bad cinamatography, a movie dedicated to the bad behavior of children. It began poorly and ended poorly and I am glad I saw it at the dollar movie rather than paying full-price for it. I am sure it had to be an expensive movie to produce because they basically destroyed a whole island. Just a weird, lame movie. I feel sorry for the producers. They really could have done a much better job.
Listen to me be a movie critic! I've never really liked critics and suddenly i just became one. But I feel better and I think I can go sign books now and be okay. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I couldn't let this day go by without giving a shout out to the folks that are reading my book and sharing it with their friends. On Thursday, yesterday, I plopped down my money to print the third printing of Remembering Isaac. I have sold out of the second printing. You can still find some in Costcos, but my distributor is out and back ordered three hundred copies. This is exciting. It is just beginning to hit me that I am an author. It seems so surreal. I have received lots of great emails in the last couple of days, thanking me for the books. It has been a lot of fun to read these--to hear how people are thinking, laughing, crying and wanting to live in Niederbipp. I love it. Tonight, I am tired after a long day of visits with family, but I am feeling like I need a visit to Niederbipp. Maybe I will stay up late and figure out what Jake and Amy have been trying to tell me all day. I also hope in the next few blog entries to begin telling my story. I am glad this the story of Niederbipp and Isaac are touching so many lives, but I never did this for the money. So far, I have spent the better part of $60,000 this year producing and printing the book. Because of the delays in getting paid, I wont see any return on that investment until mid-January. This delay has been a blessing--it has helped to solidify my feelings that I money was never my drive when I jumped into this project. Sure, I hope I don't lose money, but the message is what is important. It has been wonderful to hear from folks of all ages and stripes who are finding themselves in Niederbipp and never wanting to leave. Maybe our world needs more of this. Maybe our world is looking for the answers Niederbipp has to offer.
I want to get to Jake and Amy, so tonight I will just share a portion of my story. When I was in grade school, I remember believing I was born without talent. I was lousy at sports, I was only an average student. I had zero musical talent--even to the point of being asked by the music mom to mouth the words because I was always loud and never on key. I had very few friends my own age. My neighborhood was filled with folks that were mostly at least 60 years older than me, but it was a magical place. Many of these old folks had tools in their garages and cookies in their jars and time to sit on their front porches and tell me amazing stories of their younger years. As I read and re-read the stories of Niederbipp, I find myself reflecting on the village that it took to raise me. So many have had a hand in who I have become. Most of these folks are gone now. Margaret Torkelson, the 95 year old woman who my mother sent me to to practice my reading, passed away more than twenty-five years ago, but I can still remember the smell of her flowered couch and the color of her beehive doo. She gave me jumbo gum drops after each visit. I read to her all of the books that drove my mother crazy--most of which were by Dr. Suess.
I am grateful for those old folks who loved me like a grandson and always welcomed my visits, helped me fix my bike, lent me tools to use as I dug holes in other neighbor's yards-trying to get to China, filled my mind with fun stories and opened possibilities to me that I never could have imagined. It seems my imagination has no limits because they were never imposed on me in my youth. I never watched TV because it could never compete with the world outside. It still can't.
I will write more later.
If any of you have any questions about the book or about my story, this might be a fun forum for question and answers. Ask on--
Cheers, Ben

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Second Printing Of Volume One Sold Out!

I would have updated this blog earlier, but I have been busy with my open house here at my studio. Every other spare minute has been dedicated to getting Remembering Isaac ready for its third printing. I got a call from my distributor last week congratulating me. I didnt know what he was talking about, but he explained that he had sold out of his 4500 copies of the book and is back ordered 350 copies. I actually printed 5000 copies, but held onto about 500 to sell myself. I have only about 150 of those remaining. I will begin the process for the third printing today. One of my pottery clients purchased my book-first printing- this spring and brought it back to me last week with alot of minor changes. Apparently I dont know how to use a colon, semi colon or comma correctly. So, in the third printing, for all you english majors and nitpickers, the aforementioned tools of punctuation will be correct. We are also branding the cover with BOOK ONE so folks don't get confused which one comes first.
I am signing today in Orem at Costco. Tomorrow I will be in SAndy and on Christmas Eve, I will be at the Bountiful store. Come and see me and pick up book 2 if you havent already. Cheers and Merry Christmas. Ben

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Discovering Isaac should be in Costco!

By now, Discovering Isaac should be in all Utah Costco stores. I will be signing today, Dec 15th in Sandy and tomorrow at the Lehi Costco from noon to 6. I hope to see you there or if that doesent fit your schedule, you can find me at my studio this Saturday from 9-5 at 1150 E 800 S in Salt Lake. The studio will be stocked with mugs, bowls. platters, tiles and Lynnette's tasty victuals--as well as both books. Come on over. Ben

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Discovering Isaac Shows Up In Ogden Costco 4 Days Early!

