Being twice-published is something I’m very proud of. To have my first book relaunched is an honour of my first book, as well as an incredibly pleasurable experience.
A writer’s job is a solitary one, of course it is. A writer has to sit in front of their keyboard and write; you can’t be gregarious whilst doing that, otherwise words just wouldn’t get written. I’m comfortable in my own company, fortunately, so that’s not an issue. Many people I know have given me the support and friendship whilst I’ve written the book, even without them realising it. They’ve given me company, solace, advice, and guidance.
So, what happened this weekend? Well, I was glad to have Sara, Inspired Quill’s boss and founder, come and stay with me for two nights. Antonica also came down; she was the editor-in-charge, who edited this version of Fall From Grace and gently encouraged me (with eight pages of notes, no less) to take a really positive look at my book and work on making it even better.
So, on Saturday, I was very fortunate to have a book signing planned at the Waterstones at Westwood Cross, and I spent a very productive couple of hours up there.
In conversation with one of the booksellers, Sara found out that the average book signing of a non-famous author (like me) will sell between 4 and 7 copies throughout the course of a four-hour stint in store. We sold 21 copies in two hours. Excuse me while I go and repair my mind after being blown.
So many people came up to support me over a very busy lunchtime. Sara and I arrived at just gone 10.30 (thanks to Dad’s Taxis, a very famous and elite brand that only certain people can access) to set up. It was a quiet start, naturally, but things started getting busy very quickly; a number of members from the Writer’s Group I belong to came along (that was such a wonderful gesture of solidarity and friendship), as well as friends and family, ex-school teachers, and complete strangers. I was so touched by this outpouring of support that I didn’t know who to talk to first; I know I failed at talking to everyone as much as I would have liked, but speak to everyone I did. My mum and dad were, naturally, also there – in fact, they were there for the entire time and acted as my chief publicists. Look out for Mum’s Photography; she’s going to make it big, trust me.
Having lost track of time, we didn’t actually leave until 1.30 (half an hour after we officially finished) – happiness ringing in my ears. I’ve sold enough books, Waterstones felt, to feature in their bestseller’s list; I’m popping up today to see what number I reached.
If I belonged to a publishing house like … well, any of the big imprints, I doubt very much that the publisher and editor would spend the afternoon with me in my flat, drinking tea and putting the world to rights. With Inspired Quill, that’s exactly what happened; the three of us discussed life, words, and life again. A fantastic opportunity to spend a relaxed afternoon with people as passionate as me – if not more so – about books, diversity and people.
In the evening, thirteen of us went for dinner. A more diverse group I doubt you will ever find; Diana, Greyson, Claire, Sara, Helen, Kirk, me, Lucy, Christina, Antonica, Charli, Phill and Lynda, all with very different life stories. You always worry (or at least I do) when bringing different people together; will they get on. Will they feel comfortable talking to the other people round the table? I don’t know why I worried, of course; everyone easily found things to talk about, and the conversation seemed to flow. Again, I didn’t speak to everyone in the depth I would have liked (except for an in-depth discussion at one point on the Cold War and another on finding long-lost relatives), but I got to speak to everyone. Those who couldn’t make it were genuinely missed, and they are just as valued as those who were there.
The support I’ve had this weekend has been phenomenal; from all those I’ve mentioned, or alluded to, above, and from so many others who have given me their friendship, kind words and laughter. Having Fall From Grace relaunched has been something I’ve been looking forward to for months now, and to celebrate it happening with friends and family was the perfect way for it to happen. I just wish everyone knew how much I appreciated it.
Fall From Grace is now out there, folks; read it and see what you think!