You may remember that a while ago I was all in a flutter because one of our lovely local, independent bookshops in Cambridge – G David, on St Edward’s Passage in the middle of town – had agreed to stock “Fatal Forgery”. Well, feeling a bit like an encyclopaedia salesman, I called in there yesterday, book in hand, half-expecting them to have changed their minds. But Brian – for it was he – was charm itself. He looked at the book, read a few pages, inspected the cover – and said that he would stock three, no, six, no, ten, no, thirteen! Unlucky for some, but not for me! And he wanted them all signed, “for when you’re famous”. I went in again today, to hand over the further copies, and there was “Fatal Forgery”, at eye-level on the main desk, near the till, with a big label on it saying “Local Author – New Crime Novel”. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am.
And if that weren’t enough, I also chanced my arm in Heffers, which is our Cambridge university bookshop. I spoke to the lovely lady in charge of fiction (I believe that’s her official job title), and she was so welcoming. She said that I should be very proud of the look and feel of the book, and that she would take six on sale-or-return. Six! She’s going to put half in fiction and half in crime, and see where people find it most often. Top tips for others hoping to get self-published books into local bookshops: make sure your book has an ISBN (bookshop systems live and die by the ISBN), and get a professional cover design (I used this company, who were truly excellent) and use a proper template for the interior, so that it doesn’t look like something cobbled together on Word (I used this company – again, excellent). I’m sure that the fact that “Fatal Forgery” looks like something that a traditional publishing house might have produced has worked greatly in its favour.
I’ll keep you posted – I might just collapse with excitement if someone buys a copy from either shop.