The virus can’t keep us down

For months, I and many others were looking forward to the big April 11 Launch Event for my new book, Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. We hoped to pack the 250 seats of the auditorium at the Central Library downtown. But then came the COVID-19 health emergency, and the library canceled the event. Other venues followed, hurting our hopes for a successful release of the book during April.
To be sure, this is nothing compared to what’s happening throughout the world. I’m still reading and watching the news about the deaths elsewhere. I’m still healthy and only moderately inconvenienced by social distancing. And I still know what a solid book this is, in any circumstance.

Burns1954 about 6 yrs John Burns pushing younger sister around
John Burns, in a St. Louis suburb in the 1950s, one of more than 100 people interviewed for Growing Up St. Louis.

Remember this, all of you who think about how nice it would be to write a book. Personal contact, whether in a presentation or a signing, is a major part of the success of any book. If you don’t do it, all of your books will stay in boxes. In other words, writing is just half of a successful book project. Selling is the other half. And when you can’t use personal contact, you have to do something else.

Here’s what June Harper looked like around the winter of 1928-29, when she was 2. Read her story in Growing Up St. Louis.

I’m working on a plan to sell the book other ways. I’ll let people know in another way about how I interviewed more than 100 St. Louisans about their growing-up experiences and then crafted it into a book of stories about being a kid in St. Louis.

Check back soon. In a day to a week, we should have a link posted to buy the book. Then, on a day of more bad news, pick it up, read it, and imagine what it is to be a kid again.

Growing Up St. Louis cover final


Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

One thought on “The virus can’t keep us down

  1. You’re right Jim, that personal contact with the author does make an impact. Your story will sell and when this is past it will still be a pleasure to meet you and discuss your stories. Thank you for making it available soon.


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