Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers

I recently attended my very first book-signing event. It took place at Waterstones bookseller in Crewe, Cheshire in the North of England. I did not know what to expect so I was faintly nervous but approached it with an open mind. I would surely sell some books, even if no one came specifically to see me. I had been publicizing it widely in local newspapers and on the Internet so I was hopeful.


As it was, I sold 6 books. This may not sound like a lot, but for an unknown author with a new book, it was pretty damn good! I am very pleased with the result, and with the whole experience in general. It has filled me with renewed vigour and hope for my second book-signing event in two weeks. The people that I met were very supportive and the bookshop staff was really helpful and accommodating.


Although I didn’t really expect my friends and family to drop everything and come and see me on their precious weekend day off, I must admit it was a little disappointing to see no familiar faces. Well, my father-in-law did turn up and he took some professional photographs (he is a photographer by trade, very useful!) to use on my websites. I did have a wonderful surprise when a great-Uncle and Aunt came to see me. I was really touched that even though they haven’t see me since I was a child, they took the time to come and show some support, and more importantly, bought some books.


When I first arrived there was a customer waiting for me, a lovely woman who supports local authors and wanted to read my book especially because of its Cornish setting. It was very amusing that every time I stood up to stretch my legs, customers would approach me to ask for assistance in the shop. Even though I wasn’t in uniform and had no name badge, apparently I looked like a member of staff! I suppose once you work in retail and customer service, you never really lose that professional, helpful stance and persona.


It was a useful learning experience. I had recently read a lot of negative stories in the media, saying that bookshops are in decline and people are no longer interested. Even in this small retail center, there were enough customers coming and going to fill me with confidence that the industry is still strong, and is still worth pursuing as a viable career. There were a lot of parents with young children, and many teenagers buying books. Not everyone has defected to the digital revolution just yet.

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Comment by Kay Elizabeth on October 2, 2011 at 10:22pm

High five to you, Catherine! :) 6 books is very good I think and even more importantly, you've done it now so any more will be so much easier. Congratulations! 


You know who else may be interested? The local tourist information office. Why not get in touch with them and see if they'd allow you to stock some copies there and see how it goes? Same with hotels. You could agree to either give them a commission or donate a percentage of what sells to the local charity of their choice.

Anywhere that carries local tourist stuff like maps, postcards, guidebooks etc is worth a shot. Cornwall's so beautiful too! I was in the Cornwall (Penzance) and Devon area many years ago for a business trip. :) There could be a big opportunity there.


Do think other ways you could give back to them like linking to them on your blog or mentioning them as sources where the book can be found when you're putting anything out on social media. Anything that adds value and answers the "what's in it for us?" question. :)

Comment by Sean Noonan on October 3, 2011 at 11:37am

Well done Catherine!

It must have felt good to be an author in a book shop.


It reminds me of a story about one of my friends in Scotland. He was in Edinburgh and wanted to buy some art books (his passion) so went to Waterstones and joined this queue to pay for his books, but the queue turned out to be a book signing for JK Rowling. It was her first book and she was unknown then. She asked him if he wanted to buy a book but he said no thanks. He regretted it ever since.


Next year I plan to get stuck in on the marketing, with books three and four of the series to be published. I am going to look out for/attend book fairs, local stores and tourist outlets (we have a world heritage site close by with a steady stream of international visitors perusiing the shop, I am sure they will help me reach a few more people who'd like the tales. I think in the UK we still have active book shops with folks wanting the printed word more than the electronic and I am always filled with good thoughts whenever I am close to a book store, such wonderful places full of everyone's imagination.

Comment by Stacy Eaton on October 3, 2011 at 1:45pm

Catherine - How wonderful!!!  So glad it went well and you got that first one out of the way!! I had to chuckle when  you talked about the people asking for your assistance.  I had that happen to me at the airport a few weeks ago. I think it was because I was dressed in tactical BDU pants and a polo and stood watching everyone that people thought I worked there.  lol...


So glad it went well!! YEAH!

Comment by Catherine Green on October 3, 2011 at 2:53pm
Ah thanks everyone! Kay, what a good idea, I hadn't even thought about local heritage places, I will get contacting people asap! And Sean and Stacy, thanks for your comments, we do have some interesting experiences to share.


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