Sunday, March 2, 2014

Wall Of Spears Week Four wrap-up

This was my busiest week of the 50 Stores tour extravaganza - nine stores in Melbourne and three in Sydney, across five solid days.
Luckily it was a resounding success, with more than 250 books hand-sold, plus more than 100 signed and left at various stores across Victoria and NSW.
The week kicked off in Melbourne with another 4.15am wake-up for the flight down south. Oh, how I love those 4am starts ...!
First port of call was Minotaur, the specialist comic/fantasy store in the heart of Melbourne.
Actually, the first port of call was a chemist to buy an umbrella, as Melbourne was drizzling down nicely!
Minotaur is a fantastic store but they do have an unusual approach to meeting authors. I was informed that they'd had to leave a fresh cup of coffee to talk to me (they could have kept drinking, or even offered me one, I suppose) and that they were in a rush, as there was a fresh delivery of comics coming. But, they added mournfully, there was hardly anyone about anyway ...
Having escaped from that weirdness, after signing two sets of trilogies for them, it was the real start of the day, the big Melbourne Dymocks at Collins St.
The people there were fantastic - an endless stream of them. I sold out within two hours and even sold a copy of Risen Queen to someone who desperately wanted a signed copy of something!
Then I met my friend Jason, a Melburnian who drove me around that town to the various bookstores. No doubt I drove him around the bend but it was great to have that help and support and it made things so much easier!
Day one finished at Victoria Gardens, a big shopping centre where the Dymocks has a Boost Juice outside the front. I thought that might cause all sorts of problems but actually brought extra people over, who could hear the spiel and got interested. Some of the highlights included a delightful Asian couple who wanted me to pose for pictures with them after buying Empire Of Bones, plus a bloke who hadn't read fantasy since David Gemmell died but who was delighted to hear that I write the best battle scenes since Gemmell and bought Wounded Guardian to celebrate!
Day two was four stores long and a tough one - kicking off at Glen Waverley. After a slow start we kicked into gear but I found it hard after a shocking encounter with an elderly gent. The clientele there were mostly senior and very well dressed. They were happy to respond to my usual question of "Do you like to read?" although fantasy wasn't their thing. Except for this well-dressed 60-something bloke who replied: "No, I only read pornos!"
It took me a few minutes to regain the composure after that ...!
After almost selling out there, I sold out both the Collins and Dymocks stores at Fountain Gate (Not Fountain Lakes, there was no Kath and Kim there) before heading down to Chelsea and fantasy store Notions Unlimited.
If you are in Melbourne and like fantasy or sci-fi or comics, then you need to go there. Owner Chuck has a stunning store and well worth a visit.
It was his 2nd birthday as well as a launch for Wall Of Spears and it was great to meet Chuck and his customers. It was also fantastic to meet the Ormsbys, who had driven an hour up from the south to chat. They run Satalyte Publishing, an independent publisher who is into steampunk, fantasy, sci-fi and more. Also worth checking out!
Day three of Melbourne kicked off at Knox Gardens (sold them out) then finished at Southlands (sold them out) where I ran into David, the fantastic manager of both Dymocks Southlands and Fountains Gate.
I even made it early to the airport - although Jetstar wanted $400+ for an earlier flight. I don't think so!
Saturday it was back in Sydney and first up was Dymocks Carlingford, where I ran into Michael, who decided to appoint himself my offsider for the day. Michael was about 13 and hanging around the shops while his mum worked at Fitness First. He loved the idea of the books, chatted to me in between customers - tried out the seat behind the desk that I never used - and was giving me thumbs-up for each sale and waves of encouragement. At the end, he offered me a $1.20 tip for the show and entertainment!
Next up was Dymocks Castle Hill, which was unbelievably busy. Almost too busy, and I was getting exhausted - not least by the 30 minutes it took to find a parking spot there! Still met some great people there, making it all worth it.
Sunday it was off to Dymocks Burwood, which was unbelievably good. Trilogies were flying out the door as people got particularly excited about Newtown Review Of Books giving Wall Of Spears a rave review through the week. (Newtown is just around the corner from Burwood). That was a great way to end a week where I racked up more than 250 sales.
Now for a little rest before I arrive at Brisbane ...!

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