Yep, that's right. It is officially in Costco, at least in the Ogden store. I signed several copies today for those who were anxious to get a head start. It was actually really fun to sign those. I have been watching for months as folks peruse the book aisle at Costco until they stumble upon an author they know. Then, without even reading the dust jacket, the pick up the book and put it in their carts. I have wondered what that would be like as I am accosting people, trying to talk them into a book by an uneducated potter who is no one in the literary world. Today I got my first glimpse of what that is really like to have someone recognize my name, my book, and pick it up simply because they loved the last one. I just had to write about that. I know it probably sounds silly for you, but I have to say it feels good.
Sarah Palin signed in the Salt Lake Costco yesterday. I signed in Murray. She has folks lined up for 30 hours to get a signed copy. I strolled in about noon and began my work of accosting innocent people who may or may not be looking for a book. I sold 81 books. I'm sure she sold hundreds, but one small difference is--I wrote my book all by myself! No ghost writers for me. Sure, I had a lot of inspiration, but I typed every one of them thar words with my own two index fingers.
Anyway, you are going to love Discovering Isaac. For some reason, even though both books retail for the same price, $19.99, Discovering Isaac is selling for $12.49 where Remembering Isaac is selling at Costco for $11.99. I had nothing to do with that. Costco set the price up at headquarters. Don't ask me why--I just write books and accost people.
I am up late firing a kiln for Saturday's Studio Open House here at my studio--1150 E 800 S in Salt Lake, just a block from East High School. The show runs from 9-5. I will have a studio full of pots, both books and some of Lynnette's finest treats. Come on over. Sarah Palin and her enterage are planning on camping out tonight to be first in line! Cheers

Monday, December 7, 2009

Costco Delays Debut of Discovering Isaac until Dec 14

Yep, that's right--not until the 14th. I spoke to my distributor today after receiving several phone calls from unhappy folks who went to Costco to find Discovering Isaac and discovered it was not available yet. I am sorry. The only explanation I have been given is that it is a busy Christmas season. I apologize to those of you who have been waiting. I am already getting feed back from those who have read the second one and they all tell me they liked the second one even more than the first.
My schedule for signing at Costco has changed a little. Several of the days I planned to sign have been cut.
This week I will be in in Bountiful on Tuesday, the 8th from noon to 6.
Wednesday the 9th at Murray fron noon to 6 and
Thursday the 10th at Ogden from noon to 6.
On Saturday I will be having my pottery open house at my studio at 1150 E 800 S in Salt Lake. I will post next weeks schedule as it is confirmed. Apparently, lots of other folks wanted to start doing book signings too and they are working their way into the stores and squeezing little guys like me out.
The Studio Open House was very well attended this weekend. Lots of folks came to pick up the second book as well as copies of the Remembering Isaac for gifts--All together I sold about 150 books on Saturday. Come on over on Saturday. I would love to see you. Ben

Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting Ready for Book 2 Debut at Open House this weekend.

Every book deserves a birthday party. Five hundred copies of book 2, Discovering Isaac, were delivered to my home last Tuesday. I have already sold nearly 100, but I figured it's time to do it right. This Saturday (Dec 5) will begin my open house at my Studio. I spent the day glazing and am now firing the kiln. I will don another firing on Wednesday so I will have loads of new pots along with copies of both book one and two available. I hope to see you there.
1150 E 800 South in Salt Lake. The open house will continue on December 12 and 19. Cheers, Ben

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Well, after many months of preparation, work and worry, the second volume of my series is officially out. I picked up my first two boxes on Friday on my way home from a book signing at the Murray Costco. Discovering Isaac is amazingly beautiful. The layout is fun with lots of eye candy in the form of sketches and some awesome old woodcuts from historical sources. My graphic designer, my friend Bert Compton is very pleased as well. I dropped him off a copy late Friday night, hoping to shine a glimmer of happiness in his life. After twelve years as an art director for Jacobs, he was laid off on Friday. I hope this will give him the impetous he needs to follow his heart and do what he has been wanting to do for years--own his own business doing graphic design. Spread the word.
I have said it before, but if you enjoyed book one, you are really going to love book 2. 500 books will be delivered to my home on Monday. The rest of the 5000 are being delivered to Brigham Distributing on Monday. With any luck, they will be available in Costco by the first week in December. Hope to see you soon at a Costco near you. For now, I think I will shut off my kiln and finally get to bed. Good night. Ben

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sarah Palin 6, Ben Behunin 74

I don't why I get a kick out of competing with the big boys and girls, but it's fun. Sarah's book came out this week, I think and from what I've observed, it is not selling very well. Today I signed in Bountiful at the Costco and sold 74 book and met lots of great people. Some of them buy my pots. Most of them, I have never met. It was a strange day--so many people in a big fat hurry that they didnt have much time to stop. I wonder if it has something to do with the phases of the moon.

GOOD NEWS! Book two has been printed and is going to be delivered to my distributor on Friday. I will have books on Friday as well so if anyone can't wait, I will be around all day Saturday, glazing and loading a kiln, but I'll have time to stop and sign a book if you want to stop by. Give me a call first 801-883-0146.

