I’ve spent the last few weeks preparing for my first book signing event. Husband and I designed a poster and two flyers, which husband then arranged to be professionally printed. The posters were distributed to the town shopping centre and library, and the flyers went to various outlets in the wider area who were kind enough to display them.
I’d advertised the event online, mainly through Facebook and Twitter, and soon learned that the word was spreading quite quickly with very encouraging feedback. Assured that at least thirty friends and family would be attending, I optimistically ordered fifty copies of my book and immediately began to fret about whether I’d ordered too many or not enough!
My local library provided a large, sunny room for the event, which took place on Saturday (19 November 2011). The library also laid on hot water and cups for refreshments, all free of charge; we took tea, coffee, sugar and milk, plus a large bottle of squash, and invited visitors to help themselves. A large table at one end of the room held a display of my books and a selection of the flyers, and it was there that I sat (facing the door) to sign and sell copies. The refreshments were laid on at the other end of the room, with seating arranged along the side walls, and visitors were encouraged to stay and chat for as long as they liked. The library manager was very hands on in helping to set up the room, and she and her staff maintained a cheerful and helpful presence throughout the morning.
I felt excited to have the opportunity of sharing my work in person, but also nervous about how many would turn up. I didn’t want a massive, unmanageable crowd but I also didn’t want to sit there alone for two hours! I needn’t have worried: two friends arrived before me, and a steady flow of friendly faces made the two hours pass very quickly. A core group of six friends stayed for the whole event, chatting amongst themselves and greeting other friends on arrival, so a lively and inviting atmosphere was very quickly established. When I wasn’t signing books, I spent my time mingling and chatting, answering questions about my books and discussing the challenges of writing and publishing in today’s very competititive market.
Our local historian, author of four books on the history of our town, bought a copy of “New Beginnings” and we had a short chat about publishing and self-publishing; he’d read my summer interview in our local paper and was very interested in my road to publication. He’s in his late sixties now, is currently working on a fifth local history book and a novel, and is just beginning to explore the internet in terms of promoting his books, so I gave him several links (Night Publishing, Night Reading, Amazon, etc) and he seemed genuinely pleased.
I sold just over half my supply of “New Beginnings” but more importantly I felt that everyone was really keen to read it, and all expressed interest in the sequels. The library manager has asked me to return to promote the second and third books when they’re published, too.
It was a nerve-wracking but ultimately very enjoyable event, and it was wonderful to talk with people about my books and to witness their interest in the first part of the story and their enthusiasm for the sequels. I asked everyone to let me know what they think about “New Beginnings” – good and bad – and I look forward to some honest feedback once they’ve had a chance to read it.
If you would like a personalised copy of “New Beginnings” please visit my website for details.