Motorcycling Montana News

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated “What’s New.” We’ve been busy with the book distribution and marketing and with the holidays, including an inspiring week in New Orleans. What a place: what food, music, architecture and history!

But now it’s back to work!

Retail book sales were excellent up through Christmas as we were hoping and as was expected: they make fantastic, thoughtful and original gifts for the rider on your gift list. Post-Christmas, we’ve seen a nice bump in sales from those who’ve received them as gifts, then ordered additional.

Now we’re seeing a shift. Most recent buyers are those who are seriously planning to tour The Big Sky in 2012, or who are ordering them for buddies they’re trying to convince to go along.

We took delivery of 2,600 books in mid October. So far a little over 1,900 have been either distributed at wholesale for retail, or have been purchased outright at retail. A couple of dozen wholesalers have re-ordered, including one bike shop that bought a full case of 16 books after having sold their initial order of six. I was on my way to a funeral in eastern Montana on Sunday (Jan. 15) and stopped at a tavern in Columbus that is retailing books; they had started with six, sold them, then bought six more. And so it goes.

Here’s the thing: we’re down to less than seven hundred books and we expect them to be moving out at an increasing clip as the Montana riding season nears. We’ll also be retailing them ourselves at bike shows and events beginning in May. When we get down to perhaps 200 copies, we plan to order more. The re-printing/binding process will take at least 30 days, so there may be some delay in filling orders then.

More importantly, like everything, there is efficiency and better pricing in producing large quantities. A reprint, however, would probably be just 1,000 copies, which means our unit-costs will be considerably higher than when we ordered 2,600. How much higher remains to be seen but you can be sure our second printing will have to carry a higher retail price. The point: if you’re thinking of buying a book, buy it now so you can get initial first-run pricing of $29.95. The CD version is just $20.00 and has no shipping/handling charge.

Reader/purchaser feedback has been very gratifying and very positive. Check it out by pushing the “Feedback” button in the home-page header.

Cant’ wait to ride the Beartooth Highway this spring…

Nearly 300 book retailers now have the books

I got in from the road Monday morning (Nov. 7) carrying my last shipment of 600 books from the printer. I had been on the road for five days doing deliveries and having a little fun along my last 1,200-mile delivery route (yes, I did venture into North Dakota!). Now, almost 3,500 miles after I started, nearly 300 book re-sellers across the Big Sky have their books for retail. The comments have been overwhelmingly positive and we appreciate it. Check out the “Feedback” section in the home-page header.

There were some Internet orders piled up when I fired up the Mac yesterday but we processed them right away and they were in the mail by Monday night. We’re finding the books – shipped Priority Mail – are arriving within 3-5 days.

I’ve been at a break-neck pace since July 1 and I need to slow down. So I’m heading for the woods this afternoon for a few days of hunting, aiming to put some good whitetail venison in the freezer for the winter. The serenity of the river-bottom woods will be a fine contrast to my go-go lifestyle of the last four months. Besides, we have snow on the ground and it got down near zero the other night. One bike has been put up under its winter blankets, the other is on the battery tender still coated in bugs and road grime from my last good ride Oct. 14-16 through some of western Montana and the Idaho Panhandle. Splendid! The memories will have to hold me now until spring is here.

You still have plenty of time to order books as Christmas gifts for your favorite rider, or for yourself! This is also the time to start planning next year’s “ride of a lifetime” to Montana, Yellowstone and Glacier Parks, and all the other superb but little known routes we’ll clue you in on.

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher
Motorcycling Montana

406-498-3250

Notes from the road: Books are selling as I deliver them to resellers

I’ve logged about 2,000 miles in the last two weeks and have covered about half the state. All this travel reinforces why, and how much, I love Montana. It’s not just the vastness and remoteness and never ending scenic beauty; it’s also the people and the communities. I never, ever tire of it. That’s why I plan to die here (with luck).

I handed Bob the three books he’d ordered for resale. . . within 30 seconds two of them were sold!

I stopped at Del’s saloon, restaurant and casino in Somers up on the north shore of Flathead Lake on Wednesday. Bob Lincoln, the owner, was at a buddy bar with some of his cronies. I handed Bob the three books he’d ordered for resale and, no kidding, within 30 seconds two of them were sold! I had to go out to the truck and bring in two more to make sure Bob had enough inventory.

Yesterday I delivered two book to Tom Laughlin at the Paradise Falls restaurant in Missoula. He said he was impressed. He called me this morning and said he’d sold the two I left, and had orders for three more so send him four!

Last night I made delivery to the White Front in Philipsburg, fulfilling their six-book order. The bartender bought me a beer and before I had it down, three of the books had sold, and those new owners had me autograph their copies. I think I like the way this is going.