I also have the schedule for book signings for the next month. It is as follows;

*Friday Nov 20th--Murray Costco 12-5

*Friday Nov 20th--Art Access Gallery- Gallery Stroll 6-9pm

*Tuesday Nov 24--SLC Costco 12-6

*Friday and Saturday Nov 27-28 Clay Arts Utah Holiday Sale--I will be showing my pots and signing books, both volume one and two. Sugarhouse Garden Center 2100 South 1600 East 10-5pm

* Tuesday Dec 1 Lehi Costco

* Thursday Dec 3- Orem Costco

*Friday Dec 4-Sandy Costco

*Saturday December 5- Wild Rooster Artworks Studio Open House 1150 E 800 South SLC- come see my pots and both books available

*Tuesday Dec 8 Bountiful Costco

*Wednesday Dec 9 Murray Costco

*Thursday Dec 10 Ogden Costco

*Friday Dec 11 Orem Costco

*Saturday Dec 12 Wild Rooster Artworks Studio Open House 1150 E 800 South-pottery and books

*Tuesday Dec 15 Sandy Costco

*Wednesday Dec 16 Lehi Costco

*Thursday Dec 17 Sandy Costco

*Friday Dec 18 Orem Costco

Saturday Dec 19 Wild Rooster Artworks Studio Open House-Pottery and books

Monday Dec 21 Sandy Costco

Tuesday Dec 22 Orem Costco

Wednesday Dec 23 Sandy

Thursday Dec 24 Bountiful

Tuesday Dec 29 Murray

Wednesday Dec 30 Bountiful

This is going to be a grueling schedule, but I guess that is what this business is all about. I will sleep when I am dead. But first, I have a lot of pots to make. Cheers. Ben


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We're off the the Presses

Well, somehow we made the deadline for the second book, Discovering Isaac. The book will be printed this weekend and be delivered to my distributor in ten days for delivery to Costco. I am holding back 500 copies for my open houses and pottery shows. I have said it before, but if you liked book one, you are going to love book two. I know I am biased, but it is really good. I am exhausted. I need a break, but I have too many pots to make and too many books to sign. I will be in the Sandy, West Valley and Lehi Costcos in the next three days.
I am also busy working on my annual newsletter. If you would like to recieve it, send me an email with your address. This newsletter includes an announcement for my studio openhouse on December 5th, 12th and 19th. This is a great time to pick up treasures for Christmas gifts. While you're here, you can pick up book two. Goodnight

Monday, November 2, 2009

Layout for book two begins tonight!

For those of you who know and enjoyed book one, I believe part of the adventure of it was the layout--maybe it was even a significant part of your experience with the book. Unfortunately, all the pictures have to be drawn, scanned, edited, photoshopped and made ready before the layout can even begin. My buddy, Bert Compton, has been busy making these elements ready for book two and so tonight we are going to begin putting it all together. This is where the fun begins--the work is nearly done.
Bert is a very gifted artist and has really shared the vision I had for this book. I am an artist. I am moderately creative and I believe a book can best be enjoyed when the design of the book is creative. I spend a lot of extra time with this and a whole lot of money, but I believe it is worth it. It helps makes my book an experience--not just a book. We are planning to have the book to the printer by next week and they have promised to have the book back to us on Monday the 23rd of November.
Also, I began writing Becoming Isaac last night--the third and most likely the final book in this series. I am only two pages into it, but it feels good. I spent all day Saturday and again today working on a giant mosaic on my kiln shed. The work has given me some time to think about the book. A lot of the story has some aspects of my own interpersonal conflicts. It is difficult for me to work through these things. I know it will all work out in the wash, but I am struggling to make sense of it--how Jake and Amy are going to respond--how I am going to respond. I know that is really vague, but I'd hate to ruin it for you. Cheers. Ben

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time breathes on and the leaves that are green turn to brown--Simon and Garfunkel

Wow, this has been a crazy month. I turned thirty-six last Friday. It's a strange thing to be thirty-six. I feel like I have done so little in my life--so many things I have yet to do. I feel like I am having a bit of a mid-life realization.

I have been signing at Costco several days a week. I have broken my record a couple of times in the past few weeks, selling as many as 82 books in Ogden last week. I don't know if it is just getting closer to Christmas and folks are looking for gifts, or if I'm getting better at selling. The thing I am most enjoying is that people are coming back to tell me how much they are enjoying the book and/or looking forward to Discovering Isaac. Nearly every day I receive emails from folks who are anxious for book two. I am very pleased the book has struck such a chord.

