Sunday 21 November 2010

Book Signings

The last two Saturdays have seen me doing booking signings, one at Waterstone’s in Derby, the other at the Nottingham branch. Now, as I’m not an established author, people aren’t queuing up to buy copies of The Broken Token with my autograph in it. I have to convince them it’s worth their time, and, above all, their money. Being part of the general 3 for 2 on fiction helps; people will take a chance on that.

What it really means, however, is that I’ve become a salesman. Granted, the product is one in which I believe, but it’s still talking to people, engaging them, and convincing them that this book will enrich their lives (it will, trust me). I’ve discovered that having a couple of copies in my hand, hanging around the crime section and starting out by asking “Are you looking for a good crime novel?” makes for a fair opening. Being showered and having clean teeth and clothes and well deodorised is a plus, too.

Plenty of people are happy to talk, although there are always a few timid rabbits. Leave them be. Engage people. I start by asking what authors they like, and talk about those, recommend some others who are very good. Then people will ask about my book, and I tell some. A fair few will actually end up buying a copy – maybe 50 per cent of those I have good conversations with. And along the way I end up meeting some interesting people and learning fascinating titbits – for instance, Sarah is the Jewish spelling of the name, but Sara is Persian.

It’s tiring (I’ve learned to take along a bottle of water for the voice) but also strangely energising. It’s a bit of a buzz to talk to people, to have them become interested. Best of all, after roving around, to come back to the table and have someone say, “I’ve been waiting for you, I looked at the cover and it seems right up my street, I’d like a copy.” Only one of those so far, but it’s uplifting.

1 comment:

  1. This is great advice. The business of writers connecting with readers seems impossible in such a crowded market, but the person-to-person connection is so brilliantly simple--and a great reason to support the local bookstore. Thanks!