Buy it! Just BUY it!

July rolled around. They called me back to London for the launch and the promotion, and put me up in the Novotel in Hammersmith for a week.
The launch was a quiet affair: dinner in an Indian restaurant, with my editor, agent, a couple of people from HarperCollins, and two of the authors who had given me blurbs. One of the latter waxed most enthusiastic: “this is going to be a bestseller. Guaranateed!”
So there I was on the morning of the Big Day, waiting for Books Etc in the Hammersmith Underground shoppinhg centre to open. And then: there it was, under New Books. My beautiful big blue buttefly on the orange-yellow backgroud. It stood out among the other books. It looked fantastic, People walking in the store would see it first thing and automatically gravitate towards it and snatch it off the shelf. In wonder I took it down, opened it, smelt it, touched it, not believing. And then I put it back, retired to a short distance to leaf through other, less important books, and waited. Waited for the storm.
By now I had recovered from my panic attacks, and wanted only one thing: success. There was so much I could do once that happened. Those houses, those schools, those trips… so I stood waiting, watching.
There had been an ad campaign in a few national newspapers, so people would have heard about Of marriageable Age by now. “A magical story of forbidden love across 3 decades and 3 continents,” ran the ads.
But nobody picked it off the shelf. I wanted to run up to customers and press it into their hands: “Read this, I’ll sign it for you!” but my inherent shyness got in the way.
And so the Big Day came and went with out gratification: I had not seen a single person buy my book! Gloom settled on my soul. Surely that was a Bad Omen! * * *

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