11.45: I’ve laid out minties on the table but the shoppers are wary. I can see them looking at me thinking ‘Who is that woman surrounded by chesticles?’
11.46: Oooh-oh, a guy just stopped to look but then moved away with frowny face. Come back, sir, I’ll give you all the chesticles!
11.50: I feel like those photographers who wait in a lair to take photographs of pandas having sex. Instead I’m waiting to pounce on anyone who touches my book.
11.55: On the Top Ten books display shelf is a book on smoothies. Just how hard is it to make a smoothie?
12.00: I succumb to my own Minties and hope that no one will come up for a conversation. Otherwise I’ll have to spit out the Mintie at their feet to say, ‘well, this book is about two guarded recluses who fall in love’
12.15: A-ha, a child lured to my signing table by the Minties. I said he could have one and tried to slip my book in his mum’s handbag.
12.30: A guy just took one of my Minties without even looking at my book. Dude! Feign interest!
12.40: Some guy has been staring at my book on the shelf for a loooong time. Is he reading the dirteh parts?
12.45: Elderly man approaching my desk rears back when I made eye contact and goes to inspect my book on the stand at a safe distance from me. Perhaps he’s worried I’ll think that he shouldn’t be lured by the man titty cover, but I’m the last person to judge.
12.50: A lovely Irish lady just stopped to say congratulations. I almost gave her a book for free just because she was nice.
1pm: Old guy just picked up my novel and said ‘how did you get my picture?’ Oh, I’ve heard that joke so many times now! I was tempted to whisper ‘go on, buy it for the filth’. But when he said he only reads military and crime, well…
1.05: A sideways look from a young adult male at my banner. That’s okay, mate, Stein can’t help it if his chesticles are better than yours.
1.10: A lady on her own was lured by Stein’s chesticles but wandered away to Subway. Must be hungry for something other than man meat. Though maybe Subway serves man meat. Who knows?
1.15: My wood chair is getting a little uncomfortable. I think arse bunions may be forming. Can I claim that as a tax deduction? Arse bunion removal for arse bunions incurred at book signing.
1.20: I am considering a stunt double for my next signing. Someone with chesticles like Stein’s. And he’ll have to sign shirtless. Actually, I wonder what it would cost to hire a male stripper for two hours to sign books for me. It’s prolly been done before. Another interesting potential tax deduction.
1.25: Uh-oh, a crying child. Should I offer them a free copy of my dirty book? That’d stop me from crying. But mum might bitch-slap me with a hardcover. Though if I have to die, I want it to be by hardcover.
1.30: A woman just looked longingly at my nipples. Those on my book cover, I mean.
1.35: Oooooh, someone just picked my book up off the display. A young, red-haired lass. But her boyfriend dragged her away. Boo, hiss. And he dragged her to the bargain table. Tight-wad!
1.40: Just realized no one has paused to lick my giant chesticle banner yet. Canberrans are so restrained.
1.45: If The Girl on the Train is selling as urban noir, maybe I need my own genre for marketing purposes. How about man-titty fiction? Journalists need to write about it and then I could explain the concept on Sunrise. Or I could write a how-to book on the genre of man-titty fiction. Then I could call myself a ‘man-titty fiction expert’. Man-titty expert Rhyll Biest says that every time a reader fails to buy a man-titty book, a man-nipple dies. As an expert, I could offer a free nipple reading with each book sold.
1.50: Oi, people pretending to look at the discount literary classics, come and buy a dirty book instead! There’s no free Minties with the classics, only with my smutty novel!
1.55: Okay, only ten more minutes to go. My buttocks are screaming but I can go ten more minutes for Stein!
2.05: And I’m outta here!
In summary, did I sell a shit-ton of books? No, and I knew that I wouldn’t (though I was pretty excited to sell 10 in two hours!) As a debut author, I kept a lid on my expectations as I knew from my research about book signings that few books are sold at most book signings.
I did, however, get to know the staff at my local bookstore, some of who had some very good tips for me as an author, and others who shared their secret love of another German (like my book’s hero) called Thorsten Kaye.
I also got to find out how awesome my friends and colleagues are, the ones who gave up their time and their cash—and possibly braved the judgmental looks of others to be seen buying (gasp!) a romance novel.
I’d also like to say a big thanks to all the staff at Dymocks Canberra, and to Meredith, in particular, for all her help.