There are a couple of stores in my local area that are stocking Copper Star. They order ten or more at a time and run out quite quickly (a good problem to have). So I zip in to the stores now and then to monitor the quantity of books and give a gentle reminder to the owner that it’s time to re-order.

My kids have helped in the monitoring process this summer. Without even having to tell them, they know to keep a low profile and just to pop into a store, look casual, do a quick book count of Mom’s book, and zip out.

The other day, I asked my husband to count a stack of books in a store while I ran to the post office.

Big mistake.

Steve, an accountant, walked into the store, and in a loud, loud voice (he’s a former lifeguard), announced: “I’m here to count up the copies of Copper Star!”

Three staff members dropped what they were doing to help him. He even asked if there were any books hidden behind the countertop or in the back storage room. The three staffers, now worried, looked everywhere to confirm the count.

Steve returned to the car, triumphant, like a hunter returning with prey, because he accomplished the task.

I was mortified.

Steve works for a consumer products company. When they do store checks, he explained, it’s important to have a complete inventory count.

I told him that a novel is very personal and it’s important for an author to act cool. I tried to make him understand that a novel is not the same thing as laundry detergent. He looked puzzled.

Steve is no longer part of my monitoring staff.

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