Hello lovely ladies of Leeds!

Mmm!! Quite a nice bit of alliteration there in above title! Told my husband and kids that I was going to spend the afternoon outside Waterstones in Leeds flogging my book.

‘But you haven’t got a book,’ said perplexed husband. ‘You’ve got an ebook up on Amazon – how the hell are you going to sell it without it physically in front of you?’

‘There are ways and means,’ I said, loftily. But he did have a point.

Decided to get the train and do my bit towards saving the environment at the same time. Just a cunning plan, really, to avoid knackering my car bumper once more as you ascend dizzily in Leeds city centre car parks only to find the very last space in the corner on the top floor has just been taken and you then have to descend again and find yourself back out onto the main road. Anyway, couldn’t for the life of me remember where Waterstones was in Leeds but had a very nice time via the new Trinity Shopping Centre and Starbucks trying to find it. Was actually putting off the moment when I would have to stand outside the bookstore, flyers in hand, and actually talk to people.

Albion Street. Of course. Positioned myself between the two doors on the pavement outside Waterstones and tried to look incredibly welcoming. Just looked incredibly suspicious. Reminded me of trying to take the dive at the school swimming baths, aged nine, which would move me up from “Learners” to “Elementary” swimming certificate – does anyone else remember those – and failing miserably.  When I finally did dive in (almost literally –the poor woman took a hurried step back)  and made myself accost a woman coming out of the store, I found that I’d turned from a confident mother, teacher and author into a guinea-pig: a squeak amazingly like that uttered by my childhood pet hung in the air.

‘I’m sorry?’ she said, totally baffled as I squeaked about Kindles, best sellers and ‘wouldyoupleaseliketotakealookatmynoveluponkindleanddoingreallywellatthemoment?’

‘Oh, kindles? Yes they do sell them now in Waterstones. Just over there on the right.’ And walked off.

Decided to make friends with The Big Issue man and his dog who’d been looking on with great sympathy. (The dog, that is, not the Big Issue Man himself.) After that, as they say in the song, Things Can Only Get Better. And they did. Had some lovely chats with lovely ladies – and husbands too who also said they’d download it. Two and a half hours later I’d offloaded thirty fliers, received two hugs, sympathised with several women over their own little ‘loss of passion’ and ‘bastard husbands,’ been scrutinised by several suspicious Waterstones’ staff  and become new best friends with both the dog and the Big Issue man himself.

Husband and daughter came to rescue me and bought me tea in Giraffe –which I can highly recommend – in the new Trinity Centre. Shattered, and with the beginnings of a headache, the glass of rose – still imagined myself on my hols in Spain – went down very nicely indeed.

Barnsley and Doncaster, next week, methinks!

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