Speaking of Discovering Isaac, I am exhausted. The final edits have been completed and the book is now with my designer, working on layout. It is coming--a little slower than I hoped, but with any luck, the book will be done Thanksgivng weekend. I am very excited about the design and the road forward. Costco has already agreed to sell it and are waiting for the word that it is finished to place their purchase orders. Things are falling into place. I'm not sure how this all happens, but it happens. I am behind on everything else in my life, the furnace in my studio is broken, the new kiln shed has lots of work left to do, but somehow, it is all working out. I will sleep when I am dead.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ben Behunin- 64, Richard Paul Evans-3

I know I can't really compare myself to Richard Pauld Evans, the writer of 17 Best Selling novels, or something like that, but it was fun to outsell him at the Murray Costco on Friday. He was scheduled to do a book signing there on Saturday, so maybe folks were just holding off until they could meet the royal highness himself.
This was a great week for book signings at Costco. The buzz over the new Dan Brown book is fading away and I am finding my groove. I am encouraged by a whole bunch of emails from folks who are enjoying my book and recommending it to their friends. It seems this is a book that folks of all stripes are finding relevant and important and comforting.
Book Two, Discovering Isaac, is coming along well. I am still on track to have it available on November 15th or thereabouts. If you would like to be notified, let me know via email benbehunin@comcast.net.
I spent the weekend on a much needed vacation with friends down in Moab, Utah in one of my favorite places on earth, The Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park. 20 years ago I was exposed to this very unique place and have never been the same. Lynnette and I started a guest book 11 years ago in a wonderful slot canyon we call the Fat Man's Dilemna. I looked at the guestbook yesterday and was surprised to see that probably fewer than 150 people had been through there in the last 11 years. Most who had, knew me or someone I lead through. I am costantly amazed at the beauty of this earth. Utah is an amazing place to live.
Got to get to the editing of book two. Cheers. Ben

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Costco Book Signings Going Well, Kiln Shed Nearly Complete

I am tired. Exhausted is really more like it. I have been signing 3-4 days a week at Costco and in my spare time, I have been constructing a new kiln shed. This one is nearly 20' X 20'. I still have to build a new kiln too, but one step at a time.

I fell off a ladder yesterday. I'm not sure how it happened. I was just standing on top of the eight foot ladder, working on the roof and the next thing I know, I was on the ground, tied in a knot around said ladder. Somehow, the fall broke the window in the studio. I missed all my vital organs, but have some bruises on my arms and legs to write home about. I thank the heavens it wasn't worse.

On Monday, I harvested my honey. I have been a beekeeper for the past three years. I got 120 pounds of honey this year which is quite impressive considering that I have only one hive. I got away cheap this year, only two stings, one on my chin which made me look pretty funny, and another on my elbow which I didn't discover until later that evening when the swelling caused my elbow to appear nearly twice the size. I'm not even allergic. My brother Abe who is highly allergic got stung on his lip a week ago when he was harvesting his honey. He looked like a cartoon character, and not a good one. The swelling usually stays for three to four days.

I just got off the phone with my friend, Mike Ramsdell, the author of the Train to Potevka. He is on his way home from San Diego where he was meeting with a literary agency to handle his book. He has pushed it hard and has been signing books at Costco for over three years. He has sold something like 150,000 books through Costco and has finally signed a contract with this agency to take his book to the big leagues in New York, to take it to auction. He kicks himself for already having sold the movie rights to another group after the agency told him he could have done better. Live and learn I suppose.

So, I have personally sold nearly three hundred books at Costco in the last two weeks. The first edition is officially sold out except for a handful I have here. The second edition is pretty cool. Nicer cover, a little more art inside, a lot less--hopefully no errors. People are starting to come back and buy copies to share with their friends and family and the Christmas season hasn't even started yet, even though you would guess it has from the looks of Costco and the early snowfall we recieved today.

I'll be in Bountiful tomorrow and Ogden on Friday. See you at Costco. Come and I'll buy lunch. Cheers. Ben

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dan Brown-32 Ben Behunin-56

Well, its not everyday I sell more books than Dan Brown, but I did today, at least at the Murray Costco. It was a good day, lots of nice folks and I had enough energy to enjoy it.
Since I wrote last, I have recieved another order for 400 books from Costco which brings my back order status to a whopping 900 books. The second edition of Volume one will be out on Tuesday next. This is starting to become fun.
I printed five copies of volume 2 on Monday. My mom asked for an early copy to read on her trip to Norway. I promised my father in law a copy. Bert Compton, my layout guy got a copy to begin working on his part. Another two copies went to friends and editors. I still hope and think I am on track to have the book ready by November 1 or soon there after.
Life is good.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Full Moon?

