Thursday, January 31, 2008

A week of respite coming soon

I find it very difficult not to get despondent when I spend the entire morning on the phone to various book shops, on what is supposed to be my day off, and the result is just one order for two copies. Mind you, it was a particularly lucrative order from Waterstones in Truro, which as it happens, is the only chain book store in the whole of Cornwall. Their manager has proved quite hard to track down, but when I finally did get to talk to him he turned out to be a very nice and amenable man. He has even invited me down to the store for a signing if I am ever down that way - it is not that far from Hartland where I fly to Lundy from a week tomorrow.

Having discovered, thanks to Wakefield last week, that it it possible to check which stores have copies of your book in stock, I ascertained that quite a large chunk of those who told me they would be ordering copies have not in fact done so. These include stores in Birmingham, Norwich and Hatfield to name just a few. I spent the afternoon ringing round a few of these, and with by far the majority of them this seems to be down to a simple oversite on their part, and I am pleased to say that they have now placed orders and the books will very soon be on their way. I will continue to keep an eye on their website to see if this time they have indeed ordered copies.

I realise there is not a lot I can do about it should they decide not to, and it is of course their right to do this, but still it pees me off when one shop at least has fobbed me off and now changed their mind about doing this. It just does not seem fair or ethical to build someone's hopes up before Christmas by promising to order copies of their work and then deny that they ever did and completely change tack when you ring them up a month later to check what is happening. The store in question is in Redditch, Worcestershire - other authors take note - they only stock books from what they term as local authors, which in practise seems to mean those that actually live in that town.

Still, the book does seem to be doing well in other areas even if not in the West Midlands - the orders must be coming from somewhere as the numbers continue to drop, despite the fact that I am doing really very little compared to what I was doing prior to Christmas before I started back at work four days a week. As of tonight the number in stock has dropped to 118 compared to 130 this time last week, and this is bearing in mind that I have secured just the one definate order from Truro during that time. These other 10 copies have not come from Amazon, as my ranking has stayed the same, so I can only conclude that they must be repeat orders from stores.

So, this time next week I shall be tucked up in the Travelodge in Tiverton en route to my beautiful island of Lundy - the most wonderful place in the whole wide world. I then have one whole week of long walks, and evenings of reading, cooking and music before I come back to the real world of work once more. It will be a short and much needed respite, during which I plan to walk, eat and sleep in that order.

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