I spent this afternoon doing a book signing at Waterstones, Tunbridge Wells and thought I should report back!
I am usually quite apprehensive of book signings because you never know quite how they are going to go, and what usually happens is that I spend a lot of time standing looking a bit awkward beside a disconcertingly large pile of my books and feeling like a fraud. And I obviously don’t exude the confident air of a successful author because what usually happens is that people come up to me and ask me where in the shop they might find a particular book they’ve come in for.
At previous events I’ve thought this might be because I’m invariably wearing mostly black clothes (this is apparently a cunning way to disguise the excess weight, works particularly well in the dark it seems) which happens to be pretty much the standard Waterstones staff uniform.
Today I deliberately wore a nice bright turquoise top, but even so I was asked about The Hunger Games, Of Mice and Men, and the whereabouts of the map section, whether I could recommend a good general guide to European Literature and, separately, Financial Planning. If I know where the requested item is I’ll happily point them in the right direction, but if I don’t I usually say something like “I’m sorry, I don’t actually work here.” What happens then is generally one of three things. Some people will apologise (unnecessary but very nice of them), some people will walk away without another word (fair dos but not quite so nice) and still more will look at me with an expression that says “why are you standing like a lemon at the entrance to the store looking vacant, then?” (a bit rude I think).
Putting aside the people who need help I can’t always provide, there are usually one or two lovely people who have either heard about my event and made a deliberate effort to come and meet me, or they might have been sent by a friend, or former colleague, or a relative – which is also lovely.
At every signing I’ve done, there has always been a couple of people who have made the whole slightly awkward experience worthwhile. The ones who come in on purpose, but also the passing strangers who stop to chat for a while, sometimes buying the book and sometimes not, but who treat me to a few minutes of their time. I love these people. I don’t think they’re always aware of the karma points they notch up just by stopping to chat for a moment, and thereby making me feel less of a spare part.
ANYWAY – enough about signings, for now.
But talking of books, I have a picture to share with you:
The picture above was posted on my Facebook page by my lovely niece, Carla. My books have made it all the way to Swan Hill, Australia, and Carla’s local bookstore.
This was hugely exciting to see – and I still get excited every time I walk into a bookshop here in the UK and manage to find them. It got me thinking that, now my books are gradually making their way around the world, how cool would it be to get pictures of them in all sorts of exciting places?
So, dear readers, I have a special request for you – I would like you to take a picture of either/both/any of my books in any of the following categories:
1. A picture of my book in your local bookstore, library, or airport
2. A picture of you with my book in an exotic or unusual location
3. A picture of a random stranger reading one of my books ‘in the wild’
4. A picture of my book in amongst other books on your bookshelf (I like being nosy and seeing what people have on their bookshelves, don’t you?)
All pictures very gratefully received!! I shall have to think of some sort of prize for this, really… I was thinking that everyone who posts a picture can have a signed postcard sent via the mail, but that’s not much of a prize and in any case you might all post hundreds, who knows? But my phenomenal gratitude just seems a bit pitiful!
To give you all a bit of inspiration, here are some I’ve already been collating:
Posted by my friend Barbara – Revenge of the Tide in some illustrious company in the window of Waterstones, Fremlin Walk, Maidstone.
My friend Emily’s son selecting something possibly not age-appropriate from his mum’s bookshelf…
This is my friend Lindsay (we’ve been friends since school!) when she found
Into the Darkest Corner in her local bookshop
My friend Natalie’s haul of birthday presents!
My beautiful niece, Paige
Revenge of the Tide featuring on the bookshelf of @dj_cardi (via Twitter)
The next read for @toxicmusing (via Twitter)
So there you have it! Many thanks to everyone who has already sent me a picture (possibly never suspecting that I was going to post them to a blog for the whole world to see), please send me more!