Travelling light? With books? By Annie Try




 I was off to London! I used to go approximately fortnightly for over 50’s dance classes and visiting my daughter but of course that hadn’t happened for nearly two years. It felt like an adventure.


I remembered which shoes to wear to negotiate the London streets. I emptied my small suitcase that usually houses song books for when I play my cello in church. I hunted out my largest backpack. I was only going to be away for one night, but it was for the ACW writers day, and that involved taking books to sell. I was one of the speakers, so this was a golden opportunity to urge along sales that had been so slow during the last 18 months of Covid management when five book signings and events had been cancelled.


My OH and I had the following conversation:


Me: Will I have flights of steps to negotiate?


Him: Well, once you are on the Tube you change at Euston. But you change to another part of the Northern Line, so probably not, because they are at the same depth.


Me: Are there steps down to the Underground?


Him: (already moving back to whatever he’d been working on) Escalators I expect.


I eagerly added two more of my latest novel to my backpack and added the rest of the twelve I’d thought I might take into the small suitcase cramming in the posh frock I needed, a gold scarf to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, and pj’s. Nothing much more, really, except accessories and toiletries.


OH brought the suitcase down the stairs, and put it into the car to go to the station.


All went well until I went on the Tube. Escalators were easy down to the Northern Line and until I got to Euston where there were escalators and steps. I just about managed to heave the case up the stairs, then concentrated on finding the right platform for the part of the Northern Line to Waterloo. Disembarking at Waterloo I said to myself - or maybe out loud -  ‘Not more stairs,’  when a young lady took my case and, with a smile, swiftly deposited it at the top.


All the journey I was thinking ‘it will be easier on the way back, I will have sold some books!’


Alas, I didn’t sell many books at all. I bought two thin books and was given the wonderful ACW anthology. I would have bought more, from the huge range of brilliant books, but I was worried about the weight on the way back. I’m so glad I resisted.


At the end of the day, I was incredibly tired. The case and my rucksack felt twice as heavy as on the way.  At one point I simply paused at the bottom of some stairs to slow down my breathing and the case was whisked to the top with one swing of the arm of a huge young man.


Morals from this story: 


Never be optimistic about sales.


Don’t expect writers to buy books especially if they have travelled from afar themselves. Readers make better book buyers.


Write shorter novels.


If not travelling by car, take only one copy of each novel and an order form!


Golden moments from this story: two very different wonderful helpers were there at exactly the right time to help me.


But I made it home in one piece! God be praised - and aren’t Londoners wonderful?


Annie Try is the name Angela Hobday uses for her fiction writing. She writes the Dr Mike Lewis stories about a clinical psychologist whose unusual clients have mysteries or secrets they wish to unravel.


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