Yesterday, I received a lovely message from the irrepressible Brian Stringer, author of the excellent and acclaimed local book ‘The Clayhanger Kid’. I owe Brian an apology, actually, as I neglected to advertise his book-signing here on the blog, and only found out yesterday when I popped into the library. Sorry, Brian, I did mean to give you another plug.
Just to inform you that you were spot on with your advice in the blog, about speed being the essence when purchasing local books. Today at my book signing I had sold out at 1pm, despite raiding existing outlets for their spares. The odd one or two may be found in Essex Street [Walsall Local History Centre] or Hednesford, but doubtful as I had to tell disappointed customers to get there as soon as they open. I had a wonderful day as many old playmates and schoolmates who I hadn’t seen for years turned up (Over 40).
Everybody wants a bloody reunion now, but I told them this was it.
I have swapped some Emails, and Harold Jeffries has promised to forward some interesting photos from the old Clayhanger Club days, which I shall pass on. One chap turned up who attended Cannock Mining College with me in 1960, and it was lovely to see him. Godfrey Hucker came and is taking me and a pal on his footplate tomorrow (Sun).
The library staff said they had never had a day like it, as we had some folk sitting rattling and reminiscing for hours.
I owe the success of the book to good publicity in the local press and also my retail outlets, but also important was your positive comments in the blog. Recommendation from someone other than the author and publisher is far more influential in selling.
Can you thank all buyers in your blog for me, and once again thanks to you, from me.
It sounds like Brian and all present had a great time – he was certainly on good form when I passed through, as engaging and popular as ever. I can’t re-iterate the author’s point enough: local history books come in small runs. If you see one for sale, for the small outlay, just bag it there and then. I’ve missed several good books by dithering that I’m still looking for today. Do. It. Now.
It’s also worth pointing out that with libraries under threat of closure, this was an excellent example of what a fine community hub these facilities are. When I visited yesterday, the library was abuzz with chatter, activity and learning. Not just from the event, but folk on computers and browsing the books. Sign the petition and act now before it’s too late.
Anyway, if you’re reading this, Brian, I have a Clayhanger query coming up in the next couple of days that I hope you can help me with. I’m after some information about The Spot, so get your thinking cap on… I’ll post my idea here when I’ve done a bit more groundwork.
Thanks again for a wonderful book, and adding a huge chunk to the collective recorded knowledge of our local history.