Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Big July - finished at last!

I can barely believe it - my madcap month of planes, trains and automobiles to get me around to so many bookstores is actually over.
In the end, I only visited 49 bookstores in the 31 days I set aside ... although I do have Number Fifty, A+R Town Hall, set aside for Thursday August 5 lunchtime, although I won't call it truly part of The Big July.
But, and here's the fantastic bit - I sold 1016 books to wonderful people across three states and the ACT!
Along the way, The Radiant Child hit the Dymocks Top 10 Fantasy Bestseller List at number 9, climbed to 4 and stayed there for two weeks, then finished the month at No. 6.
That was amazing, particularly as I think only about nine of my stores were Dymocks - the rest were Borders, A+R or independents (who don't do a bestseller list).
Still, The Radiant Child was THE best-selling book, of ANY book, for Erina A+R, two weeks after I visited there, while also being the top-seller for the month at Umina's Book Bazaar and a big seller for Infinitas at Parramatta as well.
My last four days of store appearances were a whirlwind ... Roselands and Miranda on Thursday, Newcastle on Friday, Parramatta on Saturday and then Hornsby and Macquarie on Sunday.
Thursday was a long day ... Roselands proved to be a tricky one as it was swamped with mums and screaming kids because Target (just around the corner from the A+R) has launched its big toy sale. That was a solid one and then I had Miranda Fair for late-night shopping.
That went really well and I met some great people, including Belinda Every, who bought the entire trilogy and is trying to start a fan page for me on Facebook! I also met a top bloke called Kurtis, who wanted me to write a character with his name and appearance into my next book: ``Just say he's got a beard like a lion!'' he suggested. You'll have to wait and see...
Friday was a fantastic day - although I got a massive shock when I arrived in Newcastle to see the A+R store boarded up, with posters saying it had closed the day before! As my heart slowed, I saw that it had, in fact, just moved down the road.
Despite it being in a worse location, the people were great, both there and at Borders Kotara down the road, and I sold about 55 books on the day, leaving me hugely confident I could crack the magic 1000 over the weekend.
I kicked off Saturday at Infinitas, which has been a wonderful supporter of mine. Waiting for me were a bunch of pre-bought books, ready to sign, including an entire trilogy for a US fan, Jan Barlow. This guy is a real fantasy expert, and I have to admit to being a little nervous sending my trilogy off to him ... he's gone to a great deal of trouble and I hope they live up to it!
Parramatta Dymocks is another favourite but, this time, I realised all my fears about Saturdays at big shopping centres were realised! It was just too busy, too loud and I couldn't get people to stop and listen. That's the biggest lesson I'm taking away - shops may like Saturdays but I don't!
This left me 20 books short of the 1000 target, with two Borders stores on Sunday to visit.
I was super-confident, as both Hornsby and Macquarie are great stores, plus I used to be the editor of the Hornsby Advocate, and Hornsby Borders is where I interviewed Raymond E Feist and began this whole adventure!
There were people waiting for me at Hornsby, including an old work experience girl, now a uni student and a budding writer herself! It was great to talk to them and sign some books but those didn't count as sales so I hurried off to Macquarie with six books still to sell to hit my target.
By now I was starting to feel some pressure - stupid, I know, and unnecessary but I habitually put myself under pressure - just one of many character flaws!
As time ticked on and people only bought book one, it began to feel less like a monkey on my back, more like an obese gorilla!
Then a lovely couple bought the entire trilogy to hit the magic 1000 mark and all the pressure was off ... no matter what the ``score'' for the month was, it was still a success, but it was still a real relief to reach the goal I had set myself!
There was no gold glitter falling from the ceiling, no balloons and streamers - perhaps I should have brought along a few friends to supply something like that - would have been a nice touch!
After that, it was easy to kick on until things really quietened around 4pm and I went back to friends at Turramurra for a quiet beer and a big sigh of relief!
Galaxy Books in my lunch hour, by comparison, was easy enough, although I sold few books I handed out plenty of bookmarks and chatted to what seemed like a lot of would-be writers!
So The Big July is over ... and what have I learned?
Well, I learned not to do anything quite as big as that again - I'll need to stretch things out!
I also learned there are wonderful people who love books, and fantasy, all across Australia. You just have to get out there and find them.
And I couldn't have done it without the help and support of the wonderful people at HarperCollins and, especially, my friends and family.
Thanks to everyone I met ... you have helped create a memory that will stay with me forever.
This was a massive challenge for me and I couldn't have done it without you all!

No comments:

Post a Comment