Some thoughts on book signings

I’m a very fortunate writer; I genuinely am. I’ve had the opportunity to host book signings in book shops and, now, in a library – and, I have to say, the library won, I’m afraid. The staff in both the book shop and the library were equally as friendly, but the atmosphere in the library felt more … convivial, more friendly, and more local.

it was a genuine pleasure to spend some time in Broadstairs Library, local to me, and I got to meet people who actually treasured such places as well as treasured books and local community spaces. It was a fantastic opportunity to not only sell and sign copies of my book (although that was, of course, why I was there), but also because I got to meet like-minded people; readers, writers, creative types.

A videographer and I got chatting about children’s fiction, which was very interesting, and a coincidental delegation from a successful writers’ group came down to visit; I knew them, which certainly helped, but the fact that one of them had come back from honeymoon the day before was touching.

I had a lot of support as well, fortunately; friends came down to support me, which was incredibly reassuring – I needed the friendly faces to assuage the bizarre nerves I always experience before a signing – and my mum and dad were there the whole time, and some of my uncles and aunts popped in and out; what a supportive group of people I have around me. Note to self: never take any of them for granted, and allow myself to be slapped senseless if I do. One of my pals also acted as cashier, to help me organise the money side of things, as I’m useless at all that, and I also got to have dinner in the evening with such a diverse group of people, I can’t even begin to describe what a range of people I actually know.

But I do have a confession to make. I stole a pen from the library. It wasn’t deliberate, I assure you, but it did happen. Of course, it wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t so forgetful; I mean, who organises a book signing, goes along as the host, and then forgets to take A PEN with them? Well, I do, to be fair. I had the books, some loose change, advertising material, a table (supplied by the library – I don’t go lugging one round on my back, although I’d be intrigued to try one of these days), and that was about it. I did not possess, however, a pen. Well, that’s a slight lie; I have plenty of pens, but they were all at home, and I most assuredly wasn’t.

Thankfully, the library staff took immediate charge and furnished me with a selection of pens (what service) which I alternated between during the signing because I like to mix things up slightly. I was pleasantly busy during the two hours of the signing, with about 35 people turning up to talk (and buy) books, which was incredibly thrilling.

We actually over-ran by about forty-five minutes in the end because I was busy talking to people and ranting about … well, whatever particularly took my fancy at the time. Mostly, though, I was just enjoying the atmosphere of talking to people about writing, life, the universe, and whatever took our fancy.

Eventually, though, we had to depart, and I put the pen I had in my back pocket. It wasn’t until I got home later on that I realised I hadn’t returned said item to the library staff, thus turning me into a common or garden-variety thief. And after the library provided so much hospitality to me in the first place.

I shall, of course, be flagellating myself in horror at the next available opportunity (I think I have half an hour free on Thursday afternoon), and owning up to my terrible crime at the earliest opportunity. Whether the library staff have even noticed my thieving ways or not depends on how many of them read this paper, of course.

All that said, the book signing itself was a brilliant couple of hours (well, nearly three, in the end, but only because I can talk for England when I need to), with so many people coming out to support me and buy my book (Elysium’s Shadow, in case you were wondering, available directly from my publisher or all those fandangled other sites like Amazon and … oh, who knows, but it’s out there now). That was such a genuinely lovely opportunity to meet fellow readers who are passionate about what they want to read, and who wanted to support a local author.

Science fiction a guilty pleasure? Drop the word guilty, and then you might be on to something. In the meantime, does anyone have a pen I could borrow?

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