I know some people say they never feel like a real writer. And I always say as soon as I started to tell myself I write, therefore I am, it changed everything and was the start of the journey that lead me to this point. The truth is, while I would love to have walked to WHSmith and seen a line of people clutching my book waiting to meet me, it did make me laugh even the notion of such a thing being possible, I know that’s not how it works. The reality is writers have to work very hard to get noticed!
Small presses, but even many of the larger ones, only fast track a select few, which leaves the rest of us anything but household names and having to put in the time to say this is my book, please give it a chance.
Actually a friend told me at the weekend she had to return her library copy of my novel as it was requested and she had not finished it as she is a slow reader, so she went to request it again after that person and found 3 people have requested it! Bolton Library apparently! I didn’t know they had it and wonder if this is the power of the grapevine in full force. I love it! Anyone else got it from your library? Ask them to get it in, if not!
Loving meeting people as much as I do, for me it was great sitting in Smiths all afternoon, chatting to all kinds of wonderful people, and handing out my HUGE bookmarks — they came that way, much larger than I had planned but a talking point never the less! It was a very quiet afternoon so I think I did well to sell the few we managed. But with over 200 bookmarks handed out, you never know who might later buy it and it will sit out front on the shelves for a while. So if you’re in Bangor, pop along! I am of the mindset that if the book is there to be browsed, especially now as people look for holiday reads, it will sell. Lots of people were drawn to the premise of it. One customer did say “I’ll read anything” — which made me smile, not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but she bought it and she asked lots of questions about the story.
I tend to wait near the door and greet people with bookmarks and tell them I’m signing my novel in store, leaving them to wander over to the table and look at it. Nothing worse than having the author grinning at you willing you to buy it as they read the blurb and browse through it. So I like to give them space. It’s not like selling other things — you can’t say “It’s brilliant — you should buy it!” — well not without sounding like a total egotist. In fact if they asked I tended to use the reverse psychology of it, “It might not be your thing, but if you like mysteries…” and walk away until they have questions. No pressure! And it worked engaging with people, making them smile. I’d like to think some of them remember me, if only for a fleeting moment! The store manager seemed to think I did very well given how few people came in. And half the store is books, but the other half papers, DVDs, magazines and drinks etc, so unlike Waterstones, people tend to come in for other things than just books. If they were looking at books, they were mine, kind of. Well they left with a HUGE bookmark anyway. Actually even if they didn’t think they’d come in for a book they left with a bookmark to go with their magazine!!!
But we think with the Liverpool store being so much busier, next weekend should be better! Can’t wait. Even planning to do it in style and book a hotel in the city centre so no rush Saturday morning! For me Liverpool was my home for 15 years and Lee was from Prescot. I have the fondest memories of living in Liverpool, so it’s only right for me to go there and catch up with friends. With the book dedicated to Lee and since I am moving back to Essex some 26 years since I left it for Liverpool University, staying in a nice hotel in the new revamped city centre feels like the perfect home-coming and farewell — although I never really left, not in my heart.
So, do I feel like a real writer now? Well, as I have said here, being a real writer is me in sweatpants sat at my computer losing myself in another world. And I get to do that every day, so yes! Absolutely yes!
But then there’s the face I show to the world, and that’s the one below!
You tell me, do I look like a real writer yet?
Not sure what expression is on my face here! I only wished someone from my old company had seen me — see, I said I would do it … might even have managed a little knowing gloat! How terrible of me!