So . . . this is what I did . . .
I’d decided, in my infinite wisdom, to take my wares to the wider public. This took the form of yours truly booking a country fair and a village craft fair to sell my children’s books.
I made up a few packs with other crafted bits and bobs, namely, colouring sheets and crayons, colouring shapes and crayons and swing labels – all characters from the Bucket Head the Scarecrow book. Richard also kindly made me some fridge magnets based on the same characters.
Armed with all of the above we set off.
First impressions of the country fair set-up were encouraging. A lovely green field situated at the side of a country church, the one, by the way, where generations of my family are buried, including the ashes of my parents. This was strangely comforting, like I was amongst family. I guess I was, even if they were all dust. I digress . . .
Richard help me set up – he never stays. He hates the things, saying that he thinks he puts people off. This may be true. There are times when I think he puts people off – especially me. He toddled off to the car with a few cakes and a Land Rover magazine and settled in for the duration. He had his phone handy so that he could pop back if I rang to say that I needed the loo, but as it happened I didn’t need to disturb him because the lady next to me looked after the stall for me when I took a trudge to the toilet cubicle.
After about an hour, and just before the fair opened, a migraine kicked in – and the wind started rattling the tent flaps and a few stall holders had to run after their produce that was fast racing towards the head stones. I anchored down Bucket Head, took two paracetamol with caffeine, and waited for the promised thousands.
They did, in fact, arrive, BUT 50% of the promised thousands only came for the dog show and another 30% only came for the kiddie rides, which left, by my reckoning, 20% of visitors who trickled round the craft tent.
No worries. The caffeine had kicked in a bit (I don’t drink coffee and so the slightest sniff of caffeine bucks me up no end) so I crept out from behind the stall and attempted to be nice. This I find extremely difficult. I’m a practising recluse in real life and so ‘talking-up’ my books doesn’t come easy and consequently my expression looks more like a grimace than a smile. After a while the pinned-on smile actually hurts my face and I’m a hair’s breadth from giving it a hard slap to make it work properly. I think this may put off one or two people – especially the protective mother brigade. Talking of which . . .
This lovely couple approached and she picked up the Bucket Head book. I applied the smile and dived in. I mean, how hard could it be? Other people can hold nonsensical conversations and thereby secure sales. I could see that she was heavily pregnant and she wore that ‘today’ style of a short top ending at the top of her bump. Her husband smiled lovingly at her as she flipped through the book and I blurted, ‘Oh, yes! You are definitely going to be needing that book – I can see that.’ I nodded and grinned at baby bump.
She didn’t raise her eyes from the book and calmly said, ‘No, I’m starting a teacher training course next month. No babies for me for a few years.’
She closed the book, replaced it, smiled, and walked away.
How the hell was I to know that she was just overweight? You can’t win them all, and anyway, she shouldn’t walk around with her rotund belly exposed. I’m not a bloody mind reader . . . and frankly I’m an even worse seller-of-books. Also, I have to admit to my faux pas not being rarities. I’ve made some blinders in my time. Far too embarrassing to mention here.
The other stall holders were very disappointed with their takings for the day, well, all except the man in the corner selling 3D notebooks and cards because I bought loads for Jake and Grace! Richard appeared at packing up time and we cleared off home with me promising, in my own mind, that I would NEVER . . . EVER do another stupid fair.
Last Saturday I went to another.
It was already booked – as I mentioned at the start. This time I produced my ‘secret weapon,’ in the form of Jake, my grandson.
I’m pretty sure that people don’t like the look of me. I think I look unapproachable. Jake, on the other hand, does not look unapproachable. He looks adorable. His little face beamed through the display and there was no choice but to speak to him and then off he went . . .’I’ve read both of my grandma’s books. I like Bucket Head the best. It’s really good – and she did all the illustrations herself.’
In fact, although this fair still hasn’t made me a ‘famous author’ it did provide me with some sales, a lovely, permanent memory of Jake’s total enthusiasm and support and . . . it was only three hours in duration. . . AND there were no half-naked, fat bellied woman . . . so, win win, hey?
I may wait until a bit nearer to Christmas before I ‘do’ another. It’ll take that long for my face to stop aching but I WILL BE BACK, and hopefully I’ll be back with my little secret weapon.
Take care x