Last night was a full moon, I think. I didn't sleep, kept awake by the moonbeams that filtered through my shutters, painting stripes on my floor. I should have gotten up to close them, but there is something incredible about moonbeams, whatever power they have over the night.
I was up late working on edits for Remembering Isaac with Bert Compton, my layout guy and my friend. Together, we have known many late nights on this book and will know many more, I'm sure, before this series is over.
You may ask why I am editing this book now. I am back ordered 450 books with an order that has come in from Costco of Utah. Each store ordered 100 books after a good showing on Friday and Saturday at the Sandy store. I sold out of 100 books in a day and a half . I found my groove, which I suppose is like finding one's thrill on blueberry hill. I actually had a good time, too.
So, before I print my next edition of 5000 books, I thought I would clean up a few things. I spent a lot of hours making minor tweeks and fixing punctuation in the book. It feels good. I also spent some more time yesterday editing book two. I am really liking it. It is a different feel than book one. I feel like I have become a much better writer in book two which is encouraging and works well with the way Jake also progresses.
I originally printed 1500 books and hoped I would sell them all by Christmas. By September 1, I had sold them all and had the back order too. I am meeting my distributor this morning to hand over 200 books which will help is back order problem, but won't solve it for a couple of weeks until I get the books back from the printer.
I will be speaking to another book club on Tuesday. This seems to be a good book for book groups. It is clean, won't make you blush and offers a lot of good things to think about. I am also enjoying hearing about the broad appeal it has for so many people.
Yesterday, I began taking down my deck in preparation for building a new kiln shed. We hope to make some changes to our house next spring and moving my kiln will be necessary to make those changes. I figured while I'm at it, I might as well do it right. I am making the kiln smaller. I no longer need so much space because I am no longer using as much clay. The kiln shed will be functional for all my needs and make the back yard more attractive.
I also got my proposed schedule for book signings yesterday. I will be signing 3-4 days a week as soon as all the stores have their books. I dont know when I am going to make pots. I am already tired.
So, I guess I better get up. I have books to deliver, and will be signing today in Sandy at the Costco from 12-6. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Costco book signing

Well, today was my first of what I hope will become many book signings at Costco. My distributor set this up for me down at the Sandy store. I signed from noon to 6 and sold 51 copies. It was a lot of work. I am used to having people walk into my booth at a festival and walk out carrying something they like. Selling books is not such an easy sell. I had several people tell me they would look for my book at the library. I've always been a book buyer, eventhough I do have a library card that I use frequently. There is something about a book, the way it smells, the way it feels in your hand. I buy books because I often take a while to read them. I buy books because I like to revisit them. I buy books because they look good on my shelf. I buy books because I like to mark them up and reference them later. But, I guess some people don't like to buy books. For those that do and especially those that have bought one of mine, thanks. You have made it possible for me to continue to write books, even if you do share the book you bought with all your friends and neighbors. Thanks.
While at Costco today, I saw the Stephanee Meyer collection. Maybe if I ever sell a million books, I'll do the collection set too. Seems like a good way to sell four books at a time.
So, I guess what I wanted to say is that I am realizing that today was not a book signing like you see on tv where people are ligned up to get your autograph. I didnt really expect that, and that's a good thing because it was not that at all. For starters, no one has heard of my book. I have sold 1000 copies and maybe as many as 2000 people in the world have read it, but you have to start somewhere near the bottom. I am revising my pitch. Today I said a lot of really stupid things, but someday in the next ten years, I hope to figure this out. I feel like I am starting from scratch with this business. People have loved my pots for years and frankly, that has probably made me a little lazy, as they sell themselves. Not so with books. I didnt have to tackle anyone and hogtie them to listen to my pitch, at least not yet, but I am trying to figure out how sell my book. Without action, vampires and sex, my book may not appeal to everyone, but I believe the book has a broad appeal and the folks that are reading it seem to agree, at least the ones that are related to me.
So, I should be on a date with my wife, but we are both exhausted. She is reading volume two next to me on her laptap while I write this blog. Really romantic, eh. I'll do better next week. If you're reading this on Friday, drop by costco tomorrow for lunch and book.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wow, its been a crazy week. I finished writing volume 2 at 12:30 am yesterday morning. I will be editing this week and next and then passing it on to my editor for her review. I am very excited. If you like volume one, I really think you're going to love volume two. It is exciting and very unpredictable. I wont spoil it for you. The process of creating a book, especially one as visually complicated at mine requires a lot of time. I am not anticipating that I will see a completed version of volume 2, Discovering Isaac, until mid-November.

On Friday and Saturday of this week, I will be signing books at the Sandy, Utah Costco, located at 11100 South, just off I-15. I will be there from 12-5 each day, unless I run out of books. I am excited that things are rolling forward; sometimes slowere than I hoped, but forward motion is always inspring. I have put together an assortment of cards to give away. These are old photos Jake and Amy recently stumbled upon in the archives at the Niederbipp Public Library. Apparently the Niederbipp Travel Council once planned to use these to help promote Niederbipp, but the plans fell through. As is reported in the next Volume 2, Jake and Amy become involved with the council to try and breath some new life into it. Look soon for the Niederbipp website. For the time being, enjoy the postcards from Niederbipp. Cheers.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

So, My goal was to publish a post every week and it makes me happy to be doing just that. I have some news to report. I spent three days last week working on volume two and made some great progress. Shipping pots, participating in service projects and attending an overnight scout activity kept me from writing more, but I am pleased with the progress I was able to make and also pleased with the ideas that came to me while participating in the other activities.

