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 :)