Monday, October 08, 2007

Watch and learn

I am really missing my beloved Lundy at the moment, and regretting that there do not appear to be any vacancies now until the New Year. Actually that is not strictly true, as I believe there is a week free towards the end of November, but it is the week that I need to leave free for putting the December/January edition of the village newsletter together. Such is life.

I just seem to be a bit ungrounded of late - too much computer work, as always. When Coran and I moved here just before Christmas, we thought we would be spending a lot more time outdoors walking around the locality, but both of our work seems to have taken off, plus my fear of dogs also plays a part. That is in fact the only thing that I do not enjoy about being up here - that and the dark winter nights, and that I will get used to again anyway once the clocks change.

October though looks like a busy month for me, I don't have a weekend free in fact until the 2nd week of November now. My astrology course is taking up 2 weekends - on the 6th (just gone) and 27th, then on 13th (this weekend) I have a trip to St Neots in Cambridgeshire for the Authors OnLine 10th anniversary do. I am thoroughly looking forward to this as it a chance to finally get to meet everyone and sneak a peek at Paul's famous little black book, which contains all his contacts. I hope I can manage to persuade him to give me the direct line to the buyers at Borders, since I keep getting is the answerphone and they never return my calls. I know they are busy people, but so am I, and if they would just talk to me, it would actually save both of us a hell of a lot of time.

On 20th October I have the long awaited book signing in Waterstones in Staines, and then Coran and I are off to Glastonbury for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of November. I had been intending to book a ticket for this years Questing Conference, but have probably left it a little late by now. The stalls are a lot cheaper this year, outside of London, but still a little out of my price league after last years disaster.

I think then what I shall do is try and tout the book around the areas book shops and possibly even try and organise a stint on Glastonbury Radio. I have emailed them this afternoon in fact to see what information they would need, since they feature authors on a lot of their shows, and have a regular book review slot each Thursday afternoon. It may be possible to do the show over the phone at home, without having to go to the studio at all. It would certainly be one way of persuading the town's book shops to stock my book - not to mention Waterstones in nearby Wells. Have not got round to ringing them yet.

In fact, I have not felt up to ringing any book shops at all today, which puts me slightly behind my schedule. There is always tomorrow though, and besides, Gardners are out of stock so have nothing to send out anyway.

Last week I had quite a few branches actually tell me that they preferred not to order through Gardners anyway, which I was a little puzzled by. Scarborough and Southampton Above Bar were two culprits, although they did eventually order a copy apiece. I got the feeling though that they would have ordered more had there been alternatives. Swansea on Friday though were very anti Gardners and insisted that it is not company policy to use them at all. This is not at all what the Gardners website says. When I pointed out to them that I have rung almost 300 stores now and they are the first ones to tell me, they said that those other stores were obviously not aware of company policy. I don't think so!

I then telephoned Justin Hutchinson, the independent author advisor at their Head Office, but I was told that he had gone home. Undeterred I emailed him instead and 5 minutes later had a reply to say that Swansea were wrong and I was right. He stated that 'Waterstones discourage stores from using Gardner's as a wholesaler but not as a supplier. As Gardner's are linked to you as a supplier this is where stock should be ordered from if a store wishes to do so. If you can let me know which stores have said this I'll get in touch with them." Hooray, what a gentleman ! Borders should watch and learn ....

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