SESQUI SAGAS Annually in Texas: “A Cash Flow and Ever’ thang”

Bill Sanderson and Rick Roseman will tell you, after several forays into East Texas, that “it ain’t easy bein’ no arthur.” Sanderson is a professional hipster, low-budget bon vivant, and the unofficial clown prince of Lower Greenville Avenue. Roseman is a Dallas illustrator. Together they wrote and self-published Annually in Texas, a chronicle of the state’s annual events.

It sold well for a while, riding on the Dallas bestseller list for three weeks earlier this year, “and then it fell off there like a crate of tank parts,” says Sanderson. Since the fall, Sanderson and Roseman have been promoting the book at various festivals. Thank God-or whoever had the idea-for the Sesquicentennial celebration.

One week it might be the Boomtown Days Festival in Odessa, or the Noonday Onion Festival, a sort of open-air K mart of homemade gew-gaws and garage-made handicrafts. The next weekend might find the duo covering the long green miles of East Texas headed for the Southern Hushpuppy Olympics in Lufkin, to set up a booth consisting of a folding table, a pile of their books, and a small cardboard sign saying. “Annually in Texas.”

Muses Sanderson: “In Kerrviile, after I’d had a few beers, people would come wandering up and I’d say, ’Can you read? If ya can’t, there’s lotsa pictures.’”

The whole point of these little pilgrimages, obviously, is to promote the book and sell some copies on the side. For a guy new at the public relations game, Sanderson has landed some windfalls. He’s now got what amounts to his own show on the Texas State Network, where he reads excerpts from the book every week. Several local writers have provided the owlishly built redhead with some free publicity. But Sanderson’s promotional sense may be offset by certain shortcomings, businesswise, which are revealed in business conversations of any length.

How many books have they sold?

“I don’t know. Sounds funny, but I really don’t. [Pause.] But we’re official, all right. We got a cash flow and ever’thang. Heck, we got PR. We got a warehouse department. We got an editorial department. We got a distribution department. Rick Roseman is some of those things. I’m the rest.

“We be incorporated. Yeah, we bad. We’re what you might call a not-so-cash-heavy publishing cartel.”

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