I’m having a ball, in fact. Tomorrow (Saturday): Dillon, Twin Bridges, Sheridan, Alder, Virginia City, Ennis, Bozeman, Belgrade, Three Forks, Whitehall and home – a “short” delivery route of just 275 miles. Next week we wrap it up with a 1,000-mile trip through the southern and eastern regions. That will mean over 1,500 wholesale copies have been delivered, which leaves just over 900 left. Hurry! The holidays are approaching and these make ideal gifts for your favorite motorcycle enthusiast.

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher
Motorcycling Montana

What readers are saying

Here are some early comments from readers:

“Good, good, good!”
Laurie Rettig, Ft. Benton, MT

“Wow!! What an awesome book! Good job!”
Beverly Tuxill, Butte, MT

“I think it is a winner!”
Darla Kelman, Great Falls, MT

“Fine pictures, fine writing all the way through. First class!”
Bob Koch, Helena, MT

We’ve delivered books to our retailers in the Great Falls, Helena and Butte areas. Tomorrow we head for the Flathead and Mission Valleys, then Missoula, and the Bitterroot and Flint Creek Valleys. Southwest Montana, including Bozeman, will be delivered Oct. 29. Livingston, Billings and east will be delivered November 3 – 4.

All Internet orders were shipped by yesterday (Tuesday, October 25).

…and the wheels go round and round…

We did squeeze in a good ride last Saturday: Backroads to Dillon skirting I-15, Pioneer Scenic Byway, then over the top of Mill Creek and down to Anaconda and home. Might be the season’s last. It’s snowing lightly as I type! Of course, these routes are featured in the book. Order one now for yourself or your SO or for your riding pals. Great Christmas gift!

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher
Motorcycling Montana

Books are ready to go!

We picked up our first shipment of books today (Wed., October 19) and we are pleased! It is gratifying to hold a 16-month vision in your hands, and find it is exactly the way you imagined it would be.

Today and tomorrow we will hit Fort Benton, Havre, Shelby, Cut Bank, Conrad, Great Falls, Wolf Creek, Helena, East Helena and Boulder to fulfill almost 200 book orders to 45 retail sellers. Friday and Saturday, October 21-22, we will distribute almost 175 more books to 20 retail outlets around the Butte area. October 24 we will start shipping individual Internet orders and also other retailers too distant to justify the drive. This activity will account for our first 800 books.

Distribution to retail outlets begins today (October 19). Internet orders start shipping October 24.

On October 24 we will start shipping individual Internet orders. On October 25 we’re back at the printers for another load of 600 books (almost 1,200 lbs.). This time we’ll head west and north to cover the Flathead and Missoula areas and back into Butte. Monday, October 31, we’ll pick up 600 more books and distribute the area south and east of Butte including Bozeman. We will then cover our distribution to the east of Bozeman all the way to Fairview on the North Dakota Line where I’ll be doing my first book signing November 5. The next Monday, November 7, we’ll pick up the last of our first run of 2,500. By our estimates, we’ll have about 700 copies left for Internet sales at this time.

A subsequent press run would likely be smaller than the first batch (2,500) so unit costs will be higher and the retail price might have to be, too. Buy one or two now and get our low introductory rate. These will make wonderful Christmas gifts for anyone planning to ride Montana, or even just dreaming about it.

These will make wonderful Christmas gifts for anyone planning to ride Montana, or even just dreaming about it.

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher
Motorcycling Montana

406-498-3250

Distribution of “Motorcycling Montana” begins October 19

Online order fulfillment and statewide distribution starts October 19.

Talked to the printer this morning and we’ll have our first batch of books on Wed. Oct. 19 and will start distribution immediately. We’ll be running four big loops around the state for the next three weeks – about 2,000 miles! – fulfilling the orders of our retail book sellers. Meanwhile, we’ll start fulfilling our Internet orders. Those who ordered first will have them shipped first.

We’re going to be visiting with newspaper editors and leaving press kits when we do our routes. And we’ll stop at a few broadcast outlets that have local news programming. There’s no publicity like free publicity!

First book-signing event Saturday, November 5 at the Waterhole #3 in Fairview, Montana, on the Montana-North Dakota border.

We’ve also set up our first book-signing event… clear across the state 511 miles to the east in Fairview on the Montana-North Dakota state-line on Sat., Nov. 5. Just so happens my two older brothers are merging their respective bands that night to play at the Waterhole #3, a place my ex-brother-in-law owns. Talk about keeping it in the family! Of course I’ll tie that event in with book distribution to retailers along the way.

So, gestation is winding up and birth is just one week away! Can’t wait!

The press run starts 10/5

Well, the proofing process took a little longer than expected and we implemented a few minor fixes along the way, all to be expected I suppose.

The press starts tomorrow, October 5 and will run through October 7. Meanwhile we start the folding, collating, trimming, punching and spiral-binding. The printers told me yesterday they think I could have my first 500 copies as early as Oct. 17, best case, and as late as Oct. 21, worst case.

