20. The kindness of strangers

THIS WEEK I have been mostly throwing myself on the mercy of strangers. It’s all part of the self-publishing journey it seems.

While those writers with agents and traditional publishers can sit back and let them take the strain, for a nominal fee (only joking, authors, I know it isn’t like that), we Indie writers have to shout about our stuff from the rooftops in order to rouse sufficient interest in our products.

As part of my novel is set in Wales in the build-up to a rugby World Cup I’ve been getting in touch with bookshops, bloggers, tweeters, PR gurus and the like in a bid to raise awareness.

And I must say what a helpful bunch they are.

To be honest the response to my idea really looks like a winner in South Wales where a love of rugby appears to be compulsory rather than a mere life choice.

It’s meant a lot of hard work, reading up on the bookstores etc,sending out emails and logging responses, and has become a journey into my past, with relevant flashbacks.

Thinking about where I personally used to shop for books became a bit of a sentimental experience. While slumming it as a lodger with a friend in the Roath area of Cardiff, in the days before I could splash out on a washing machine, I used to make a journey once a week to Wellfield Road near the wonderful park to drop my washing in to the local Dot Cotton at the launderette.

Just across the road was a wonderful little place called The Wellfield bookshop which displayed their picks of the week on a prominent rack near the front of the store. Having looked there, I would then normally head straight for the fiction section, and it was exceedingly rare that I left without a purchase.

Though that was some time ago I was thrilled to discover this local establishment still going strong and, what’s more, when I sent them an email they expressed an interest in stocking my book. Result! I can just imagine one of the locals following in my footsteps, dragging along a binbag of washing behind them and taking respite in the welcoming arms of that book store, their eyes alighting on Crossing the Whitewash on the picks of the week shelf, and them leaving with their purchase tucked lovingly under their arm (a dream? Yes, but one step closer to reality).


After such positive feedback I started looking at articles about the success of the Indie bookshops and came across the Facebook page for Books & Pontyclun, another that seems to be thriving in the digital age.

Imagine my delight then when, after making contact, one of the owners, David, sent me a message saying: “We’d love to stock your book, and how about booking in for a signing event? We love supporting author events.”

Now I really am pinching myself. A book signing. I’d better make sure I’ve got enough spare pens, that could use up a lot of ink!

I’d better stop there before the excitement gets too much…

Next stop: Tweeters and bloggers.

  • To all those who signed up to my mailing list and want a chance to be one of my reviewers/commentors, thank you so much. I will be picking out the five successful candidates this evening after one last push. Stand by your beds!

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