When I’m out shopping or meeting friends for coffee, I usually try and call into a bookshop, if there’s one about. I introduce myself to the bookseller (children’s, if there’s one), leave a business card and check the shelves for my books and those of my author/illustrator friends.

Many booksellers are warm and welcoming, interested to meet the creator and to hear a little of the background of the book. I’ve had many occasions where a book signing in store or a presentation results from this, sometimes with enormous success.

Other times, I’ve chosen the wrong bookseller to hand my business card to and I’ve been met with cool disinterest or, ‘No, we don’t have your books.’ So sometimes I leave the store, tail between my legs, wondering why I bothered. I’ve learned to only do the introduction thing on the good days, when I feel I can survive the ‘knock back’.  Alternatively I stubbornly don the ‘suit of armour’ in my mind and strut in, ready for any type of welcome  . .  . or not.

A few months ago I stood staring at a book store where I’ve had several successful signings in the past and where, earlier this year, the shelves were stocked with multiple copies of my books. As I stood on the other side of the street looking at the ‘All books $4.95’ sign, my heart was in my boots. Was I brave enough to go in?

I donned the suit of armour and decided I’d buy up all of my own books and those of my friends at $4.95!!!!!  Inside I was greeted by Eiffel Towers of books some in untidy piles and boxes in various stages of loading and unloading and found, as I held my breath, that there wasn’t a ‘dear to me’ book in the whole store.

As I stood at the counter waiting to purchase a beautifully produced UK edition paperback of Bambi, I asked a staff member, ‘When are you moving out?’ The reply. ‘Oh, they’ve gone. We’re here for as long as it takes to get rid of all of this.’ My heart flew straight back into my boots.

A world without bookshops is unimaginable. There’s something about the way they draw you in, the way books stand like soldiers, upright, waiting to be chosen and there’s something about the smell and the feel of a book in your hands. This Saturday is National Bookshop Day. I’ll be reading and signing books at the Collins Bookstore in Northland Shopping Centre, Preston from 12.00 till 1.00 p.m. If you’re close by, come in and say hello.

