Nothing ventured, nothing gained – is how the saying goes.
An interesting cliché – which I tend to rely on. Even, over rely on, perhaps?
Ultimately, used as the upside to a defeat and there are alternatives… Look on the bright side/there’s always a silver lining or better luck next time. But I prefer nothing ventured…
And so it proved this weekend.
Ever adaptable and vigilant for opportunities to sell my wares – my books, writing or my standing on stage and making people laugh – on Saturday, I headed to a comic book shop for an organised and well publicised signing of my book, Eclipsed – to be followed by a stand-up show later in the evening for the patrons of said comic shop.
What could possibly go wrong?
The two hour drive from my home took longer than expected courtesy of the monsoon that befell our beautiful green and pleasant land. But even so, ever punctual, I arrive on time. I get parked and I duck in to the shop (with, as things transpire, far too many books).
All authors – even very famous ones – have stories of nightmare book signings. Where they’ve arrived to a shop with great fanfare but no takers.
It isn’t just the lack of sales that stings, but more so the embarrassment.
Particularly for me in a comic shop – sitting behind a desk with a pile of books, whilst middle aged men – often overweight and wearing black mooch through shelves laden with figurines.
I should have known really. The clue being that this is a comic shop. And patrons who read comics are unlikely to be interested in my books.
But hey, nothing ventured…
3 hours later and 4 books sold, I am chilled to the bone and in dire need of sustenance, warmth and a pep talk. The shop proprietor is boundlessly happy, however and explains that the show this evening will be a belter.
I smile and get on my way to a café which needs to be comfortable because I have three (further) hours to kill.
But, ever the opportunist, to be fair I have used my down-time in the shop wisely. Suspecting a lack of takers, I thought to bring my laptop with me and I make great progress with the updating of Open Links – my fourth novel – which I published some years ago – with all the proceeds going to Anthony Nolan – the charity presiding over the largest bone marrow tissue register in the UK – for people with blood cancers.
Our plan is to republish the updated book and publish it via The Brothers Trust – reasoning that our reach now is bigger than even a large charity like Anthony Nolan. And we have some interesting ideas for promotion – including, a number of random books being signed by the four brothers – although nothing firmed up as yet – and of course, two said brothers (including the main one) are away at present.
But to end this short post – back to my forlorn and soggy Saturday.
I found a nice restaurant on the pretty square in the town. A lovely Polish girl seats me and a Hungarian man with impeccable manners takes my order. Genuinely interested in people, fairly regularly I run the risk of appearing ‘racist’ by asking from where people hail.
The food is excellent – the place is quiet and I make even more progress on updating my novel. My belly is full. Just a few chapters to go, now. I am warm. My disastrous book signing is confined to history – and feeling funny, I have a gig that I am going to smash. Maybe I will finally give an airing to a new routine I am excited to try…
Still raining and driving back from the train station where I have met and retrieved, Mike Cappozola – my support act for the gig, I share my disappointing afternoon with my friend and how the gig cannot possibly be any worse.
On to the A34 – according to my sat-nav, a mere 10 miles from the venue – (22 mins) – we come to a complete stop on the dual carriageway. Quickly, traffic backs up behind us and shortly, emergency vehicles with flashing lights are squeezing past us all.
It is 7.15 pm. Pitch black, raining hard and somewhere ahead is an accident and a gig that we need to get to.
We sit there until 11.15 pm.
A mere 4 hours later we begin moving but not to the gig which has been cancelled long ago. I return Mike to the station for his 11.50pm train to Central London whereupon I head home – arriving at 2am – cold and with spirits dented.
Nothing ventured… feels distinctly inadequate.
Sam is still up and has a couple of mates with him. And Paddy too. What’s the occasion I wonder and enquire?
They are waiting for a big fight on TV.
Oh, who? Which fighters? Anyone I might have heard of perhaps?
Two, you-tubers, in fact!
How is you-tuber even a noun?
Two young men who are proficient with technology – having a fight in LA and my boys – and presumably millions of others like them are forfeiting a night’s sleep to watch it.
Naturally, I don’t join them. I am cold, tired and already vanquished and watching two nerds or neeks or geeks fighting is unlikely to help very much.
I write this post on Monday morning with Open Links now fully updated and completed – in large part because I wasn’t distracted signing copies of Eclipsed.
A lack of sales I can live with, therefore – a silver lining then!
Open Links coming very soon via The Brothers Trust. A novel that contributes to a cause that saves lives – and with this, another cliché to end…
What’s not to like?
OPEN LINKS – is no longer available on Amazon or elsewhere – but will be available shortly and exclusively via thebrotherstrust.org