Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Good and Bad about Booksignings

Hi Everyone

I haven't posted here for quite sometime apart from posting some interviews with my new author friends. I have been quite busy with work and family and also some health problems. But I am back and this years regime is family,write, blog, re-enactment, sell books and take care of house. So, I'll go back a little and tell you whats been happening in the last couple of months.

Well, I have had a couple of Waterstones signings, one in my home town of Crawley in September which was quite successful. I managed to sell 13 out of 15 books, which I consider for my genre and the fact that I am a new independent author, really quite good. I then had an event at Crawley Library which was indeed successful with about 36 people in attendance. I thought that my initial success at Crawley Waterstones and the good rapport I had built up with the staff would endear me to other Waterstone stores and I was obviously very naive to think that. We had heard the news that Waterstones were about to get very selective about who they had doing booksignings, but because Crawley had been so welcoming, I figured that it was not as bad as whatevery one was saying...well at storelevel any way. And so I gaily abandoned myself to calling stores around the Sussex area to arrange a booksigning event and found that a lot of stores were either down right rude in their rejection or apologetic, saying that although they would love to help Indie authors, they were not allowed to. This seemed to be going against what their head office was telling my publisher, Silverwoods Books, but it seemed that whilst they were advising their stores not to cancel any events that people were booked in for, they should not book anyone in future that could not  guarantee queues at the till. Well, how many indie and unknown authors could do that? One of the most startling things I was told by one of the store managers was that my book was far too expensive for their customers at 12.99. She stated that she was hardly able to sell a book at 8.99 let alone 12.99. I explained to her that it was priced that high because it was a big book, around 150000 words, plenty of book for your money. But no, she wouldnt give in even though I'd sold nearly all of my stock at Crawley Waterstones, a less afluent area. I later went on to sell out at another store despite the price being 12.99 and when i am only getting about £2 return on that then thats the only way I'd getting anything.

Anyway, I failed to be deterred and carried on working through my list. Then I came upon a refreshingly interested lady called Celia in Maidstone and she invited me to come for a signing at there store in East St. I was very happy to have achieved a signing at last but I waited with baited breath for the inevitible email that would tell me regrettably that they had instructions to cancel me. An email did come, but it was to confirm that I was still available to come on that date. Happily, I returned the email confirming that I was and waited for the date to come around, which was on November 17th. On November the 10th I had arranged to have a signing with the wonderful John Pye in his Bookshop in East Grinstead High St, nestled in a row of marvellous Tudor buildings. In the afternoon I was to have an event at the museum which was to take place across the road in the East Grinstead museum. I had re-enactors come to demonstrate weapons and daily living in the 11thc. Unfortunately no one came to the museum event which was very disappointing. Although I had gicen them posters they hadnt really done a lot to advertise, but on the upside, I had a reasonably good day at the Bookshop and John Pye invited me back to have another signing which I did on December the 8th.

Then came the Waterstones event in Maidstone, East St. When I arrived the staff were very welcoming and chatty and advised me that they couldn't promise me a good day. In fact the lady last week they'd had in only sold one copy of her book to a friend. Oh dear, I thought. not what I want to hear. I wondered if I should just go home then and there! Anyway, I resoved to give it a good try. Long story short, after a very slow start, it suddenly took off. I sold the whole of the stock they'd got in. The staff were very impressed after their depressing prediction earlier! They admitted they had got it wrong - lol. I have been offered another signing in their other Waterstones Branch in Fremlin Walk sometime this year.

So on the upside there have been good and bad reactions to booksignings in Waterstones. I have also got a positive response from Hastings Waterstones also, so all is not lost where Waterstones are concerned. I have also got the chance of more library events coming in the new year and hopefully some more Museum Events. One thing I have learned is that its a hard world out there for Indie authors who dont have the luxury of a big publishing house to back them, market them and support them. But to me, the advantages of being self published far outweigh the disadvantages and I love being in control, something that a published author in the mainstream industry doesn't necessarily have. And this is not a career for me, but more of a hobby. The most rewarding thing is definitely not the money I might make on my book, which is quite frugal when sold through retailers, but the joy of knowing someone is reading my hard work and if they like it, its a bigger bonus in the happiness department as far as I am concerned.

And so I am working now on the edit of the sequel to Sons of the Wolf,  The Wolf Banner and hoping it to be published in the Spring., tells you more about the continuation of Wulfhere's story.

One of the biggest joys I have had is knowing that a group of people regarded my book highly enough to award it a medallion. Winning an Indie BRAG medallion last year was an amazing feeling!
And there is almost nothing that compares to the feeling you get when someone tells you they are reading your book and enjoying it immensely. For that I am always grateful.

So here's to 2013, more writing and more reading!


  1. Phew, you have been busy, Paula! Well done for doing all that and for persevering in the face of possible adversity. You certainly deserve every sale you've got so far - and the Indie Brag too! Just about to start reading your book now... :)

  2. Thanks Debbie, for taking the time to comment. I hope you enjoy Sons of the Wolf!


  3. Hi again, Paula. My comment seem to have disappeared...
    Just wanted to say it was lovely to meet you at East Grinstead. John Pye's bookshop is a little gem.

    Good luck with everything this year. May your sales be voluminous.

  4. Linked here from English Historical Fiction Authors on FB. Congratulations, Paula, both for your successful signings and for having the tenaciousness to get those gigs! Here's to many more.

    1. Thank you Anne for your kind words. I am just working on some library events as we speak. They're coming in fast!

  5. Interesting post. thank you Paula.