Last weekend I attended my second book signing event to promote my paranormal romance novel Love Hurts. The event took place at Waterstones Bookseller in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, UK. This was my home town so I was very excited. I have spent many years wandering around this book shop, dreaming about the day when I might see my own work on the shelves. And now that day has come!
The lovely staff welcomed me to their store, gave me a mug of coffee, and showed me to my special table in the centre of the ground floor retail space. I was facing the main entrance, in a nice open place, with the tills adjacent. The perfect location to see all the customers and for them to see me.
I had actually been sat for a few minutes before I even saw the large display stand full of my books next to the table! My heart gave a little leap of excitement, and I peered round to have a better look. Yes, there they were. A whole collection of books, above which hung a large banner announcing that local author Catherine Green was in store to sign copies of her new book.
The staff had printed some leaflets and had distributed them amongst customers for a few weeks before my event. I found this very touching, and a lovely gesture, since I hadn’t actually been able to get some leaflets produced myself. I am still learning the ropes, so to speak. I had gotten some mentions in local newspapers and magazines, so I was hoping this would help. And of course, I had plastered my event all over the social networks for weeks in advance, and told people as I went along.
As it was, the shop was almost empty all day long. On this day, the 1st October 2011, the sun shone on the UK. We had some of the hottest temperatures on record, and people were not in the mood to shop. I was most annoyed. Where is the rain when you need it? We should be wearing jeans and jumpers now, not shorts and t-shirts!
There was nothing else for it. I had to pluck up some courage, approach people, and coerce them into buying my book. The Paranormal Romance and Dark Fantasy sections were located near the main entrance, so I practically wore a path in the carpet every time somebody walked in and paused there. I would hurry over to them, trying not to look like a bird of prey swooping in for the kill. Fortunately most people were very polite, and agreed to take a look at my book.
By the end of my four-hour attendance, I had sold seven books. Not an impressive number, but very satisfactory under the circumstances. Aside from this I had spoken to a book reviewer for the local influential newspaper, and he said he will feature my book shortly. This just goes to show that you never know what contacts you might make if you creep out of your dark writer’s space, and mingle in the wider world, even for a short time.
Now, who shall I visit next? I shall consult the list given to me by the manager of the Hanley store. Watch this space for more events…