I recently spoke on “Old Dogs, New Tricks” at Charlestown Retirement Village in Catonsville, MD. The talk was about my book, The 90s Club & the Hidden Staircase, set in a place like Charlestown. I was interested in how the audience would receive my collection of articles about people 90 and over who are active, alert, some even working. I describe these “old dogs” from time to time in this blog, like the 100-year-old woman who wins the canoe races in her community or the 100-year old man who ran the 26-mile Toronto marathon.

The response at Charlestown was positive. Of course, I couldn’t help mentioning my first book, Shadow of the Rock, a historical novel about the Morocco-Florida connection, which describes the Barbary pirates, salty dogs of North Africa. Since some people scoff at the idea of pirates, I gave the audience the latest piracy statistics from the International Marine Bureau. As of May 7, 2013, four hijackings and 93 pirate attacks have occured this year. Somali pirates currently hold five ships and 71 hostages.  

Speaking of pirates, in April we toured the Pirates Museum in St. Augustine (Florida) on the way to the Amelia Island Book Festival. The museum offers facts, artifacts and sometimes gruesome exhibits for all ages with emphasis on the “golden age of piracy” of the 1500-1700s. The museum is across the street from the Castillo de San Marcos in the old town, and I recommend dropping by if you’re in town.

Tip for authors:  Erika Liodice, vice president of the MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association, (MBPA) offered suggestions at its spring meeting for increasing sales at book shows. We exhibited our books at the Amelia Island (FL) Book Festival, and following Erika’s suggestion, I held my book and stood in front of our table. As people passed by, I greeted them and asked if I could tell them about my book. I sold books while most of the other exhibitors languished, unsung, unsold, and bored, sitting behind their tables.

MBPA and similar associations around the country provide resources, information, and cooperative marketing opportunities for their members. Now that so many authors are turning publisher, it’s time to consider learning more about the field of publishing as a business.