Rich – It’s a controversial position, I know, but I’m one of the few people out there that fervently hope for dull, dismal, rainy weekends.
I should qualify that, I suppose. I fervently hope for dull, dismal, rainy weekends when I know I’m going to be spending Saturday and Sunday in bookstores (like I did this past weekend) trying to convince people to buy my books.
Though I do say so myself, I’ve become reasonably good at pitching Jaspa’s Journey over the last two years. Once I get people talking and listening they’re generally very interested, and I have a pretty high strike rate. But it doesn’t matter how good your patter is, if there’s no one in the store to listen to it!
I’ve done close to a hundred signing events (not including school visits and the like) since The Great Migration was published, but this weekend was my first in Ottawa. As you can imagine, I’ve been looking forward to getting as many books as possible into the hands of the good people of the nation’s capital.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature was in a fickle frame of mind. It poured down on Friday (and is raining even harder as I write this), but Saturday and Sunday both dawned sunny and warm. After long winters, like the one we’ve had in Ontario this year, a bit of sun seems to make people giddy. Temperatures reach double-figures and it’s out with shorts and BBQs as if lives depended on it. And this weekend Ottawa was celebrating the return of the sun!
For most people, when there’s sunshine to be enjoyed the bookstore can wait. It’s not like the books are going to go off, is it? As a consequence, on Saturday especially, numbers through the doors were a bit low. Unsurprisingly then, no personal sales records were broken this weekend. That said, perhaps my expectations have become over-inflated by my successes of recent months, because the stores themselves were more than happy with the numbers sold. And both invited me back, which is always nice! Even better, I met some really nice people, both customers and staff, who were really enthusiastic about Jaspa’s Journey, which was the main aim of events like these after all!
As an aside, about a month ago I visited four schools in the Kingston & Gananoque area. It should have been five, but the fifth got cancelled by the last snow day of the year, if you can imagine! The trip to Ottawa this weekend gave me an opportunity to put this right. So it was that on Friday I stopped off at Thousand Islands Elementary School in Lansdowne to introduce the children to the Serengeti, the Great Migration and Jaspa’s Journey. As always, I had a great time, and judging by the unending barrage of questions I had after my presentation, so did the children and staff. Thanks for having me!