I’ve been thinking about Mostly Books ever since I typed ‘sell my novel’ into Google (it came up with 15,500,000 sites so I don’t know now how I happened upon Mostly Books, but I am so glad I did). Because I discovered that Mark Thornton at Mostly Books runs a course which gently explains to writers how (and how not) to persuade a bookseller to stock a book. (I just missed the course he ran at the end of June, but he’s coming to talk to the Society of Authors this week on the same subject so I shall be listening extremely carefully.) I sent him a – probably quite ridiculous – email suggesting that he stock SPEAKING of LOVE to which he, quite rightly, has never replied. I’m sure I made every mistake in the book(shop), so I’m looking forward to finding out what he suggests. (And, yes, just because a book is published – in my case by the wonderful indie publisher Beautiful Books – it doesn’t mean that the writer can hand over responsibility for sales of her book. There’s lots she can do.)
Anyway, today I’m thinking about Mostly Books because of the floods. The bookshop is in Abingdon and the waters are rising. According to Mostly Books’s blog they’re moving books from the lower shelves, so keep your fingers crossed for them.
And yes, I did write today. And I didn’t start this blog until I had written. Hurrah! It was JB Priestley, I think, who when asked what he liked about writing, said, ‘Having written.’ He’s right. It’s a wonderful feeling, as long as you remain reasonably confident that what you’ve written is not one hundred miles in the opposite direction from the one you intended to write in; or at least that it remains so until the next time you pick up your pen/turn on your computer. I feel, though, a little as if I’m cheating because I am writing a short story which, until January, I had thought was a novel. But when I realised, as William Trevor said, that I had the ‘art of the glimpse’ in my hands and not the whole shebang I stopped writing the what-was-a-novel and, recently, I began turning it into the short story that it really is. This means I know what to leave out and the struggle of finding my material is (more or less) over.
I should be thankful. I know I should.