On Friday, I received a call from my distributor informing me that Costco is interested in my book. They want to begin with one store and see how it goes, so next Friday at the Sandy store, Remembering Isaac will be debuting at Costco!!!!!!

If you are in the neighborhood, stop by. I'd love to sign a copy for you. I have no idea how much they will be retailing for, but I am excited the book is finally going to be reaching a broader audience. I hope to be doing a few signings a week in the coming months. Keep spreading the word.

If you liked the first book, you are going to love the second. I am really pleased with the way this one is coming together and the inspiration that is coming. Very exciting. I will try to blog again soon. Cheers.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I have been meaning to update this blog for several weeks, but I have been so busy writing book two, Discovering Isaac, that I have been putting it off. There is much to say though so I will get to it so I can get back to my writing.

First, I have had a chance to speak to two book clubs about my book so far. Both of these have been a lot of fun. Since these were my first experiences talking about the book, I wasnt really sure how to proceed, what to talk about, but in both cases, the women were interested in learning more about where the book came from, the prelude to the prelude- if you will. Maybe I will spend some time in the near future laying that all out on my blog, but it may take a while. In both cases, the ladies kept me busy with questions and the hour long visit turned into nearly two hours. It was great. I hope they enjoyed it too. I was surprised that in both cases, I sold several additional books at the book club meetings. Many of them bought books for friends and family members I have made these books available for $15 for book club members. That's 25% off the suggested retail price. If you have a book club that might be interested in reading my book, give me a call 801-883-0146 for books. If you are interested in me attending your book club and speaking to the group, I still have a few days left in late fall., Just kidding, I have a lot of time to come and speak to your group. I have a few others set up for September and October, but I'm still pretty flexible.

I am pleased that I have written a book that seems to be reaching people of all ages. These book clubs have been attended by women whose ages range 50 years or more, but they are all connecting to it somehow. I hope your book club will too. If you are looking for a book filled with mystery, high adventure or hot passionate love, this is probably not the book for you, but if you want a book with a charming love story, moral messages, and a book that makes you feel good, Remembering Isaac is a great read. Viva Niederbipp!

Second, I went into Deseret Book yesterday and to my great surprise, they had my book! My distributor, Brigham Distributing, got my book into 11 stores just this last week. It feels good to see my book on the shelf. While I was there, I looked at the Deseret Book top ten list. I was surprised that for an LDS bookstore, there were no religious books on the top ten bestsellers list. They were all fantasy books! Maybe I missed the boat. Maybe I need to be writing about elves and minataurs and vampires. I wouldnt know how to begin with that, but maybe I'll think about it for the next series. I've never really been into fantasy. I liked Harry Potter, but that's all I've ever read in the genre. What am I missing?

Third, my distributor asked me to attend the LDSBA this last Wednesday, a convention for independent LDS booksellers. I never wanted my book to be classified as a "Mormon Book", but there are lots of messages in the book that would resonate with the LDS audience. It was fun to meet lots of different booksellers from all over the country and rub shoulders with other authors. Its weird for me to realize I'm a published author.

Fourth, Georgia, a woman who works for Brigham Distributing introduced herself to me at the show. She had just finished reading Remembering Isaac while on vacation at the beach and told me it was one of the best ten books she had ever read. Then she asked me what my schedule was so she could start signing me up for book signings. I laughed and told her that I probably ought to get into a few stores before I begin signing books. I didn't realize she is the one in charge of getting my book into Costco. She told me she didnt think there would be any problem getting it into the stores this fall and told me that she would keep me as busy as possible doing signings. Zippideedoodah. I guess I might just have something here.

Fifth, I have now sold over 900 copies of the book! That means I have finally recouped all of my costs for my first printing and I have a few books left to maybe make a very small profit. It feels good. Thanks to everyone who has read it and passed it on to their friends and neighbors. I would rather have them each buy a copy, but we have to start somewhere. I am glad the book is finally more easily accessable and hope with better accessability more sales will come too.

I am not quitting my day job. I have to rebuild a kiln this fall and so while I am at it, I have decided to make some other changes to my studio. I am building a kiln shed in my back yard that will enable me to do my welding and metal work under a covering. This is all in preparation for some other changes to our house; a long overdue new kitchen, a new front porch and some new landscaping. Most of that won't begin until next spring.

Many people have asked why we don't just move. Financially it may make more sense, but as it turns out, there is a lot more to life than money. We love our neighbors, love the ecclectic nature of our neighborhood, love living downtown and feel needed in our community and congregation. These changes mean we'll probably be here for another twenty years or more, but Lynnette and I both feel like this is where we are supposed to be.
I would like to start updating this more often, maybe make a tradition of doing it on Sunday afternoons since I don't ever get a nap anyway. Thanks for reading.
PS, The Park City Arts Festival was off this year, 30%+ down from normal, but it was fun to do. Irene, the woman with whom I apprenticed fifteen years ago was here with here gradson to help me. She and her husband and grandson spent a week with us at a time share in Park City. Now they're off to discover Utah's Canyon Country on their way to Orange County.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Well, I wish I had some really exciting news to post, but I don't. Sales are continuing, but slowly and I havent had much of a chance to push the book, trying to get ready for the arts festival instead. I plan to be signing books at the Utah Arts Festival next week June 25-28 at Library Square as well as selling my pots and garden ornaments.

