Now that the academic year has ended and I´ve got a bit more time, I´ve been doing some marketing for The Finn´s Tale. I visited Helsinki yesterday and had meetings with the managers of three bookshops. I had already supplied copies to Tampere bookshops: Akateeminen Kirjakauppa and the two Suomalainen stores. All three of those shops have copies on their shelves as I write this. So I thought it was time to widen my market area. I´d contacted the managers of two Suomalainen Kirjakauppa stores in Helsinki to set up meetings for Tuesday and I visited the bookstore in the railway station on spec.
The managers were interested in the idea of a novel set in Finland which includes a lot of information about Finnish history, nature, art and culture, architecture and cooking in the course of telling a story. They were quite cautious about the prospects for sales, though. Of course, they know the business better than I do. I think that Finn´s who can read English quite well, of whom there are a great many, and foreign visitors to Finland who are looking for an interesting souvenir, would be likely to buy the book and that´s what I said. The conversation was positive and friendly and I felt that it was a good idea to make that personal contact, although I´m aware that I´m not much of a salesman. I felt that didn´t matter for the kind of approach I was making. The outcome was that one shop took 5 copies to try and the managers of the other two shops took just one copy each to have a closer look at before deciding whether to put copies on the shelf.
And when my business was completed I went to the wonderful Helene Schjerfbeck exhibition at Ateneum.
I returned home feeling reasonably pleased. So if you´re in Helsinki, you can buy a copy of The Finn´s Tale at the Pocket Books shop in the central railway station. And maybe from Suomalainen bookshops in Kamppi and Aleksanterinkatu later, if they decide to stock it.
And you should definitely get to the Schjerfbeck exhibition, too!