With a view to selling copies of An English Impressionist in the part of France in which it is set, my wife and I spent a week in the Dordogne with our camping table and chairs on a series of markets. I had contacted the mayor’s office in each of the four towns I identified as having a large resident British community, was granted permission to set up a stall and spent a morning at each in turn: Issigeac (Sunday), Bergerac (Wednesday), Eymet (Thursday) and Riberac (Friday).
It was an interesting experience setting up and seeing other market traders at close quarters. I found myself next to a range of marchands, selling baskets and belts, plants and potatoes, wine and jewelry and e-cigarettes. We also found ourselves in the middle of a heatwave and the most important thing became keeping in the shade. The majority of customers were French, of course: many stopped to ask about the book but none could face 400 pages of English! My target audience was English-reading locals and holiday-makers; strangely enough my very first sale was to a Belgian lady. I also sold copies to Dutch and Australian readers.
So, hot, hard work with a succession of early morning rises, but I feel that with a total of 27 copies sold, it was worth the effort. Best market for sales: Issigeac. Worst: Bergerac with no books sold at all – we had a poor pitch and there were few Brits around. I now wait with interest from reactions to the book from my latest batch of readers.