Last Thursday was a big day in the life of me, I had my first ever book signing. It took place from 10am-4pm at Reason Coffee Shop and Bookstore in Watford High Street which is just 5 miles from where I live.
The shop does a lot of work for good causes and has a very homely feel inside. The owner and staff are nice and friendly and I immediately fell in love with the place which was in fact what made me ask whether I could have a signing there in the first place. Little did I know that the answer would be a ‘Yes’!
So the last few weeks were spent creating and distributing leaflets, flyers, business cards and a very flashy looking poster. I repeatedly put them in the signing store but also at the central library and the local Sainsburys supermarket. Funnily, the local Asda which boasts of supporting the local community wouldn’t host one of my little leaflets so shame on them!
I took my box of books up a few days before the signing. I took 10 copies each of my Lest We Forget, 101 Most Horrible Tortures and Very Sad Poetry with 5 copies each of my Timeless Trilogy and In The Footsteps of Heroes book. Obviously it is almost impossible to know how much to take and whilst I didn’t want to run out of stock, I didn’t want to have piles of books around the house for no good reason.
As it happened the day went really well. The weather was vaguely kind though Watford itself was very quiet by usual standards which was a little disappointing.
My first customer was at about 10.15 when a Chinese professor who trains teachers on teaching children with Autism came over to see me. She was a jolly lady with very bright clothing and a fetching rainbow colour wooly hat. “You’re an author? In Watford? But I’ve never heard of you!” Precisely why I’m here I replied.
Before lunch time I sold about 10 more books and had a very long chat with one very nice lady who is obviously an avid reader of quality literature.
I began to notice that whilst online my Factual books sell better than my fictional ones, in the flesh it was my trilogy of novels that was flying off the shelves, well table. Several people remarked on the flashy new cover I mentioned last week too.
Would you believe it that at lunch time I had a queue of people waiting for me. Crazy I know. Then some students came in and wanted to talk to me about Creative Writing which was really nice. I love being able to dispense my advice, for whatever it is worth, as I had no-one to help me when I started writing or blogging for that matter and if one of those 6 teenagers decides to give it a go then in its own way, that is the best result of the day.
Some of my long-lost friends appear around 1pm which was a nice surprise and an old work-colleague who I hadn’t seen from 12 years ago. Back around 2001 we had plotted a scheme that if neither of us were married we would sell a fake sex story to the British tabloid newspapers and make a small fortune out of it. So if I do appear one day on the front pages of the newspapers, don’t worry about it. I certainly won’t from my tropical Caribbean Island!
Things began to slow down in the afternoon but then my lovely wife arrived for the last 3 hours and my friend too. There was a flurry of sales in the last 20 minutes and then that was it. 4pm struck and I had sold around 30 books, even sold out of my trilogy. Several people also told me they would later buy something online and indeed my tortures and WW1 history books did sell a few extra copies over the weekend so that must be them.
All of my books sold well and several people commented how they really like Sad Poetry so that was good. Various Christmas presents were bought too, some people will no doubt receive trilogies, others history books and one or two some tongue-in-cheek gory tortures.
I was really pleased with how the day went and it was nice just chatting to literary minded people and hanging out with the wonderful duo in the shop. I’ve already been promised a book-signing date in 2016 which is good as I am over halfway through writing book 1 of my next trilogy and I have that Star Trek book to finish off too.