I usually try to keep this blog fairly optimistic, and indeed I generally find writing the Plank books and marketing them to be a great and enjoyable adventure. But I did promise to be honest about the ups and downs of self-publishing, and today we’re down.
For over a year now I have been wooing a potential new high street outlet for paperback Sam, here in Cambridge. I have been in to see the manager on at least half a dozen occasions, I’ve given him copies of “Fatal Forgery”, “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat” and (on the day it was published) “Worm in the Blossom”. He was very encouraging, but said that he would have to get permission from head office as his branch is part of a (very large, countrywide) chain. In December 2015 he said that he had that permission, and I should come in this week – after the festive chaos and once things were back to normal – to arrange the taking into stock of quite a lot of copies. He talked of a whole shelf dedicated to Sam, with the “local author” slant heavily promoted, and copies even showing face out (a big deal in the bookshop world, as you can imagine). I was quietly jubilant, but did not tell anyone, being a bit superstitious like that. The manager and I arranged a meeting for this morning. I pedalled off – in the sleet, I might add – and when I arrived, he was not there. Not only not there, but no longer employed by the business. As of yesterday. I was literally speechless.
So what to do next? Start again with his replacement and hope that they are of the same mind? Or give it up as a bad job and try somewhere else? Just right now, I have treated myself to a jam doughnut and this confessional blog post. I’ll probably be a bit grumpy for the rest of the day, and then get over it. Ho hum. I bet this never happens to JK Rowling.