Thursday, November 08, 2007

Peeing cats and dogs

It is peeing down with rain as I write this, and watch it cascading down my window in rivulets. It has been threatening all day, which is probably why it was so quiet at the National Trust today. Regular readers will know that I work as a volunteer in their shop each Thursday. It is a good way to put something back into the community and takes me out of the routine of ringing book shops etc for at least one day per week.

Although such shops are open at the weekends and theoretically I could ring them then, as well as during the week, it never seems a good idea somehow. Firstly because I know they will probably be too busy to talk to me anyway, but secondly because I like to have weekends off myself as well. Coran and I work hard all week and I think we deserve this.

He has been having some problems with his arms and wrists lately which is a bit of a worry, as it seems like the onset of the next stage of RSI. Mind you, in some ways this is to be expected, since he has been in the software business for over 30 years now, having worked his way through the ranks at the BBC until his redundancy in 1994 forced him to go freelance. He woke up this morning though having slept on his arm as one often does and several hours later found it had still not woken up. So he made an appointment to see the Doctor and they want him to go to Hopsital for an X-ray tomorrow afternoon, just as a precaution and to rule out anything more sinister. I am amazed that he could get an appointment for the following day myself given the waiting lists that seem to be in the news these days.

I suppose though that RSI is also a by product of the writers life, and I must admit that I do have problems with my right arm and wrist at times. I have tried training myself to type with the left hand, as Coran sometimes does, but so far without success. I hope the worst doesn't happen to me though, as I can't see me spending the rest of my life without being able to write - that's just too depressing to even think about. I could always get one of those things that writes what you tell it to though - I can't remember what you call them now, but I am sure readers will know what I mean!

There is not really that much to report then for the last few days. I have done the usual amount of ringing round and have a few more orders from other branches of Waterstones - Aberdeen Langstane have ordered 4 copies, and Cirencester and Crewe one copy apiece. My local branch has also ordered one. Every little helps.

I get the impression that the Manager at my local branch doesn't like me very much! I am not sure why but she always seems to avoid me. Every time I have tried to ring and get her on the phone it is either her day off or she is in a meeting, and each time I go in and ask for her I am told the same thing! Half the time I know that she is there though because she pops her head round the door after a few minutes while I am still in the shop browsing, blissfully unaware that I know what she looks like !

Thankfully her staff and her Assistant Manager are a little more helpful. I was under the impression that when a book is sold through Waterstones, if this is the only copy in stock then it triggers an order for another one, but this does not seem to be the case. I sold one copy in September after an excellent article in the local paper, and was told by a female staff member that another would be re-ordered to replace it, yet when I asked them yesterday how many I have sold in total they told me that no more had been delivered since that first sale.

I know it is a small store and all that, but I am a local author and a very active one at that, who has proved by selling one copy (and several copies in other local branches) that there is a potential market for this book. I have also managed to secure good local press coverage on an ongoing basis (I am after all the editor of my own community newsletter in one of the outlying villages). I get the distinct impression that this Manager for some reason just does not want to stock my book. Perhaps she thinks I am too pushy? Next time I go in there I have to walk up to her, put on my best smile and change her perceptions.

All in all though this branch is one very small fish in a large pond and not worth worrying over unduly. I have enough other branches now who are stocking the books to be able to make a sizeable impact and also be primed for when those national newspapers print reviews of the books that I sent them the other week ....

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