I think everybody who writes a novel hopes that one day they will become successful enough to hold a book signing. Not everybody gets to that point and most authors who don’t have a publisher behind them won’t. I am not most authors though and I was determined that I wasn’t going to take a break from writing until I had realised that dream. I won’t go into the ins and outs of how I got the gig. It’s not important but I woke up one morning and decided I was going to arrange my first book signing and wasn’t going to bed that night until I had done it. I am one determined young(ish) woman.
The signing was originally planned for Saturday 20th September 2014. As some of you who read my previous blog may have figured out by now, it didn’t go ahead. I managed to fall victim to the stomach bug Luke had been suffering with that whole week. By midnight on the Friday before it, it was clear that I wasn’t going to make it out of the bathroom any time soon, never mind into the town centre to hold a book signing. The irony is that, as I mentioned in that post, I used to cry off sick to get out of public speaking as a teenager but there I was, a confident 34 year old, desperate to speak in public and I really was sick. Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it?
I was really very lucky to get a chance to reschedule and I was determined not to let anything stand in my way the next time. So, the morning of Saturday 4th October was to be the rescheduled time.
Yes, I got ill the night before that too. A head cold this time, but I filled myself up with Lemsip and trowelled on the makeup. Thanks to the stomach bug the vintage dress I had picked out to wear fit like a glove. Silver linings and all that, eh?
Disaster struck early on that morning. The weather was threatening to ruin my professionalism. I couldn’t find my umbrella and had two choices. Go out in my scuzzy old parka or steal Luke’s Tree Fu Tom umbrella. The Tree Fu Tom umbrella seemed like the lesser of two evils.
When I arrived in Kilmarnock it was clear I wasn’t quite as organised as I thought I was. I had a huge box of books, a heavy tin full of cash, posters, business cards, a handbag and an umbrella to hold and only two hands. I couldn’t leave either the books or the cash tin in the car or unattended at the cafe and would have no choice but to make one trip. So I loaded my handbag up with the cards and cash tin (like it wasn’t already heavy enough), stuffed the posters under my arms, cradled the umbrella between my chin and shoulder and somehow managed to also lift the box of books. Then my contact lens slipped around the corner of my eye. Yes, I looked like a hunchback with a glass eye, traipsing down Portland Street. With a toddler’s umbrella. And despite being so early in the morning, it seemed incredibly busy and not one person offered to help me. Chivalry is indeed dead.
The first couple of hours were quiet. The staff were lovely in Costa and gave me a free tea and a pep talk when I was looking slightly defeated after an hour of no customers. At that point I texted my “rent-a-crowd” to come and keep me company. That would be my husband. Yes, my crowd was one person. He turned up and ordered the world’s biggest latte, ran out to buy me a lipstick (I had forgotten it in my umbrella drama) and a cardigan (vintage dress I had picked out wasn’t quite warm enough for October).
I was around two hours into the event when I got my first sale. It was a copy of Leger Cat Sleuth for a 13 year old boy called Cameron, followed by a copy of Leger’s Eyes, also for him. Then a woman bought Leger’s Eyes. From there on in, it only got better. As well as the cafe patrons, my family trooped in en masse. My parents, sister and brother in law (who had a domestic and both ended up in tears – don’t ask), my Dad’s cousin, my uncle and cousin all came in to buy books and support me. I also finally met a Twitter friend, Tony, and his son that morning, had a good chat with, Louise, who I used to work with in another life and haven’t seen in years and had a chat and a drink with Julia, a girl I knew from school.
I ended up exceeding my sales target for the day by 70% and I had the most amazing experience. It really went so much better than I had hoped, despite having a shaky start. I’m not convinced that I want to arrange another one any time soon. It takes a lot of work to organise and I had to pay out the money for the paperbacks in advance. I have quite a few left over, which will obviously be used for another signing at some point, but for the time being I may lay low. I really want to take Luke to Disneyland next year and that will obviously not be cheap. I need to get a job if I want to do that so I’ve been applying for a couple of positions and I’m currently waiting to hear about a job I can do from home that pays great money. I’m still going to be writing and finishing off the Leger Christmas trilogy as well as working on the next series of Leger stories and another project too (not a book, details to follow). I would love to hold another book signing but I think it will be the other side of Christmas. Right now, I just have too many irons on the fire.