Thursday, June 12, 2008

Local bookshop gives local girl writer hope

Living, as I do, in a non-English speaking country, one which just doesn't have the bookshop culture that is what makes New York or London far more bearable places to spend time in, I had assumed that I wouldn't really be seeing my book on any shelves around here. Then yesterday I was on my way to a new pottery class (is there no end to this woman's talents? I hear you cry. I am pretty crap at it, but love that Zen feeling of sitting at the wheel with my hands on wet clay) and I was early. So I thought I would pop into the little bookshop next door, which had an interesting bargain bin. I had decided, spurred on by a UK small press asking me whether I knew any good Israeli short story writers apart from Etgar Keret, that I should try and read some short stories in Hebrew. I asked the nice woman behind the desk, timidly, if she had anything to recommend. Her enthusiasm almost knocked me over! Yes! she cried, leaping out from behind the cash register, a new collection had arrived last week, she had taken it home and read it in one sitting! Edna Shemesh, she is the author, and I now have her slim volume to read when I feel strong enough to approach pages and pages of Hebrew text with no pictures (I read the newspaper, but that has pictures, it's just not the same).

As I was paying, I shyly mentioned that I, too, was a writer, and that I, too, had a slim volume appearing soon. Could I...? Might I...? Yes! cried the enthusiastic Rachel, I love short stories, please do bring it in. Perhaps we could do a consignment. She said this all in Hebrew, with the last word in English pronounced with an Israeli accent. A consignment. Blimey. Thrills ran through me. I thanked her profusely and left, clutching my book, besumed and delighted.

This beautifully illustrates the wise saying: Don't ask, don't get. Or something like that. Or, Authors Must Try to Sell Their Own Books. Or all of the above. Wheee!

10 comments:

Kerry said...

What a lovely post Tania, I'm so pleased that you'll get the recognition you deserve in Israel too when the book is out. You are officially "Internationally Aclaimed"!

Nik's Blog said...

Wooh wooh! Terrific!

Nik

Vanessa Gebbie said...

lovely lovely! What a good start!

vxxx

Tania Hershman said...

Thanks, guys! Not sure about "internationally acclaimed" - I don't know if she is the shop owner, so until it's on them shelves, I won't quite believe it. Actually, there is a lot I won't believe until it happens! But it was a nice surprise.

SueG said...

This is great, Tania. And exactly what I'm finding. I joke about it, but I do believe that you have to sell it "one book at a time." Regardless of how we might feel inside, we just can't be shy! Well done!

Sarah Hilary said...

Uplifting story! Congrats, Tania. The start of big things, I sense it.

Women Rule Writer said...

Good woman. This is one of the hardest parts of the whole deal - pushing yourself forward. Go girl!

James said...

wow - great news! looking forward to the 1st consignment hitting the shops! and do you think edna is haim's daughter? what synchronicity if that were so....

Tania Hershman said...

Sue - yes, I guess one book at a time is a great way to do it - how thrilling that you happened to wander past and see your book in your favourite bookshop's window display!

Thanks Sarah and WRW - I am quite shy so this is hard, but there actually aren't very many bookshops in Jerusalem so maybe I can summon up enough oomph to get to them all!

J - interesting idea, I will contact her and see!

Bob Jacobs said...

Great news, Tania.

Cheers,
Rob