Gone but forgotten? Really? Flippo died on November 4, 2018. Yes, five years ago this year. And It might appear people have forgotten him. In my mind, Marshall Flippo was and is a legend in square dance history; therefore, this book is not only a biography, but a history book. It’s not old news; it’s timely news! How could people forget him so quickly?
Recently, I had a booth in the vendor’s room at the International CALLERLAB Convention in Reno, Nevada April 23-26, to sell Marshall Flippo’s biography. Yes, I wrote it in 2020—three years ago—but I thought this would be the place to make lots of sales. My mission: to get the word out about the life and times of Marshall Flippo! Not only square dance history, but World War II history, Texas history and the life in the 50s and 60s.
Here’s some history of this book & CALLERLAB!
I released Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo mid-May 2020 and with the pre-order sales and the sales on Amazon.com and IngramSparks.com, I enjoyed an acceptable amount of sales.
The coronavirus pandemic hit in March 2020, canceling all dance festivals and events for a couple years, so after my original release, the book sales have plummeted. Somehow, I thought I could maintain minimal sales even though we weren’t dancing.
I had originally planned to release the book at the 2020 CALLERLAB convention in Reno, Nevada, but they canceled it. Then I thought I’d have a major release party at REVCO Festival in Indio, California, a festival Flip called at for years. They canceled it. ALL DANCE EVENTS—CANCELED. Then CALLERLAB 2021 in Grapevine, Texas, occurred, but as a virtual convention, so I had no book sales there. I missed CALLERLAB 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania because I still felt leery about the coronavirus pandemic.
So, 2023 would be the year, and anticipation filled me. Before the event, I followed the suggestion of my book coach, and prepared a fifty-minute audio of highlights of my conversations with Flippo to offer FREE for interested people. Listening to his voice once more when I created this, I snuggled down in my chair and relished the storyteller he was. He talked about how he started calling, about his amazing recording of “The Auctioneer” (such a piece of history) and a bonus of his sleeping with another caller and the practical jokes that followed! Interesting and funny—Flippo at his best! And to hear that raspy Texas twang once more! Looking to CALLERLAB, I saw, in my imagination, people rushing to my booth to get the free audio and buy his book.
The days before leaving for Reno, I put three labels of awards the book won on each book I took. I ordered more of my other books not about Flippo because I was sure I would sell out of the number I had—the eternal optimist.
As we neared the departure date, I had a glitch in my travel plans. My husband came down with shingles, so my brother pinch hit for him to help me drive. After a delightful trip there and a mini-family reunion with his family from northern California on Saturday, the anticipation grew! Yet a nagging doubt whispered in the back of my mind: gone and forgotten? What would the sales be like?
On Sunday morning, my brother and nephew helped me set up my booth, teeming with my six books and three cookbooks—Flippo’s book took center-state though! We opened from 1:00-5:00 PM to start the conference. Callers and callers’ wives slowly dribbled in, and I realized my fate! Maybe gone and forgotten was the truth!
On Monday and Tuesday, the lack of interest continued. I sold a few books, but eleven people said, after I asked if they had bought Flippo’s biography, “Not yet.” The sad thing—the “Net yets” never came back!
But the most disturbing part for me, more than the lack of sales—the lack of enthusiasm about Flippo. Yes, I had several people stop by my table and share. They bought the book and enjoyed it—several had stellar comments to make. That blessed my heart because this was the first opportunity I had to get that kind of face-to-face feedback in such numbers.
But the lack of enthusiasm shocked me! In Flip’s biography, thirty-four callers, cuers and dancers told stories about him, remembering great tales to tell. As I thumbed through those stories today, most of those people bought the book early. Several have posted reviews on Amazon and three wrote thoughtful blurbs I used for the covers and promotions.
Flippo Loved to Tell Stories About Other Callers & Cuers
From the beginning, Flippo wanted to tell stories about the callers and cuers he worked with. In fact, we started the book with “A Tribute To Those Who’ve Gone,” identifying ten specific callers and cuers who helped him get started.
He also told stories on fifty-three callers, cuers and dance influencers in another section. Many of them have passed, but their names ring in the mind of any square dance historian: Jerry Haag, Beryl Main, Frank Lane, Ed Gilmore, Joe Lewis, Arnie Kronenberger, Dave Taylor, Dick Jones, Hotsy & Joan Bacon, Jerry Helt, Al and Bob Brundage, Earl Johnston, Al “Tex” Brownlee, Bill & Phyllis Speidel, Ray & Harper Smith, Jerry Story, Randy Dougherty, Singing Sam Mitchell, Max Forsyth, Charlie & Bettye Procter, Ted Frye, Bob Yerington, Bobby Newman, Chuck Goodman, Johnnie Wykoff, C. O. Guest, Billy Lewis, Pancho and Marie Baird, Jim Brower, Joe & Cricket Young, and Bob Fisk. Whew! What a list of the stars of the history of square and round dancing!
One more thing! I worked hard to add an index at the end of the book. Why spend a week putting it together? I saw the historical value of it and I wanted people to look up famous names, familiar names easily.
Gone but forgotten? I had a conversation with Darryl Lipscomb. He told me that Flippo had told him when he was retiring people would forget him because of his absence at festivals and different events. Interesting prediction for sure!
Gone, but forgotten! I took way too many books to CALLERLAB in my enthusiasm. The lack of enthusiasm for Flippo astonished me there, but I look to the future and festivals coming up to sell at: USAWest in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Cool Mountain Fling in Show Low, Arizona and Hot August Nights in Albuquerque, New Mexico, too, to name a few.
Flippo! Gone, but not forgotten for me and many! Be one of us!
News, News, News!
~Get your FREE Fifty minute audio recording of “Highlights of My Conversations with Flippo.” Learn how he started calling, how he recorded “The Auctioneer,” and a bonus: which caller did he sleep with? Click here for easy access!