Thursday, April 14, 2011

Collective Buzz

Like Anna, I usually spend days thinking about my next blog post and polishing it to within an inch of its life, but this week I just haven’t had time. There were two reasons for this, both of them (as it turned out) very enjoyable.

Last Saturday I had my first ever book signing in a book shop, which was very exciting, but also scary. ‘Captain Paranoia’ inside my head kept saying things like “what if no one turns up?” or “what if no one wants to buy your books?” or even “what if they book shop manager has forgotten you’re coming?”. All potentially embarrassing situations. Why do our brains do that to us? It’s cruel and, as I should have known, totally unnecessary.

The book shop was small and not an awful lot of people turned up, but those who did were great and a few even bought my books :). I was doing the signing together with a fellow author, so I wasn’t on my own, looking like Billy-No-Mates. Best of all, the manager was brilliant and enthusiastic and I had a great time chatting to people. It didn’t really matter whether I sold anything or not, it was just good fun being out there, talking to potential readers face to face. Now I can’t wait to do it again!

The second reason why I’m winging it today is that I’ve spent the last three days helping out at the London Book Fair. It was my first time, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be really interesting and again, huge fun! I got to talk to so many different people and it was fascinating just to watch everyone going by the stand. I heard there were something like 23,000 people attending over the three days – it’s unbelievable how many people are involved in the publishing industry in one way or another!

The greatest thing about it though was the buzz, a sort of collective love of books that was almost tangible. Everyone there was at least interested in books, if not absolute book lovers passionate about the written word, and you could feel it in the air. The smell of newly printed books, the murmur of voices as deals were made, translation rights sold, and new collaborations agreed. I was soaking it up and came home fired up, wanting to write so I can keep on being a part of it all. It was amazing!

When I thought about it afterwards, it was a bit like when you attend a conference or any gathering of authors and readers. It’s that same communal spirit, because we’re all in it together and we’re bonded by our love of writing (and in our case, romance). Everyone else’s enthusiasm spurs you on and makes you want to go home and write even better books.

So that’s what I’m going to try and do now – is that how you all feel too?

Please come back on Sunday to read what Liz has to say – I think she’s had an even more exciting couple of weeks than I have :)


  1. What stand were you on at LBF? I can imagine the buzz - and to approach writing from that side of the publishing curtain! Or is it more like sitting on the curtain rod?
    Sounds like you had fun.

  2. It sounds a very busy few days, but a lot of fun, too.

    A book signing must be terrifying, no matter how many times that you've done one. The questions that sprang into your mind prior to the event were the very things that I, too, would panic about.

    I'm glad that the signing, and also the LBF, turned out to be as enjoyable as they did.

    Liz X

  3. I agree with a book signing sounds terrifying! But i am so jealous of your time at the book fair...amazing.

  4. I'm so pleased both went well! Well done! Cx

  5. Glad I'm not the only one, but honestly, the signing was great fun and once you've started there's no time to panic (thank goodness!)

    Beaturvey - definitely sitting on the curtain rod - I love that, perfect description! It was very interesting to see things from both sides as it were. I was on the Choc Lit stand, next to a HUGE box of milk chocolate truffles! Restraining myself from eating them all was the hardest part :D

  6. Brilliant, on both counts! I'd love to get to the LBF one year.... kudos for the signing, for the LBF work, and for the restraint at not eating the chocs!!

  7. I love that feeling, Christina. It's good for us writers, esp. those like me who spend huge amounts of time alone. I'll be attending a friend's book signing (author Ann Shorey) on Saturday when she visits our town, having lunch with her and friends beforehand. Whenever my published friends are in town for a signing, I always make time to join them. Another pal is the person in charge of the signings and such at the store. It's just a fun, inspiring time (on a much smaller scale than a conference of course--wow, that is powerful. Been to a few big ones myself), but so good to spend a few hours with kindred souls.

    There's a conference going on now down near Santa Cruz, CA that I WISH I was at, and hope to be next year. The Mount Hermon Christian Writers conference. It's where I first met my agent.

    Congrats on your first signing! I'm sure if I ever have one I'll have those same dumb fears too. I don't know a way to turn that voice off. :)

  8. Thanks, Anna, although I did eat a few ... well, quite a few ... (ahem)

    Lori - yes, I love going to my friends' book signings/launches as well, it's great fun. And I'd love to get to a conference in the US some day, they sound awesome!