My first book signing

June 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Last Thursday I went to my first ever book signing as an author.

The bookstore where I was scheduled to do the signing was a good 50 minutes’ drive from my home and in an area I wasn’t too familiar with, but with the help of a friendly policeman, I was soon seated in A Lot of Books, a small bookstore in the Ipswich City Mall.

They had set up a table and chair for me in the only available space – the doorway! While this certainly had its plus side – everyone who walked in the door couldn’t help but see me – it also had its down side – everyone walking past saw me too!

Engaging in conversation with people we don’t know is tricky for most introverts. I am no exception. I had taken a basket of chocolates to tempt people to talk to me. I’ve often found that chocolate is a great way to get people to like you. It worked in this case. Two minutes after I sat down, a lady exiting the store stopped to have a chocolate and then went back into the store to purchase my book! That was a pretty good start.

Most people were happy to have a bit of a chat. Some people went out of their way to avoid making eye contact with me, though. Were they just shy? Maybe. Or maybe I reeked too much of salesperson. It was clear I was there to sell them something and they weren’t always keen to find out what it was. In spite of this, I only had one truly negative experience. A man who was passing was offered a chocolate. Noticing a ring on his left ring finger, I assumed he was married, and asked him if he’d like to buy a copy for his wife. ‘Oh, I got rid of her,’ he said. ‘And the kids. Divorced them all as soon as I could. They’re all trouble.’ He proceeded to tell me how all young people are a waste of space and are getting worse. Feeling a bit ticked off, I pointed out that a Greek poet said the same thing in 800 BC, but he then told me that kids in Perth and Adelaide knew how to respect their elders. I think he had a chronic case of ‘the grass is always greener’.

Fortunately, that man was the only bad experience, and I sold six copies in three hours. And it was interesting sitting there watching people go past. As Anne Shirley would have said, there was a lot of ‘scope for imagination’ in watching those people. Maybe some of them might end up in my next novel. Maybe the grumpy man will too. Characters like him are interesting to write, just not so much fun to experience when they’re in front of you!