Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Book Signing at W H Smith, Croydon.

I must admit I am not confident about these events, but feel I am letting myself down if I don't go through the promotion processes. Strangely enough, once I get to my seat, behind that table, stacked with new-smelling copies of my most recent offering, I am full of enthusiasm and ready to go. This was the case again last Saturday.

   The manager at W H Smith, Whitgift Centre, Croydon, was incredibly helpful and kind. So was his assistant, Sara. To begin with, I didn't expect to even gain access to him. The last time, three years ago, with my first novel, I had to practically door-step to get to the assistant. I never saw the manager. I met instead a beautiful, young woman, called Ama who looked after me. She died last week, I am told, unexpectedly' and no one knows why. The unpredictability of human existence! I think of what her family must go through for a long time from now and have no words to make it easier. It cannot be made easier.

   This time, there was this wonderfully kind man, Nick, the manager, who had time to talk about book sales and indeed taught me a great deal about the process. He made it all sound simple. Sara organised the 'table, got posters up, pointed to essentials like loos and offered to help if I needed anything. I think I would have been happy even if not a single book got sold.

   I carried my flask of tepid tea and my cheese and ham sandwiches. A friend rushed off and got me a bottle of water. My daughter had already taken the books in on Thursday. I was ready to roll. My friend Tommaso was ready with his camera to take the photos, like the ones in this blog.

   'Are you good at talking to the people who come by?' the manager asked. If I wasn't up to  it then, I was going to be now. I thought of all the African countries I had worked in and all the tight situations, travelling, I had to get out of, (like the time, British Airways dumped a whole plane load of people like me in Banjoul, refusing to go further because airport fees had not been paid. I had to sweet talk the local porters to load my luggage into the small planes provided to ferry us to Freetown, where all of us were going.')

   So when the punters walked by and slowed down past me, I smiled my best smile, and gave them the spiel. Occasionally, when I saw someone who could not afford the money right then, I felt like giving them the book, with a hug. But I was not in charge of the buying and selling and let it go. 

   My daughter had taken thirty books in and twenty-six went that day. Smith offered to display my book on their shelves - what more could I ask? Last time I sold four, and three were bought by my son's friend, Jerry, bless him.

   My friends - my son's friends - bought many for Christmas presents. I suspect a Bulgarian and an Italian friend will have to search hard to find people to give them to, who actually read English fiction out of choice. Ah - well.

   Makes me think: I shall start my next book in earnest today. Seems worth while. I am thinking well. Thank you all - book-buyers, W H Smith, Raghu's friends, family. What a day! 

   

2 comments:

  1. well done and congrats on the book sale!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I feel encouraged to start writing again. Will start posting it as I go.

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