Getting ready for the art fest is a daunting task. It nearly consumes me. I have already spent hundreds of hours getting ready for this one and I still have a week left which means I will probably spend another hundred hours before I am set up and ready to go. This show is four days long with super long hours 12 Noon- 11pm. There is not a longer art festival this side of the Mississippi and for good reason. But I love this show. It gets me in front of lots of folks that have supported me over the years gives me a chance to show my new work, which this year includes Remembering Isaac.

I also have my first appointment to speak to a book club. This will be taking place next month, July 7. I am looking for more opportunities to speak and share my message. I'll speak to a group of any size(preferably more than three).


Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's been nearly two months since I last updated my blog. I've been busy working on book two, going on vacation to Southern Utah with my family and making pots to pay the bills, even though my heart would rather be writing. So far, I've sold over 600 copies, an knowing that many if not most of these books have been read by multiple people, I'm going to guess that Remembering Isaac has been read by over 1000 people. On Amazon.com, I now have reviews from 7 people, one as far away as the U.K.. Many who have read the book are returning to buy more copies to share with friends and family.

About three weeks ago, I signed a contract with Brigham Distributing in Brigham City, Utah to handle the distribution of my book. They have contacts with all of the LDS bookstores as well as Barnes and Noble, INgram and Costco. I have yet to hear anything more from them. I was told to expect at least a month. I am anxious to hear something.

Meanwhile, I continue to sell the book out of my studio and anywhere else I can. The Utah Arts Festival is coming up at the end of June. I hope many more people will have the chance to pick it up and enjoy it.

I had a book club from West Jordan recently order 28 copies for their members. I will be speaking to them in early July. Another woman asked if I'd be willing to come and speak to her congregation about the book. She is Unitarian. I informed her I was LDS and bishop just so she wouldn't be in an awkward situation when I showed up. I was surprised by her reaction. "Oh, that's even better!" she said. Cool. For those of you have read the book, you'll know that this is not a "Mormon Book". I have tried hard to make it applicable to all people, regardless of race, creed, religion or politcal pursuasion. I hope I have achieved that while focusing on the universal truths, those nuggets of truth that are being obsured in our fast-paced, growingly godless society.

I have also been thrilled by the age span of readers who are relating to this book. My oldest reader to date is a 91 year old woman who said she devoured the book her son ordered for himself from Amazon. She actually drove over to my house while I was away to try and purchase Volume 2 and was very disappointed to find out it is not yet available. My youngest reader, that I know of, is fourteen. She read the book in three days and said she loved it. Then she gave it to her sister, age 17 who read it in two days and also loved it. Since then their mother and grandmother have also read the same book and enjoyed it. It seems to have something for everyone. I am very pleased.

I felt like I was and continue to be inspired by the heavens in my writing. I am grateful I finally made the leap to finish it. I hoped I would feel some sense of peace once I completed it, that the voices that spoke to me as I worked and woke me from my sleep would give me a break. This has not happened. In fact, the voices seem only more persistant. Volume one took the better part of 10 years to complete. I am nearly half way through volume 2 after only a few months. I wish I could devote all my time to the project, but with orders and shows and resposibilities, things are going much slower than I hoped. I still plan to have the book done for my studio shows in November and December.

Volume 2 has some interesting twists and turns as Jake and Amy discover Isaac. Lynnette, my girlfriend of almost 12 years and the mother of my children is the only one who has been permitted to read what I've written so far. She's of course biased, but she said she likes it even more than the first. We'll see what ya'll have to say.

So, if you want updates more often, email me and tell me. I get busy and forget about this unreal world of cyberspace. Cheers. Ben

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So, book sales are going very well considering that I have only one public outlet, Amazon, and then my studio which now has only 1350 books left. Thats right, I have sold over 150 books in not quite a month! I am still waiting to hear something negative...everyone seems to like it which is really encouraging. I spoke to two of the youngest readers last night, ages 15 and 17. They loved the book and are looking forward to volume 2. I got a call today from a man whose wife recieved the book as a gift and made the mistake of leaving it on the kitchen counter where he found it and wouldnt let her have it until he was done with it! He too said he is anxious to read volume two and lamented the news that it wouldnt be finished until November.

Things are actually progressing quite well with volume 2. I am just finishing chapter 15 and things are exciting. Jake is in the hospital after an accident, and the book is leading in me in directions I didnt know it would go. I am having a great time. I have been working hard in the studio, trying to get orders off so I have not had the time to write as I wish I could. I have decided to have a studio open house on the Saturday before Mothers Day and do a book signing. I will be mailing out a newsletter in conjunction with that.

