My Welsh Waterstones Tour - Stop 1: Aberystwyth
until, at last, we reached the coastal plains of the Dovey
and ten minutes later the old station of Aberystwyth.
The buildings are washed with colours that manage to be both cheerful and dignified
while chapels are of the tabernacle style with pillars, elevated and with a confident importance.
The main street's bustle
gives way to a quiet side street and a sudden hush. At the end an apparently grandiose buidling
turns out to be only one room deep
facing the sea.
But I'd come to sign books, and from the cross-roads I'd detected it: the white W on black
and closer still
and then the bill-board with Simon's poster.
From across the street it looks like this
the window to the left displaying local books
The Waterstones booksellers in Aberystwyth were very good and had everything ready: a cloth covered table and a little pile of my books near the front of the shop.
The manageress showed me a useful magazine article she'd come across book signing and gave me a cup of coffee. I then deposited my bag in the office at the back (always of interest to me - the innards not on public show) and then came out to find Vicky Humphreys from Seren, back to her home town for the weekend - such a pleasure to see a familiar friendly face - and who took this picture.
It took me a little time to summon up courage to speak to people. In the end I decided the best line was 'Please could I tell you a little about my book...' and people were generally kind (except one man who just bluntly replied 'No.'). Several politely watched my films (although the 3 minutes seemed to take so much longer in a shop) and a few people asked me to sign my book and bought a copy (which delighted me to a ridiculous extent). I also managed to sell one of Paul Murray's Skippy Dies to a woman who was looking for an amusing read, which in turn wryly amused me.
I have learnt a little from this: (i) although I did notify the local newspaper I did not get a reply - I need to try a little harder, and maybe follow-up with a phone call; (ii) a card I could stand up with a little about the book and a quote might work well (this was Vicky's idea); and maybe (iii) a set of book marks or flyers might be a good investment; (iv) I need to be braver and approach more people (and not wait for eye-contact).