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fame

July 13, 2009

They say that everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. My closest brush with it to date was an appearance on the Robert Kilroy-Silk show over a decade ago, where the man with the Tango tan accused me, on behalf of the rest of my profession - I was a newspaper fashion editor at the time - of promoting anorexia in young girls.

But walking into the bookshop and internet cafe on the village square, after my recent trip to London, I experienced a second bit of the fame cherry (in the book store at least), signing books and having my photograph taken with friends.

'This book, it should be offered on the French health service to anyone who is feeling sad or depressed,' said my friend Martine, a local mayor. This is one of my favourite pieces of feedback so far, along with the epithet, 'the Carrie Bradshaw of the French countryside' (thank you Patti at Waterstones!)

My trip to London however, was a little deflating - mainly because my book was so hard to find. In one major book store on Oxford Street, two copies of Tout Sweet were languishing in the basement, listed under French history. And in the WH Smith at Shabsted airport, my book was concealed at the back of the store in the travel writing section. I promptly re-located the two copies of Tout Sweet to the front - specifically the No1 slot in the bestseller chart.

But seriously, how is my book ever going to be a bestseller if it's filed under French history and no-one can find it? Tout Sweet is so 'below radar' at the moment as to be practically invisible. I am going to have to rely almost entirely on word-of-mouth and viral marketing to sell it.

The one bright spot on the horizon is my former local branch of Waterstones in west London, where a lovely member of staff (to whom I owe un enorme merci) has displayed it as a staff recommendation - a huge boost - and has been enthusiastically selling it to customers who ask her advice on what to read over the summer.

comments (7)

1. Posted by pierre l on July 16, 2009 1:42 AM

I already have a copy (from Amazon), but I see that your book is in stock at many branches of Waterstone's, including my local one, so I will pick up a copy to give as a present on Saturday. Unfortunately, Kensington is a bit far away, so I won't be encouraging the lovely lady at that branch (I notice she has written a review on the Waterstones web site).
I we ever meet, I shall have to remember to call you "Ka-renne" -- on the other hand, perhaps I'll stick with "Mimi".


2. Posted by pierre l on July 16, 2009 1:58 AM

Hello again Mimi. Have you considered joining twitter? I just did a search at
http://twitter.com/#search?q=karen%20wheeler
(hope the formatting survives) and found a friendly comment from http://twitter.com/LibertyLndnGirl who also has a blog. I am at http://twitter.com/pierre_el
Regards
Pierre xxx


3. Posted by mimi pompom on July 16, 2009 9:16 AM

Hi Pierre,

I'm so pleased you're back. I thought I'd lost you! Thanks for buying the book and for the encouraging news that you've seen it in many branches of Waterstones.

I'm just about to check out the review on the Waterstone's website. And prompted also by Liberty London Girl who's been giving me some massively helpful tips on how to get my blogsite readership up, I'm going to take your advice and join Twitter (it's top of my list of things to do today.)


4. Posted by Bordeaux Housewife on July 16, 2009 11:23 AM

Have bought a copy of your book and it is hilarious, genuinely funny and easily the best of any of the 'French memoirs' I've read (and I've read most of them.) I've already begun the word of mouth ...


5. Posted by Pontecarlo Shoegal on July 16, 2009 7:20 PM

Hello - my parents moved to Charente Maritime in April and I think you book could be just what Mum need, so I am ordering it this evening to send over with the next care package!


6. Posted by Ann on July 25, 2009 5:10 PM

It made me smile reading this as I saw your article in the Frenchpaper and the first thing that occurred to me was that you sound just like an English Carrie Bradshaw. Your book sounds like great fun and I'll certainly look out for it when we get to England in a couple of weeks.


7. Posted by Raine Devries on August 3, 2009 2:26 AM

Don't be discouraged. The gentleman that wrote "A Year in the Merde", Stephen Clarke, started off rather viral himself and look at what success he has had!

If any consolation, I read the article on your book in the Daily Mirror online and I look forward to reading the book itself as I have greatly enjoyed Peter Mayle and Clarke's works.

So rest assured that the fame of your book has made it as far as Dallas, Texas AND I have posted a link to the article on the Alliance Francaise de Dallas fan page on Facebook!

http://www.facebook.com/afdallas


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