We are headed to California for a much needed vacation. I'll try to drop a note soon. Ben

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One week after recieving the first books from the printer, I have sold over 90 copies. Only 1410 left! I met with Brigham Distributing in Brigham City yesterday to begin the process of getting by book distributed. So far, I have heard from about 30 folks who have read the book and love it. I have yet to hear anything negative, but I am sure it is coming.

I am trying to figure out why I am so restless. I have been working on Volume 2 of the series, Discovering Isaac, which I hope will be ready for sale in December. As I mentioned before, I am not very good at being patient. Barry at Brigham Distributing suggested it would take two weeks for him to give me an answer. I have no idea how long it will take after that to get my books into the stores so for the time being, people are coming to me. You can reach me at 801-883-0146 to arrange to stop by. I am nearly always here inasmuch as I live here and work here.

I am attaching a the pictures of the front and back cover of the book. This was designed by Bert Compton and myself.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

AFTER TEN LONG YEARS, THE BOOK IS FINALLY DONE. The books were printed at Alexander's in Lindon, Utah and delivered on Monday night at about 5:30. Our Friends, Jason and Meghan Castleton were the first to stop by the purchase a signed copy. I was in a hurry to get them done in time for Art and Soup, an annual fundraiser that I have participated for the last ten years. That started last night. So far, I have sold exactly 20 copies, which is 1.25% of the 1500 copies I had printed.

I am excited to finally have it done. The book looks great. The self-propelled movie works very well and the layout makes it fun and exciting. I hope to meet with a distributor next week and get the ball rolling on. So far, I have found two small typos, but it still looks good. I am excited to start hearing from people and their comments about the book.

If you have purchased the book and would like to leave a post or send me an email, I would love to hear from you. Thanks. Ben
The image to the right is a picture of some of Isaac's planters on the front steps of #6 Muellstrasse. I really like the cobblestone pattern here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Horror, The Horror! I am not a patient person. That is one of my many faults. I finished writing several weeks ago. I have done several rounds of edits and now I am waiting. Waiting. WAITING! for things beyond my control. Bert Compton, my friend and layout engineer extraordinaire has been working hard and just finished the layout last night, or at 4 am this morning, rather. I am exceedingly excited! This has been a long time coming.

Ten years ago I started writing a book about Isaac. Sometime next week, the ten years worth of labor and long nights and sweat will pay off when I pick up my first thousand copies from the printer. I am trying to decide if I should go with Alexander's in Lindon or with FC Printing here in Salt Lake. Alexander's is a digital press where FC Printing is offset printing. I am not sure what is better and I am waiting for a phone call from a friend in the printing business to inform me.

This has been an expensive venture. I hope that I will cover my costs at least and be able to find a good distributor and lots of bookstores that want to buy it. My dream right now is to get into Costco. If anyone out there has any pull, put in a good word for me. I have told the good people in Niederbipp to cross their fingers.

Art and Soup, my first show of the year, will begin in ten days. This is where I will be debuting my book. Am I excited? Heck yes. Am I nervous what the public will think? Absolutely, but I am thinking this will be a good thing. Those who have read the book so far are really liking it and are looking forward to volume two. I have to believe if a book about vampires can sell millions of copies, I will be able to sell at least a thousand.

Bert understands the book. He read it a few weeks ago which has been helpful for him as he has laid it out. He is an artist and a perfectionist and he has done some really cool things. There are lots of sketches throughout the book and a picture on every other page that creates a flash cartoon when you flip through the pages. It is really going to be an experience, not just a book. I am very happy with what I have seen so far.

My friend, Mike RAmsdell, who wrote the Train to Potevka is in California this week, working on the screenplay for his book. He told me in an email that Simon and Schuster just contacted him about his book. He has, to this point, been self-published and sold most of his 400,000 copies through costco. Simon and Schuster could do big things for him. Maybe that will be me in three years.

In my impatience, I have begun volume two. I hope it will go a lot faster. I am hoping to finish it by Christmas and have two book available at my Christmas Open house. I am spured on by the fact that those that have read the book want more. Zippideedoodah!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Well, I finally finished my re-write at noon. I am exhausted. I have been spending up to 12 hours a day on this project for the last three weeks and I just sent it off to my friend Melba Markham to edit. It feels good to be this far. The next book ought to go a lot faster. It better. I can't take another ten years.

Now the work begins. I still have a cover to design and the layout to complete. I have one month to get the rest of it done. I am excited to finish so I can start on the next book. What a crazy life this writing stuff is.
The picture above is of some of the tools in the Pottery. Isaac's apron is under them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Well, the holidays are finally over. I have been busy trimming the fat out of the manuscript, trying to make it meaner and leaner. It has been time consuming and fun, but I am anxious to get moving.

I wanted to post another photo. This is another old photo we found in the cellar at Pottery Niederbipp. I am guessing these were made by Isaac, circa 1970. There was an article that ran in the Niederbipp Post that included some of these photos.
Happy 2009.