We will then begin distribution to our retail vendors around Montana, almost 150 outlets. One company bought 522 copies for resale! At the same time, we will begin shipping copies to our Internet purchasers. Many of you folks will see your copies around the end of October. By the way, thanks for the faith you demonstrated in us by ordering in advance.

We are in the process of writing a news release and will be visiting with travel and outdoors editors around the state. We are also planning to run a couple of trial book signings. A design process is underway to allow the book to be purchased as a download or on CD/DVD. I am writing a series of columns as an introduction to motorcycling, designed to run in weekly installments, that I’m hoping newspaper editors will pick up and start running in mid- to late winter, just when we all ought to be thinking about the coming riding season. So far, nine are complete. Yup, still plenty to keep us busy as we near the finish line.

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher
Motorcycling Montana
406-498-3250

On schedule for printed books by mid-October!

The book files were sent to the printer Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25. Today, the printers are creating press-match proofs that we will be inspecting tomorrow, September 27. Once we sign off on the proofs, the press will roll! They tell us the printing won’t take long, but that collating and bindery will – up to two weeks as much of it involves hand assembly.

So we are on schedule to have books as early as October 10 and no later than October 17, 2011. Shipping will commence immediately after.

The book wound up as 512 total pages. This includes 381 photographs and 124 map excerpts!

We can’t wait to get one in our hands!

Thanks for the advance orders. We still have around 900 copies from the first press run of 2,500 that will be sold at our introductory rate of $29.95, plus $9.50 shipping and handling.

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher
Motorcycling Montana
406-498-3250

The homestretch!

We’re in the homestretch now!

Seven of eight chapters have been built and the last one will be done tonight. We’ve been proofreading and correcting (three rounds of each) as we go.

We have been checking and color-correcting preliminary press-match proofs.

Then we’ll spend Sept. 26-28 checking and approving actual press proofs. We’ll commence printing as soon as we have approved the press proofs.

As of today, just a hair over 1,500 copies have been spoken for. That leaves just a little under 1,000 copies from the first run to sell at the special introductory rate.

At this time, we are planning 28 press runs of 16 pages each – 448 pages, plus 28 pages of gate-fold book section divider/tabs – a total of 476 pages. That could still be adjusted upward by 16 pages, depending upon the final chapter, which will determine final printing configurations and page counts.

We believe we can have the press work done by Sept. 30. We have agreed to allow up to two weeks for collating and spiral binding. The book assembly will consist of 22 separate signatures (multiple-page pieces), including gatefold dividers and covers.

It’s gonna be awesome. I can’t wait to get that first one in my hands, then start shipping to customers.

As of today, just a hair over 1,500 copies have been spoken for. That leaves just a little under 1,000 copies from the first run to sell at the special introductory rate.

We have ads breaking in Cycle, Motorcyclist and Rider magazines in early October – about 500,000 circulation. The ads run three times over three months in all three publications. We’re expecting this investment to drive sales over the top. We don’t really know what to expect, but can see having to order another, smaller press run before Christmas. Those will cost more to produce and will cost more to purchase.

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher

Start press date: September 26

Today we are making final corrections to our Introduction and Overview sections and to the Glacier Country chapter of the book – the first three sections, 150 pages, to be completed.

We are also making our preliminary corrections and changes today to the Russell Country, Missouri River Country and Gold West Country chapters – 205 more pages. Final corrections for these chapters will be done by the end of the coming week.

Yellowstone Country – approximately 70 pages – is nearly built so we’ll be preliminarily proofing that early next week. Custer Country – about 55 pages – will be handed off to our designers in two days. That section should be built and ready for initial proofing at the end of next week.

We’re now looking at a press start date of Sept. 26 with up to three weeks in press-proofing, printing and bindery. If we can maintain this hectic pace, books could be in hand for distribution as early as Oct. 10 but more likely Oct. 17.

As the Grateful Dead surmised, “What a long, strange trip it’s been…” But one with a near future happy ending!

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher

Things are really starting to move.

Things are really starting to move. We have 85 percent of the writing and the photo and map editing done. The rest will be complete in 10 days. Meanwhile we’ve got three sections of the book built and proofed and a fourth should be done in the next four days.

We expect to have all eight of the book sections — estimated at 480 pages — built by September 9 with more proofing to follow. We have scheduled the first press-run for September19. If things go as planned, the book should be ready for release by October 10. We should be able to commence shipping by October 20.

We’ve been working on this for 13 months and things are on track.

This must be what a pregnancy feels like: the mass of our baby just growing and growing, maturing at an increasing rate until . . . it pops out, complete! Our “due date” is just five to six weeks out and our anticipation and excitement for the delivery grows accordingly.

We hope you, too, are anticipating seeing our baby. It will be beautiful!

Cole Boehler
Editor and Publisher

 
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