Tuesday, October 14, 2008

John Stiles Sales Sensation!

We have now sold two copies - count them - that's TWO (2) copies of the excellent taking the stairs by the soon to be super star author John Stiles from our Lower Marsh shop.

John if you are reading this, or if someone you know reads this (does anybody still read this?) then can we have some more? I need a stack to make a splash in our Chelsea shop.

Man, I am going to recommend your book.

I am going to press it into the gold and diamond dusted hands of the rich and famous.

I am going to persuade hopeless and homeless drink and drug addicts and ex-lepers (bloody Jesus!) to spend their hard begged cash on your book.

I sincerely hope my rabid enthusiasm does not administer the last kicks that put your literary career into a coma.

We've had a couple of hits over the years...

The Journey of an Award-winning Novel

The progress of “What Was Lost” has been incredible to watch. For a small, independently published, debut novel to be nominated for most of the major prizes is phenomenal. I was reading on Eve’s Alexandria about the journey the book had undertaken with the support of Crockatt and Powell and the blogosphere. Could you tell us a bit more about how that all happened (and big up book blogs a bit for us too while you are at it!).

My agent, Lucy Luck, deserves full credit for Crockatt and Powell’s early involvement with the book. She recommended the bookshop as the venue for the London launch and I’m so glad that she did. I was fairly terrified at the prospect of a London launch, and the image I had of independent booksellers (sadly having virtually no models in Birmingham on which to base my preconceptions) only added to the terror. I’m not sure what I had in mind, but Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady was somewhere in the mix. Instead I found Matthew and Adam who wanted to talk about the Stone Roses and share customer anecdotes.

Their support and enthusiasm for the book from that early stage was amazing. They run a great bookshop. They love books and can talk about them with love but without pretension and they are more interested in serving their customers than the empty gestures of ‘customer service’. Because of these things, people respect their opinions. Through the C and P blog, through word of mouth and other mysterious means other excellent booksellers like Wenlock Books and The Bookseller Crow on the Hill picked up on the book, as of course did literary blogs.

Everyone knows how easy it is for a book to sink without trace if it doesn’t have a big marketing budget behind it or if it fails to make the chain store promotions. Literary bloggers who seek out books, who see beyond the big promotions and who can then write clearly and honestly about those books and enthuse other readers about them are a powerful antidote to that. I sense I’m preaching to the converted here, but as Chuck D once said (it’s possible he wasn’t writing about independent booksellers and literary blogs - but I’m sure he’d extend the sentiment): ‘we got to fight the powers that be’.


  1. I bought one of the copies- will tell you what I think it once I've finished it- ie if you interested! :o)


  2. I am just commenting to let you know people are still reading this, lol.

  3. Shannon,

    Curses! And we thought we were successfully killing it off!