After wandering into Foyles about once a week to check whether my books had sold (and always finding the copies tucked away, hidden from view, behind another similar sized book in the Nobrow small press shelf), I had an email from of the staff at Foyles, incidentally the person I first spoke to when I approached them about stocking a few of my books for sale. He had read through my book and thought it deserved to have some commercial success, most importantly, he enjoyed it and it was one of the very rare nuggets of feedback I’d ever received from someone I didn’t actually know as a friend. He said he’d write a staff review for my book and this is what it said:
“Painting Stories takes paintings by well known artists and
constructs short graphic stories around them. The stories
are beautifully written, stylish, dialogue-based tales drawn
in an elegant noir style. Like the paintings they are inspired
by, these stories have a kind of magic to them that makes
one want to return to them again. A highly accomplished
debut graphic novel.”
I don’t actually know where to even find the little review in the shop, but he told me that a copy went almost immediately after the review went up. So, thank you so much, Patrick, for a really invaluable helping hand! Seeing how slowly these books go, and how rarely they even attract attention, is discouraging me from working wholeheartedly on my second book. I think a big problem may be that people have preconceptions about the book when they read the blurb on the back cover, and unless they give it a chance and actually read a story or two, they will just find numerous reasons to dismiss it – I know the cover isn’t attractive and the production quality is amateurish at best; I’m still a bit disappointed with the glossy pages.
So.. on to book sales. My copies at Orbital Comics still haven’t shifted and the staff member I spoke to there was the least enthusiastic about my book, suggesting that I should move it on if it didn’t sell within 3 months. Well, I returned a week or so later and discovered my book had been put in a really inconspicuous bottom shelf, it took me more than 10 minutes to actually spot it in the little room even though I was actively looking out for it. No one would ever find it in there – it didn’t even look like the small press section was well-patronised anyway because the room was usually empty whenever I was there. So I expect to be collecting my books at the end of summer. Gosh Comics on the other hand, gave it a fairly prominent position on their small press shelf near the window. I sold my first copies there fairly quickly, possibly after the publicity of Comiket, but subsequently, sales have stalled there too… And Foyles, dear Foyles, in which I had placed so much hope… well, we will see if the review succeeds in shifting any books!