So ... I plucked up my courage and went to Waterstone's. I declined husband's offer to accompany me as I didn't want to look like a complete wimp. Instead I settled for the 'loopy lady wandering about town talking to herself' look.
I spent 5 minutes staring in a shoe shop window trying to remember what it was I'd planned as my introductory spiel. (By the way, do you think Converse trainers will last 5 times as long as the Sainsburys equivalent? Which in my experience would have to be about 2-3 years?)
I muttered to myself up as I approached the shop: walk in, head held high, don't dither and start looking at books but go straight to the counter and confidently ask to see the manager. Well, I almost managed it only being very slightly distracted by the display of books on the table inside the door.
Turned out she was in a meeting but, 'maybe I can help you,' said the young woman on the counter. I told her what it was about and she was very helpful but honest. 'Unless your book is stocked by the trade suppliers we use it's very difficult for us to take it.'
It's all to do with the invoicing apparently. Like the library it's all done centrally and things have to be approved and it's all jolly tricky. However she told me to email the manager - 'that's the best thing as we're short-staffed (a familiar story) and we can read emails in our lunch breaks' - and was happy to take a copy of my novel I just happened to have with me so they could decide if it was something they'd be interested in displaying.
Again it's very tempting to say, 'well, it's not really about the money: I just want to make it easily available to potential customers,' but it's not practical or financially viable. So I'll have to wait and see what they decide.
I could approach some independent book-sellers - but there aren't many of those. There's the one that was the evil nemesis of Charlotte's Web, the shop I worked for before the owner retired, and one in Uplands, which is slightly more academic and studenty.
I wonder if there are any in Cardiff. If my dream of world domination is be achieved I need to widen my sights.