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  1. Kaye Baillie Yes, Corinne. I love bookshops. I get excited just being in one and to be surrounded with luscious colours and images and stories of all kinds. We have two bookshops and they both are ever helpful and their displays do get me in, happily. I'm making a list of books that I have recently read through our library and I intend to go to the bookshop and see if they can order in some favourite ones. I want bookshops to always be a part of life.
    August 17, 2011 at 10:42 am · Reply
    • corinne Me too, Kaye. I do really believe that the small bookshops will do well. There's nothing better than a quiet amble about the shelves on a rainy afternoon is there. Thanks for your wonderful comments each week.
      August 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm · Reply
  2. Alanah Hi Corinne Fenton :(, Do you like seeing your books in a store? What was your last school that you went to and also do you like visting diffent schools? I mite be at collings bookshop at Northland on the 20. :
    August 17, 2011 at 10:58 am · Reply
    • corinne Hi again Alanah. Yes it's always fun for an author to see their books on the shelves in a bookshop. The last school I went to before St. Clements was Wesley College. Yes, I love going to different schools and meeting lots of kids. Make sure you some and say hello if you do come to Collins Bookshop on Saturday.
      August 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm · Reply
  3. James Hi Corrine, I like book shops to. I hope you do to. best wishes. from James
    August 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm · Reply
    • corinne Thanks James. I certainly do.
      August 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm · Reply
  4. Sandy Fussell How awful to hear books described simply as a pile of stuff to get rid of. It has been many years since Wollongong had a decent bookstore - once there was A&R and a small Dymocks but they only stocked blockbusters and cut-price books anyway. Australian childrens and YA authors were rare. I used to wish I lived in Melbourne or Brisbane or Sydney where all the bookstores were so I could browse more often. There seem to be so few left even there now. I know it's nowhere near the same experience, but at least the on-ine stores are still doing well.
    August 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm · Reply
    • corinne Hi Sandy. Yes, it was a pretty awful thing to hear - especially for us authors. Lovely to hear from you. You are doing such wonderful writing Sandy. C.
      August 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm · Reply
  5. francesco mercadante To corinne how do you think of your faboulous books.
    August 18, 2011 at 10:11 am · Reply
    • corinne For most authors ideas seem to come right out of nowhere and that's what happens to me. It's wonderful. Maybe go to a special spot and you will find that you can write too.
      August 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm · Reply
  6. Annie Walsh Hi Corrine thats an uwful thing that bookseller will say "No Books By You" anyway there will always be a bookseller that will say "Yes we have heaps of your books" Best Wishes Annie Walsh:)
    August 18, 2011 at 10:40 am · Reply
    • corinne Thank you Annie. That's very kind.
      August 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm · Reply
      • Annie Walsh thank you Corrine
        August 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm · Reply
  7. Kylie Hi Corrine What's it like being an author is it fun? Did you enjoy coming to my school (St Clement)? I liked sitting in my favourite place at school.:) From Kylie Chen.
    August 18, 2011 at 10:45 am · Reply
    • corinne Hi Kylie. I love being an author but I wouldn't say it's always fun. Sometimes it can be hard work. Yes, I loved coming to St Clement of Rome and I'm glad you liked sitting in your favourite place at school. I'm looking forward to seeing what you write.
      August 18, 2011 at 4:22 pm · Reply
  8. Annie Walsh Hi Corrine how are you? I'm great thanks ( if you would reply) See you soon Annie Walsh P.S I Love your 3 books and I'm your BIGEST FAN (thats your 1# fan)
    August 18, 2011 at 10:48 am · Reply
  9. Annie Walsh Hi Corrine I can't wait till you come next time (to St Clements Of Rome)
    August 18, 2011 at 10:50 am · Reply
    • corinne Thanks Annie. Corinne
      August 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm · Reply
  10. Chiara Wow! Being an author sounds fantastic! I hope that I can write as well as you do some day soon. I love your books because they have lots of detail and they have a mixture of happiness and sadness in them. Your books help me to understand that writing storys can take you to places you never dreamed of and I love going to those places and feeling like your actually there standing right next to the main charector!
    August 18, 2011 at 10:50 am · Reply
    • corinne I'm sure you'll be able to Chiara if you work hard and be persistent. Corinne
      August 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm · Reply
  11. Kylie Hi Corrine I'm looking forward to writing about my favourite place at school (St Clements)
    August 18, 2011 at 10:51 am · Reply
    • corinne That's great Kylie and I'll look forward to seeing what you've written. Best place for you to do that is in the place. Corinne
      August 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm · Reply
  12. Zoe I really like your books, especially Queenie the Elephant! I thought that book was enjoyable. I love elephants and every animal.
    August 18, 2011 at 10:56 am · Reply
    • corinne Thank you Zoe. Nice to hear from you. Corinne
      August 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm · Reply
  13. Kylie If you had to choose out of your 3 books Queenie,Dog on the tucker Box or Flame stands waiting which would be your favourite. From Kylie.
    August 18, 2011 at 4:50 pm · Reply
    • corinne I would have to say Queenie because it was my first picture book but I have some other favourites coming up too.
      August 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm · Reply
  14. Kylie Hi Corrine you are one of my favourite authors I loved reading your three books Flame stands waiting was really cool it would take the reader to another place. If you started writing a new book this minute what would it be called? and are you one of those authors who writes the story before creating a heading? From Kylie. P.S You're the best.
    August 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm · Reply
    • corinne Hi Kylie. Thank you. I'm so glad you like my books, especially Flame.
      August 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm · Reply
    • corinne Hi again Kylie. To answer your other questions, sometimes I start the story and then the title comes later, other times a title jumps into my head first.
      August 19, 2011 at 10:16 pm · Reply
  15. Annie Walsh I was sooooooooooooo nervose [is that how you spell it?] when i had to read my poem in front of the year 3 & 4's at st clements of rome [my school] but i loved my comments some people gave but i don't want to change it with your advise [that word is wrong] i've started from scartch and changed it 7 times! thanks any way! your best fan ever Annie Walsh
    September 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm · Reply
  16. Alanah i lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeQUEENIE in my way not yours i think its the best one out of all
    July 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm · Reply

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