I set off today to attack a few of the local book shops in the area. Just before I packed up the car with my box of books, I checked the addresses only to find that sadly one was already in the process of closing its doors for good and another was (with some optimism) up for sale. That left just one.
Over the past few months, I had been building up a casual relationship with a manager in one of the chain stores hoping that he would bend the rules and permit me to do a book signing or at least allow me to discreetly leave a couple of my KEY WEST books in the gent's toilet. Unfortunately, when I returned last week with books just off the printing press, I was coldly told that "my manager had been transferred to Siberia" (well, OK, not that far away, but some place up north I'd never heard of). The new chap in town wanted nothing to do with local 'indie' authors.
So, it was with a bit of trepidation that I headed off to the only remaining independant book store in town.
Meet Fables The BookShop, St Marychurch, in Devon.
Fables is owned and operated by Frances and Doreen.What a great place!
Frances & Doreen come from publishing royalty as their grandfather Charlie Buchan was a Fleet Street publisher (and professional footballer).
Frances was on duty today and she was amazing.
Not only was she receptive to my 'cold call' visit -- but she agreed there and then to stock my KEY WEST book, and actually stuck it right up on the shelf!
There was no: 'Oh, that all has to go through head office'.
There was no: 'Oh, we've already ordered all our books for this season'.
There was no: 'Oh, we'll have to have our lawyers draw up a contract'.
I handed over my carefully constructed 'sell sheet' which I thought she'd file away in some dusty box in the store room -- no, she glanced at it and immediately decided to put in the shop window.
Approaching this book store to try to sell them my book ending up being more like popping over for tea with an old friend. After a great time chatting about everything from publishing to puppies, I left with a feeling that this was going to be the start of a great relationship.
In parting, Frances told me that there were now less than 1000 independant book stores in the U.K.(just a few years ago there were more than 4000).
So, one down -- 999 to go.