In my previous post ‘The Magic of Browsing the Shelves’ (below) I talked about my local Waterstone’s bookstore’s lack of a LGBTQ fiction section and the odd reaction I got when I asked about this. I’ve never forgotten being told queer books attract the ‘wrong sort of people’.
It speaks to the lack of independent bookstores in the UK that, while looking for promotional opportunities in my new capacity of published writer, the only bookstore in my local city of Nottingham I could turn to was Waterstones itself.
So I e-mailed them. I introduced myself and my book, mentioning Bold Strokes Books, my LGBTQ publisher. Bearing in mind my previous experiences I fully expected to be completely ignored or politely refused.
Imagine my very great surprise when Dan, the events and marketing man from the Nottingham store, e-mailed me back very promptly and full of enthusiasm. He even answered my previous questions of the store without my asking them. There’s no LGBTQ books because there’s not enough space. Well, I could suggest they dump a few of the Harlequin romances, but he was being so positive it seemed churlish…and my books are available to order in store not just online. I decided to be grateful for that much.
The happy conclusion of this story is that on 28th July this year at 6.30pm I will be reading from and signing my book, Truths, in the store. I will be accompanied by other lesbian writers published by Bold Strokes Books: Lindsey Stone, Jane Fletcher, I. Beacham, Justine Saracen, Gill McKnight and Lesley Davis. A whole gaggle of queer writers and their books. Waterstones are even doing some of their own promotion for the event.
Sometimes things just happen to give you just a little more faith in the world. It’s even better when something makes you change your mind. I’d love an independent LGBTQ bookshop in Nottingham. But until that dream comes true, perhaps Waterstones are a good option after all…