Yorkshire Bookshop Tour Day 1

Bookshop image

It's been a month since I last blogged because I've been busy preparing for my week in Yorkshire, as well as travelling and doing my first Yorkshire book event.  And, now I'm back, I've decided to try something different.  I wanted to write about the bookshop tour but realising there's quite a bit to tell, I've decided to split my story into five chunks, one for each day of the tour.  I expect to release the chunks on alternate days. You can dip in and out as you like or just completely ignore me. Either way is fine! Hahaha! Actually, I'm joking! It isn't! Please read my blog!

And, please consider letting me know what you think. If there is something you wish I'd mentioned, or expected to see, leave a comment and I can hopefully adapt as I go along.

So, I spent last week in Yorkshire doing a bit of a bookshop tour. I returned to Glasgow at the weekend with fewer books and more germs (I brought a sore throat back with me). But I don’t mind about the germs because I had a really positive week. I set out with that difficult aim of having to promote myself and my work. (Urgh!) And, ahem, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Yet, most of the people I met were kind and charming. They were receptive to what I had to say. They were encouraging and complimentary. And many of them wanted to stock my book! The whole experience essentially gave me another confidence boost along my road towards self-belief as a writer.
I drove south at the start of the week armed with books (of course), my author talk kit (I was doing an author event on my old home ground on my day of arrival), a stack of publisher information sheets to hand to bookshop owners, a map of my intended routes and a notebook for logging progress, action points and contact details.

Clementine cat and Joopy rat biscuits, essentials of author talk kit!
Clementine cat and Joopy rat biscuits,essentials of author talk kit!

My map was ambitious. Far too ambitious as I discovered on day 1 of my bookshop tour when the assistant in the first shop I visited (in Filey) told me the owner wouldn’t be in until the next day and I realised I’d have to add an extra twenty-seven miles to my day 2 route. Nevertheless, smiling her encouragement, the assistant suggested a return visit might be worthwhile. I knew at that point, I wouldn't achieve as much as I hoped to on day 2 if I had to retrace my steps from day 1 but I felt that any positive reaction from bookshop people, no matter how small, needed my attention as my expectations for the week ahead were low. I'd heard how difficult other authors had found these kind of visits and if I ended my week with one single bookseller telling me they'd stock my book, I'd be delighted. So I hopped back into the car and drove north, feeling pretty good.

My next destination was a lovely little bookshop in Scarborough, situated in an antiquarian-style pedestrian lane. In fact, the lane had quite a Victorian feel and I thought, ooh, how appropriate this would be for my book with its part Victorian setting. Unfortunately, the shop was closed and the windows gave onto half-empty bookshelves and a dusty floor dotted with cardboard boxes. Sadly, it looked like a victim of online retail which was a real shame as it had seemed like a gem from the prior online research (forgive the irony) I’d done.

I'd paid for a couple of hours parking so I spent the time taking pictures of the Victorian Cliff Tram and then battling a severe gale walking from South to (almost) North Bay. The fresh air was invigorating and I didn't feel my trip was wasted although I gave up before I reached North Bay  because the wind was making a concerted effort to lift me off my feet and fling me over the wall onto the rocks.

I paid a short visit to WHS in Scarborough and found the book supervisor there incredibly supportive. She pencilled a date in her diary for me to do a book signing event there in June and gave me all sorts of helpful hints about how I might make a success of it!

Victorian Cliff Tram Scarborough
Victorian Cliff Tram Scarborough

It was late afternoon when I returned to the car and I had one more shop to visit before heading back to my sister’s in York for dinner. I arrived at Hoppers bookshop and stationers in Malton just as they were about to close. Luckily, the owner was still there and she was welcoming and interested. She liked the look of the book and said she'd search for it on the wholesaler's website with a view to placing an order. She could have it on the shelves by the end of the week and would call me the next day to update me. What a nice end to my first day that was.

All in all, I'd had a positive start to my tour, despite some minor disappointments. Presenting myself and my book to ‘shop people’ had felt relatively easy considering they had all been friendly and receptive. Perhaps my week wouldn’t be too arduous after all.

And I was having a good old 'jolly' along the way, visiting old haunts and getting some VERY fresh sea air! The only thing missing was my Scorkshire (Scottish-Yorkshire) family who would have enjoyed the views, the walks and the banter! Next time for them perhaps!

I hope to post about day 2 of my tour in a couple of days. So, please check back and let me know what you think! Until then. . .

Waves crashing against seawall between South and North Bay Scarborough
Waves crashing against seawall between South and North Bay Scarborough
Scarborough harbour
Scarborough harbour

8 thoughts on “Yorkshire Bookshop Tour Day 1”

  1. Oh Paula, your journey brings back happy memories touring the exact same area many years ago in our caravan when Graham was just a kid. Lots of quaint bookshops and you book will fit in perfectly in them. Well done!! Looking forward to reading the next episode……x

    1. Thank you, Pat. So kind of you to keep reading and delighted it’s evoking happy memories!

  2. Keep going Paula, your blog makes me want to visit x
    PS have you thought of visiting a high school?
    We occasionally invited authors to talk to various age groups throughout the day and give workshops to kids about writing and how to get into it. They usually buy some books as well as stock the library. Also I suppose that’s the age group you have aimed the book for! Just a thought

    1. Thanks, Micha. Your support is much appreciated. I’ll be posting again tomorrow, so thanks in advance for sticking with me. Yes, I’ve been thinking about schools. On my (long) to-do list, hahaha!

  3. Great blog and love your enthusiasm for a task most writers shy away from.
    Some lovely pics too!

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Sharon. It’s good of you to keep following and it makes it worthwhile if you feel the content is being enjoyed.

  4. Great start for you Paula and it all sounds very positive. The presentation was good with the pictures breaking up the pieces of text as the reader goes through your day with you.

    I will definitely read your next part of the tour.

    Irene Lebeter

    1. Thank you, Irene. Though daunting, it did turn out positively and it was great to meet so many friendly booksellers. They are a nice bunch for the most part. I hope you enjoy the rest of the journey.

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