In all the years that I've been going into bookshops I've only ever seen ONE teenager looking at books and going up to buy one. I've seen a variety of adults hovering around the teen bookshelves. I imagine these people to be parents/teachers/friends/interested professionals/other writers placing their books face out. None of them are teenagers.
I go into bookshops a lot. I go to see if my titles are there. I go to inspect covers and new books. I go to immerse myself in 'the business'. To feel, for a while, close to the point of sale where a young person - say a fourteen year old girl - might march in and head for the teen books.
I imagine her looking at the books displayed on the table, face up, in piles. She'll pause for a few moments but she'll be smart enough to know that there's good stuff on the shelves. She'll turn to them and look along. When she sees my books her eyebrows will raise slightly because there'll be a title there she hasn't read. Oh! she'll say, taking the book out and looking at the cover (Maybe it will be Careless or Forget me Not). She won't decide straight away but she'll hold the book in her hand while she moves along the shelves scanning the other titles. For one heart stopping moment I'll imagine her reaching for a book by another writer. She'll take it off the shelf and look at the cover and then read the blurb on the back. She might have to put my book under her arm or rest it on the shelf while she looks inside this new book (who's it by? Celia Rees? Mary Hooper? Catherine Johnson? Kevin Brooks?).
She'll have to decide. She'll pick up mine again and then it'll seem as though she's weighing them both up.
Which book will she go for?
She'll put them both back. She's only got six quid to last her till the weekend. She'll leave the shop empty handed.
Like I said I've only ever seen one teenager in a shop select and take a book up to the counter and pay for it.
And it wasn't even my book.