A Book Signing.

No, it’s not me, I’m quite a way off that yet.  As in the sun is quite a way off from planet earth.  I’m on youwriteon.com  there you can have your work reviewed by others.  It’s brilliant.  A lovely reviewer recently pointed out that my dog in chapter 1 was Lucy, who had turned into Rosie by Chapter 3.  Then he said I should change the word bit into bid.  I had an elderly couple who bit farewell to their new friend.  Maybe they were undercover vampires in disguise.  So I’m re-writing.  Someone said most of writing is re-writing, they were right.  That’s enough about me, I’m proud to invite Juliet Greenwood on to my blog.  She did a book signing in Llandudno, North Wales recently.  I’m nosey, so I asked her if she’d tell us how she got on.  Over to Juliet.

Thank you, Susan, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, and to talk about my recent experience of signing my novel Eden’s Garden in Waterstones in Llandudno. Because I live in a rural area in the hills of North Wales, my nearest Waterstones is a half-hour journey away. I drove along the coastal road on a gloriously sunny day, with the deep blue of the sea on one side and the fresh green of the mountains on the other, both excited and nervous and not quite sure what the day would bring. Supposing no one turned up and I sat there in utter mortification for the next few hours? Ah, there’s nothing like a bit of stage fright to get the adrenalin going. 

This wasn’t exactly my first signing. I’d had my lovely launch  in St Asaph with my editor and my wonderfully supportive friends, the North  Wales Novelistas. After Eden’s Garden was chosen as Welsh Book of the  Month for May, I’d also signed copies of books in several local bookshops, all  of whom had been supportive and seemed just as excited as I felt. But this was  my first signing in a big chain like Waterstones and it felt much more – well,  exposed. In both a good and a slightly nerve wracking way.  Because I’ve had quite a bit of press coverage since the  publication in March, I’d made up a small display board with press cuttings, a  few nice reviews and some photographs of the gardens that were the inspiration  for Eden’s Garden. Luckily they aren’t heavy and they swung over my  shoulder as I made my way from the car park to the main street. The street  wasn’t exactly busy, and Waterstones was ominously quiet. It was the first  sunny day in weeks, and despite the cold wind I was certain everyone within  miles would have gone shooting off to find a beach.

The staff  were lovely and made me welcome, settling me down at a table with my books,  along with the author’s essentials of a coffee and a glass of water. Then  the wait began. There were about three people in the shop, all of whom passed  me by without a second glance. I dithered. So do you shout out and grab a  punter as they pass? Possibly to find them slipping away as fast as they can  while everyone else gives you a wide berth. Do you smile sweetly and wait, as  people scuttle past, studiously avoiding your eye? The press cuttings seemed a  mistake, too. No one appeared to want to stop and study them, in case they  found themselves drawn into conversation and feel obliged to buy a book they  would never read. I had just decided this was a very bad idea  and maybe I should hide myself in the children’s section until it was time to  go home, when my first customer arrived. Then another, and another. As I chatted away, more browsers came nearer and began to look at the book and read the blurb on the back. People began to look at the photographs on my display board, so I could explain about Brondanw Gardens, the home of Clough Williams-Ellis who built Portmeirion, and which had been such an inspiration.

 I met some lovely readers that day. I loved chatting to them – even if they didn’t eventually buy my book. I secretly hoped that some would download it to their Kindles (at about half the price, so I couldn’t in all conscience blame them), and that some might come back and buy a copy anyhow. I met readers who shared my love of adventurous women and gardens, and who pounced on copies with the magic words ‘this looks like just my kind of book’. And throughout the day friends turned up to cheer me on and support me, which was great, too. Finally, I packed up my display board and made my  way home again. Making sure I stopped for an ice cream at the beach in quiet celebration that my signing had been a success – and fun, after all. I’m sure I’ll be back signing my books again somewhere  before long. But this time I shall feel relaxed about it, remembering the  lovely readers I met at Waterstones, and looking forward to more absorbing conversations along the way. So here’s to bookshops and readers! 

Author: susanjanejones

I write pocket novels for My Weekly and also enjoy writing short stories. Gardening and reading are my other pastimes.

10 thoughts on “A Book Signing.”

  1. I never thought of a book signing as being a scary experience, I always imagined that when a writer reaches that stage, they are super-confident! (I don’t know why I imagined that). This reminded me of a good chuckle I had last week when a friend posted on facebook “If anyone is interested, I shall be signing books in Waterstones this afternoon from 3pm until security throw me out”, hehe.

    1. Yes, I think lots of writers are modest Vanessa. If I’d written Juliet’s book, I’d be sending one to the Queen to read if she gets bored in her carriage during Jubilee celebrations. I like that comment about security throwing them out.

  2. Susan, the sun can be seen from Earth – so your booksigning is within sight! Well, there’s the cloud of getting it finished to deal with first, but once that’s gone!

    Will go back and read about the booksigning now – maybe I’ll pick up some tips for mine.

  3. That’s a writers’ positive thinking there Patsy, you’re so right. I can imagine me doing a book signing actually. My book will probably by a camp comedy the way I change names. I once tried writing a western romance, but it honesty ended up more like carry on cowboy. Still, I’m enjoying the journey….

  4. Good luck with those rewrites, Suzy! Loved your post, Juliet – I adore visiting Portmeirion when in North Wales (sis-in-law lives in Bangor). I can imagine how scary the signing must be, wondering if people will stop. I’ve only had a private one so far. Glad you had such response!

  5. Thank you for all those lovely comments!

    It’s funny Vanessa, I thought writers signing would be super confident too, but friends have told me they feel the same way too. It’s good to have friends and family along. A friend promised she’d keep on bringing the same book for me to ‘sign’ if no one seemed interested. It was curiously reassuring. The comment about security made me chuckle. I have to confess there was a bit of me that wasn’t sure they’d believe I was me and throw me out as some delusional! 🙂 Writers and self-doubt, eh?

    Enjoy Portmeirion, Rosemary! It is a very special place. When I’m a millionaire I’m going to spend at least one week a year staying in one of the cottages, drinking champagne on the hotel terrace, gazing over the bay …..

    I hope you picked up tips for yours, Patsy! And good luck with the rewrites, Susan. This time last year I was in the middle of mine and a book, let alone a book signing, seemed further away than ever.

    So you never know. Along with the self-doubt, hope springs eternal in the writer’s breast – which is a good thing or no book would ever be written!

    And thank you again for having me as a guest on your blog.

    Juliet xx

    1. Hi Juliet, do the people at Portmeirion know about your book? I think they should let you stay there for at least a week for all the publicity you’ve given them. You wrote it quickly if you were only in the middle of it last year. I’ve been toying with my ideas for ages. I think I’m mixing genre’s though. Someone told me that, and I thought the same. I’ve got a bit of all sorts going on. I need to think which story I’m trying to tell. So glad you could tell us all about Llandudno, enjoying your book. Thank you.xx

  6. Yay for your lovely reader pointing out such things! That’s why it’s so great to have such people read one’s work!! I’ve had so many writerly boo-boos most of which I’d not have noticed had not someone else pointed these out to me! LOL!

    Hello there Juliet!! Thank you for sharing your experience of a book signing! So so thrilled for you and glad the staff were fab and that you met such wonderful customers too. Forget the first few moments – the rest of the day was a great success for you! Take care

    1. Hey Kitty, so glad you popped by to let me know I’m not the only one who has major boo boos. I’m such a day-dreamer that even my characters change names half way through. I really must pay more attention. We’ll be signing our books soon Kitty, you never know…xx

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