And just when you think you are getting on top of the situation, someone has to come along and put a spoke in our wheel; in our case it was Judith! A week ago she had spotted an advert for our local amateur opera group’s annual fair and car boot sale, so after consulting with moi she sent off an email asking if it would be appropriate for us to book a stall to promote our book. After a week without reply we believed it was not going to happen, but on the Thursday night – 10 days before the event – a reply was received welcoming us to attend. All we had to do was complete and return a form and the lady would ring us back to take payment: no problem. If only life was that simple; don’t know about you, but ours never is. I only have Libre Office on my dear old mistress (Judith’s term for my elderly laptop), so opening the form it automatically got converted to an .odt extension, but the organiser was not able to open it at her end and asked Judith just to to email her the details. Then late on Friday evening Judith noted an email from the lady stating she had been trying to ring her, however there were no ‘missed calls’ on her phone. Long story short, Judith had ‘fat thumbed’ her number and got a digit wrong. Payment would have to wait until after the weekend.
It was time for another list; what did we need for a stall to promote our book? The book would be a start, but we are several months away from that happening, though we do have the latest, not signed off, version of our cover. It will have to do. We have a large Cornish flag (we fly it home during the summer, plus every time we camp) and about a dozen table top Cornish flags – over the years we have organised several Cornish themed social nights at various clubs we have been members of. The kitchen table is temporarily converted into our ‘stall’ whilst we dress it with the flag and a table cloth and have a think about what we need to put on it. We have several sailing trophies from Mounts Bay and Penzance sailing clubs that make ideal decorations and of course are relevant to the book, as is a picture of us in our dinghy at the 1994 Osprey National championships, held at Mounts Bay. We also remove a picture of an invoice for a second hand wet suit from the living room wall; it is of high significance to our story and we feel will make for a good talking point if anyone notices it, but as is traditional in all good yarns, if we tell anyone what that significance is, we will have to kill them. Can’t have any book spoilers getting out into the world!
We decide upon a bribe - Tesco’s currently have a promotion on tins of chocolates – visitors to the stall may have a sweetie in exchange for taking away one of our flyers. Ah, the flyers; they need updating and printing off - this book is killing our printer. Decide also to print off a few copies of the poem, book blurb and the Publishers review of our manuscript and, abracadabra, that’s the table sorted. Now our thoughts turn to a notice board; we had been mulling over purchasing a ‘roller banner’ but time is too short to organise that, so being the imaginative inventive people we are, we raid our nieces garage for a sheet of off cut chip board, buy some paint from the local pound shop and print off (onto photographic paper) various pictures from our life that are relevant to the book. These will, hopefully, make for talking points to engage people in conversation with us with the ultimate aim of them taking away a flyer and following us on Instagram. One last thing to organise; was there anywhere locally we could get two tee shirts printed off? The simple answer turned out to be yes, but only after three hours of crawling the internet and making lots of telephone calls on the Tuesday morning. Turns out yellow tee shirts, especially fitted ladies ones, are in high demand at the moment and stock is short (or in many cases, non-existent). By Wednesday, we were ready for the event with just the tee shirts to pick up on Friday morning. Good job really, as Judith was meeting a friend for lunch on Wednesday, we had a joint dental appointment on Thursday morning followed by a visit to see her mum (sadly, in a nursing home) and then on to Aldi to do the weekly shop. As stated, Friday morning we had to go and pick up the tee shirts; Friday afternoon we had a nanny nap in the sun because we were due to be out at a gig Friday evening.
It has to be said that there are still nice people out there in this turbulent world that we live in, although sometimes when watching the news it does not seem that way. Whilst sat outside at the pub to have an after lunch coffee, Judith was showing her friend the latest version of our book cover and a few other bits and pieces. When Emma arrived with the coffees she noticed the cover and asked what it was; Judith filled her in, Emma said “How exciting” and went back inside. Five minutes later she returned with an unrequested dessert with the words “Congratulations On Your Book” written around the edge of the plate. How lovely was that gesture? It made Judith’s day.
And so to Friday night; what a night it turned out to be. A band we recently discovered, ‘Lesbian Bed Death’ were playing a double headliner gig with a band called ‘Krow’, a band we knew nothing about. We always turn up to watch support bands (technically Krow were not a support band, they were just on first) as over the years we have discovered some fantastic bands by doing so. In this case, we were blown away; the band consist of seven women and they were brilliant. Go to www.krowofficial.com to find out more if you are interested. LBD were good, but not in Krow’s league, though we will happily watch both bands again when we get the chance.
Saturday afternoon was all about supporting our local non-league football team, calling in at Judith’s dad’s for lunch before making our way to the game. It was a good game; our team just lacked bite in the area that matters i.e. scoring goals and lost the match 0-1.
Then of course, we had our promotional day at the fair on Sunday. We were excited and nervous at the same time, and definitely ‘out of our comfort zone’. Considering how quickly we put it all together, we thought our stall looked good: it was certainly bright and colourful. At first we did not think we were in a very good spot, but then realised the toilets were up a staircase just by us and that proved to help in getting footfall past our stall. All the other stalls in the room were selling ‘wares’, we were just selling ourselves! Nerves were quickly forgotten as we engaged visitors in conversation and gave out flyers whilst explaining what the book was about. My beautiful Judith went even further outside her comfort zone by picking up a wad of flyers, then going outside to try and engage with the visitors there (where there was a car boot sale, classic car club display, live music, dog show arena and many other stalls). She soon came back for more flyers and informed me she had met a lady who had already had a book published and had many horror stories to tell about the process. Noooooo, we do not want to hear that! Did I mention that she also came back with a rather nice ‘rock chick’ handbag? There is not a car boot sale in the world where my Judith can’t spot a bargain.
It was a brilliant day, one where we realised we can ‘sell’ ourselves and will do so again if we can find the right event. It was so lovely being able to speak to so many lovely people and we came home tired, but happy. The icing on the cake was that within an hour of returning home we had an extra follower on Instagram, a young woman who also offered us her editing services should we need them in the future. Win, win, me thinks. I will end today's musings with a note to myself; however many flyers you think you need, double that number as a minimum. We were at the fair from 10 till 4 and all the flyers had gone by 12.30!