I feel as if I’ve now been through an important rite of passage. You see, I’ve lost my bookshop signing virginity and now I’ve emerged from the experience as a more rounded and knowledgeable . . . ach, who am I kidding? I’m no different.
But I DO have a better idea of what to expect from a signing. That’s not to say I had no idea before I plunged in. I’m a person who likes to be prepared. I’m a toe-dipper; I like to test the water, so I’d done a little investigating and knew not to expect queues of people lining up to buy my books and have them signed. After all, I’m not Katie Price. Or Lee child, for that matter.
So, for the lowly author struggling to make a name and persuade readers to try something new, a ‘book signing’ is actually a ‘book selling’. Which means not sitting at a table, hiding behind a pile of books hoping someone will come to you – it means taking your book, putting it into people’s hands, chatting with them, being polite, professional, friendly, engaging, smiley, persuasive, not too persisitent and . . . well, you get the picture. You don’t need to be Stuart ‘The Brand’ Baggs and make an arse of yourself, but you do need to approach people. They don’t come to you.
I imagine that for many authors, like me, this is not a natural state, but it’s surprising how many people are receptive and stop to take the time for chat. Turns out it was actually pretty good fun. I ended up selling quite a few books I wouldn’t have sold otherwise, and telling a lot of people about my books who wouldn’t have known about them. Yeah, you get the occasional grump who snubs you but, hey, we all feel a bit grumpy from time to time don’t we?
So that’s it done. My first signings. And thanks to all the staff at Waterstone’s Newcastle and Waterstone’s Morpeth for all their help – everyone was very friendly and welcoming.
Oh yeah, and Graham came in to get his books signed (you know who you are, Graham) and it was great to see you.