It feels soul-destroying - walking into bookshops, book in hand, trying to persuade the manager to stock it. I am assured this is the best thing to do and it has worked in three places, to be fair, but sometimes years of work is treated very dismissively. Why is this? Booksellers are the same people who benefit from a writer's hard work and may make a very tidy sum from the novel, for all I know. I don't understand their attitude.
Now that I am trying to encourage bookshops to stock Losing Face, I am sorry I waited for a publisher and did not self-publish years ago. For one thing, there is a little flurry of books about facial disfigurement around at the moment, whereas there was very nothing recent around when Losing Face was just finished. So I am competing with established novelists. Secondly, several places have asked me whether I will leave them some books on sale or return. I can't do that, because my contract forbids me to sell them to the book trade, which in effect I would be doing.
Ah well, at least I saved money by finding a publisher which has made it easier to leave review copies. And I am discovering which bookshops need persistent targetting because they are so good that they sell me a book or two while I am doing my pitch for my own! And when managers or staff have read it and given me positive feedback, or even thanked me for coming in to show them my novel, it has helped to restore my self-respect. Meanwhile I have messages coming in from people sharing my book with others because they liked it so much they want them to read it.
Also, I can know without a doubt that my soul is certainly not destroyed - whatever it feels like! So I shall lift my head high, follow what is the right path next and carry on pushing this strange, unsentimental, psychological, challenging and sometimes funny little offering until it is where my Soul-keeper would like it to be.