Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wall Of Spears tour wrap-up

Well, it's finally over - after more than 50 bookstores across the last two months, more than 1200 books hand-sold, easily 1000 people spoken to, five states and one territory.
Firstly, a massive thankyou to all those people who stopped and chatted to me about the books - it was a pleasure and a privilege to speak to you.
Another huge vote of thanks to the bookstores and their staff who helped me.
Thanks also to all my friends who helped me around the country - you made it all possible.
So here's a few random thoughts about the tour:

Best question asked:
Hands down, one from a young couple out at Penrith. "Who would win in a fight between Martil and Sendatsu?" It made me smile and it made me think. I'll have to put together a blog entry giving my answer in the next few weeks!

Weirdest reply to my opening line of "Do you like to read?"
From two seniors, one in Melbourne and the other in Perth. "I only read pornos!" What are our seniors up to these days?!?!?!!

Most popular questions:
A dead heat between "How long does it take you to write a book?" and "How do you get published?". The first is obviously easier to answer than the second. In fact, these days, the second question is very tricky to answer. It's very easy to self-publish but nobody has the magic answer to how to get a mainstream publishing contract.

Dumbest answer:
Sadly, I received this one multiple times. "I can't read, I'm illiterate!" Now those words by themselves would be sad, but when said with a proud smile, really turn my stomach. If people tell me they don't like to read, then that's fair enough. But when they take pride in it, then that's alarming.

Fastest-growing question:
"Are these available as eBooks?" The growth in this question has been enormous on this tour, compared to my previous tours.

Strangest reaction to saying I write fantasy:
Many people pull a face and then tell me they don't read fantasy. One woman ranted and raved for nearly a minute about how much she hated the genre. I thought she was never going to shut up about it! And one woman in Wollongong told me - 'I don't read that crap!' with an expression of pure disgust on her face. Then she looked at me and her face fell. She reached out to grab my arm and said earnestly: "But I'm sure yours is great!"

Hopeful but no:
On several occasions, people told me they only read biographies. Then they looked wistfully at the table covered in fantasy books. "Do you have any biographies?"

Random questions:
"Do you sell calendars?" Only what I have here!
"Do you know where the Post Office is?" Madam, I'm not even from this state, let alone this suburb. I'm afraid I can't help!
"How could I write a relationship between a warrior and a little girl, like you did with Martil and Karia?" Weeelll ... maybe start by having a daughter and go from there!

Best queue:
Penrith Dymocks was the clear winner. I arrived a few minutes late and quickly set up my massive banner. By then a couple of people were looking at the table of books. I chatted to them and they picked up the Empire Of Bones series. I was about to sign them when I looked up and saw about 15 people waiting for me, eager looks on their faces and books in their arms. "You'd better go and pay for those and then join the queue!" I said.

Best sales result:
Dymocks Belconnen, with exactly 50 books sold. Dymocks Erina went fantastically well and I might well have beaten it there - except I sold out of books at 43! Belconnen was great, with a mix of new and returning readers.

Secretly funniest moment:
I was at Cronulla with my Viking warrior Uthred when a surfie told us that he hated books and he was proud to be illiterate. As he walked away, Uthred pulled out his throwing axe. 'I can hit him from here - I can you know!' he said, miming it.

Most shocking moment:
I was chatting with a lovely lady in Perth when she noticed that two of the main characters in Empire Of Bones are called Huw and Rhiannon. "That's my son's name, only he spells it Hugh and that's my daughter's name!" she exclaimed.
`Wow, what a coincidence!' I said, thinking that surely she is going to want to buy the series now.
But then her face fell.
`My daughter died two years ago today,' she said, her voice choking up.
I didn't know what to do. Inadequately, I told her how sorry I was, then she left, visibly upset. I certainly couldn't talk to anyone else for a few minutes after that, either.

Best moment:
Every time somebody bought a book, or returned to buy the next in the series, or brought in previously bought books to be signed. It is a thrill that never goes away. I love writing, I love bringing stories and characters to life and I love the chance to share them with others. It is what I have wanted to do since I was seven.
Thank you all for making a dream come true.


  1. Hi Duncan, I was at dymocks belconnen and you signed three books for my son, Zak. He was absolutely blown away that I had "met an author" and has already finished the first two and is halfway through the third in only two weeks. I must say his homework has not been completed, but he has almost finished the trilogy in just two weeks. Thanks again. He loved them!

  2. That's fantastic to hear and it was a great pleasure to meet you! Hopefully he can catch up with the homework in the holidays! :)