Well, that went amazingly well!
I fully attribute this to the use of the sign you see above, sitting in an empty box where copies of I Capture The Castle used to be.
My pitch, a slightly reedy call of “Free Book for World Book Night! Just a book, no obligations, just a book!” Sometimes adding, “just run and grab a copy if you’re too shy!” While I used the sign for emphasis.
The worst I had was a scowl from a handful of people. That I expected. Most people smiled, even as they walked right by. But then there were the best people – the people who were going to walk on by, who shyly changed their minds, rushed back and grabbed one, smiling just a little.
And the one younger woman, who was not a native English speaker, who started talking to me about the power of stories and how she hopes my book will get published (a surprising number of people thought I was giving away my own book, which I found funny).
And the older couple with their grown up child, who also all seemed unconvinced, then when I explained it was a charity event comprised by volunteers and going on across the UK, who smiled at me. The woman saying, “thank you, for standing out here doing this.”
And the group of Spanish people, who seemed to decide to take it on hearing World Book Night was partly about celebrating the birthday of Cervantes (Shakespeare too).
And the woman who looked so, so wide-eyed and pleased when I gave her a copy, and said “you’ve made my day, you really have.”
And the last recipient of the book, who wanted to help me by taking the final copy in that box. Who wasn’t, he said, a reader, but this would spur him to give it a go. I said, this book is funny, and sweet, and dry, I think you’ll like it. I thanked him profusely. I thank him again, and all of the people who were open to a free book. Open to the idea of reading something a stranger gives them with a clumsy recommendation of how good it is.
Also thanks to Tess of The Loch Tess Monster who came all the way out to visit me, though by the time she got there, the books had all vanished. I think I managed it in under fifty minutes!
Faith in humanity restored. What also helps perhaps is the Scottish love of all things free – but as you can see, things were quite international, so it can’t be explained away so easily.
Bring on next year!