A whole range of circumstances had to come together for what happened on Monday afternoon…
I got up late and thought about not bothering going to my favourite cafe to work, but decided I would after all. It was a Bank Holiday, so Dave joined me around lunchtime and we shared a joint focus session for the rest of the afternoon. He had brought a sign he’d made (and several copies of The Defiant Spark), which he wanted me to put out on the table, advertising that I was a local sci-fi/fantasy writer, and offering copies of my novel for sale. I refused to let him put it up (it felt really weird) and just got on with my work for the day. I finished before him, so I was reading the latest Delayed Gratification when a group of three men came in and were seated at the table just behind me…
One of the men apologised for disturbing me, but wanted to know what ‘slow journalism’ was – my magazine was open to the page where that was the heading – so I explained it to him.
And then this exchange took place:
Him: Are you a journalist?
Me: No, but I am a writer.
Him: Oh, what do you write?
Dave whips the sign out his bag and thrusts it in the guy’s face.
Him: Do you know [names one of my all-time favourite movies]?
Me: Yes, it’s one of my all-time favourite movies!
Him: Really? I wrote it.
I do my best impression of a goldfish.
Him: Where can I get a copy of your book?
Dave whips a copy out of his bag and thrusts it in the guy’s face.
Him: Oh, wonderful! I’ll buy it right now. Will you sign it for me?
I’m still doing my best impression of a goldfish…
We ended up having an extensive discussion about our respective writing careers, his friend looked me up online and they promised to order a copy of Spectrum later on. The guy gave me his email address and said I should drop him a line ‘if I want him to bother me about writing a lot’…
So, it just goes to show you should always have the wherewithal to promote your writing to random strangers in cafes! Maybe I should take Dave’s sign with me next time I go there, and set it up on my table with a pile of books after all…