DUMFOONERT…just a bit!

Nancy Jardine

This post is by Nancy Jardine.

Some readers may already know that I take my stock of novels and do signing/ selling sessions at local Craft Fair Venues. I really enjoy these events but have to say I never quite know what questions might be asked of me.

Last Saturday was a really good one. The event was one of the large pre-Christmas Fairs in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland, with over a hundred quality crafters displaying their wares. I say quality because anyone trying to sell goods that are outsourced ready-made, and not home crafted, are not given table space.

So there I was answering all sorts of easy things before making sales of my books. What made me become an author? What inspired a particular story? Which was my first novel? …. I had some return customers who stopped to buy another book which, I can wholeheartedly say, really boosts this particular author’s spirits. But I also had some humdingers of questions!

Photo-Nancy Jardine

One very well-turned-out lady lingered over a read of my ‘information’ boards describing the settings of my novels. She briefly responded to my initial greetings but said “it was fine” when I offered to explain the books- meaning no thank you. Then she proceeded to lift and lay the inspection copies I have available at the front of the table, slowly absorbing the blurbs, flicking through the first pages.

(n.b. photo is from the previous venue. I used a less crushed tablecloth last week!)

Other customers came and went and she was still there. Silently reading and quite absorbed. A spy of some sort came to mind but that was the fanciful author in me rearing its ugly head! Mmm… It was a new experience for me. I can’t quite bring myself to be an aggressive salesperson, so I waited. Then came the DUMFOONERT bit.

Eventually, she said, “Why don’t you just write in one genre? It has to be much easier to sell books that way.”

Ah! As a salesperson I never want to offend a potential customer, especially one who seems a little unreceptive to my wares. However, I’m always as honest as I can be, so I told her that any kind of marketing of novels is difficult and that it definitely would be an easier task to be ‘branded’ as a particular genre author—but I said that I don’t always take the easy way out. I told her that as a reader I enjoy books written across many different genres and that as a writer, I like the variety of creating stories across different genres. I went on to say that although I feel I’m primarily an author of historical adventures, I’ve loved the freedom of writing contemporary mysteries because I don’t have to think so much about the conventions of the historical era.

Nancy Jardine-Celtic Fervour Series

She mostly listened to my spiel though asked the occasional easy question. Then, having picked up the 3 pack version of my Celtic Fervour Series she asked, “Why did you choose to write about a historical period so long ago?”

“That’s a great question!” I said grinning like a Cheshire Cat. I wasn’t dumbfounded at all. My list was quite long.

  • Because it’s a hard era to write about
  • Because it’s a pre-historic period that has very few written sources to research so I have to work all the harder to interpret the archaeological records
  • Because I didn’t want to write about an era that lots of other authors have covered already
  • Because I love to learn about Roman Scotland history and archaeology
  • “In fact,” I said, “I’m doing the FutureLearn  Hadrian’s Wall Course with Newcastle University right now because I want to know even more. (By the way I’m glad I’m squeezing the course into my already busy schedule because it’s proving useful already!)

I had a lot of positive becauses.

I was again DUMFOONERT when she smiled and said, handing over the money for the books, “You’ve convinced me! I want all three books. I wanted to be sure you know what you’re writing about and it’s not just crappy romantic drivel that’s half-hearted history.”

Did I have an answer for that? I’ll let you decide…

I do hope she’s a happy reader, except I’m not even sure if she was buying the gift pack for herself or for someone else.

Whatever you’re doing this November, have a lovely time!

Nancy Jardine writes in 3 different genres (smiley face here) – historical romantic adventure; contemporary romantic mystery; time travel historical adventure for early teens.


Nancy is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Scottish Association of Writers. You can find her at these places:

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk  Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.com/   Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

email: nan_jar@btinternet.com  Twitter @nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere






21 thoughts on “DUMFOONERT…just a bit!

  1. Nancy, what an interesting conversation, but it gives me faith in readers. Good for you for taking the time to do the research so that readers/buyers like this lady get the best. Still, an intriguing turn of events. Doris


    1. Well, I have to confess to having a good number of conversations that are great even though the people don’t buy, Cher’ley, but that one was memorable.


    1. You know, Kate, I might only know if and when she reads the books. I certainly hope she’s satisfied with them but it was a hard sale.


  2. What a wonderful post! I don’t get the questions that you do, but I did have a radio interviewer ask me, “Why cats? I’m a dog person and I can’t imagine cats teaching any great life lessons — all they do is sleep!” I proceeded to tell him “getting rest is a great life lesson — we people tend to cram as much as we can into our lives and rest goes by the way-side.” He liked that answer! 🙂 Good luck with your upcoming events; I have a few myself!!


  3. What a great post! I love your comebacks and I believe the lady bought the books to read for herself. I think she just wanted to find out more information and after you so sweetly gave it to her she must have thought since you are so well-versed in the subject the books must be good. Glad things are going so well for you – keep up the good work!


  4. Of course, you would have had a proper answer for her had she asked a further question. Half the fun of writing a historical novel is researching the period. I really enjoy having my fictional characters interact at times with real ones. And when I am getting a chapter reviewed, I really like it when the reviewer notes that he/she can tell that I put in a lot of research on the time period. Not so gratifying… being told the historical detail is dragging down the plot. Lol.


  5. Wow, she was really inquisitive and sounded serious. I’m glad she bought your books too. I think you passed “her test” with flying colors with your thoughtful answers. I’ve never heard the word “dumfoonert” but I love it!


    1. It’s a great word, Sarah – though I confess I don’t use it everyday. I really do hope to get some feedback from her- so long as it’s positive! LOL. 🙂


  6. I love the word dumfoonert too, may incorporate it into my store of words. I also liked the post–entertaining and has a lesson: be honest and enthusiastic, which you obviously were. I also was interested about her comment of historical romance that seems purely romance with an historical comment thrown in, I have the feeling of being cheated about the historical part. I wonder if she feels that way too. You obviously passed the test and made a sale! Good for you.


    1. Thank you, Neva. I can honestly say that I feel cheated if I read a historical romance that’s only a token gesture to the period with a few appropriate clothes, or furniture etc mentioned and not a genuine setting throughout the novel.


    1. Thanks, Cher’ley. To be entirely honest, I’m now so anglified that really good Scots words don’t always pop into my head first like they did during childhood. But they have a lovely ring to them.


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