Kaitlyn Dunnett here, eight days before the publication date of Ho-Ho-Homicide, the 8th Liss MacCrimmon Scottish-American Heritage mystery and my fiftieth traditionally published book. In honor of the occasion, I’m giving away an autographed copy to one person, randomly selected, who comments on this post. The winner’s name will appear in the next Weekend Update.
Why am I writing about Christmas tree farms? Well, aside from the fact that I live on one, that’s the setting for Ho-Ho-Homicide, in which Liss solves a series of crimes while helping a young woman start a cut-your-own Christmas tree business. Since Liss is a champion list-maker, I thought I’d share this one.
Step One: plant trees
Step Two: wait ten years, occasionally pruning (and planting more trees each year if you want to continue in business more than one)
Step Three: buy netter, tarps, and saws (Why, yes, a body will fit through the netter!)
Step Four: buy liability insurance
Step Five: get PayPal or cube attachment for iPad or other device
Step Six: buy sales pads and print sales-tax calculator
Step Seven: advertise with ads, signs along the roadside and in local businesses, and word of mouth
Step Eight: offer incentives to buy a tree—free hot chocolate and candy canes (or maybe a free book by a famous local author to the first twenty customers—got to make use of those author copies somehow!)
Step Nine: set business hours (days and times) and make them clear on a large sign on the premises
Step Ten: cross your fingers and hope that people still want their kids to experience cutting down their own tree and don’t just make do with that artificial pink one stored in the attic