Monday, 2 April 2012

ABIDE WITH ME - the Lakeside Book Signing

A week after the first book signing at Romford Waterstones - my hometown book signing, if you like - I wandered into Lakeside Waterstones with my pull-up cover screen in a tube slung over my shoulder, and a box of bookmarks and balloons in my arms.  And a roll of sellotape. 

Lakeside is a massive shopping mall - a completely different experience from the town cenrtre signing at Romford.  My table had been set up at the front of the store, and looked excellent.  I unloaded my bits and pieces, set the cover screen up behind the table, and waited.

Me and my nephew George, chatting about the vagaries of life, waiting for punters . . .

I was extremely aware once I'd set up that a significant proportion of the sales at the Romford book signing were to friends and family.  Today, I was on my own.  Whatever sales I would make would be to complete strangers - a real test of both the book's appeal and my untested ability pitch singled-handed to the punters.  And slowly but surely, the sales started coming.  By lunchtime, I'd sold a few, and by mid afternoon a few more. George helped me shuffle the piles of books to even them up every time we sold one, and was a great help with keeping the bookmarks in some sort of tidy fan-shape thing as well.  'It was important,' he said.

Coming towards five o'clock, I'd struck upon the rhythm of this whole book signing thing.  If someone slightly hesitated walking past the stand, I'd hand them a bookmark.  It seems everyone loves a free bookmark, and more often than not, the person would stop for a chat - ask what the book was about, etc.  I'd briefly describe the book in a couple of lines - the description depending on who the potential customer was.  If it was a bloke, I'd focus on the football and the gangsters, if it was a woman, I'd talk about the friendship and the family elements of the book.  If the potential punter was younger than ten, I'd politely tell them it wasn't really a book for kids, offer them a bookmark and send them on their way.

  'It's very good, sir.  Twenty-four straight five stars on Amazon, don't you know :)'


A couple of highlights - a boy of about seven.  Sort of went like this:
BOY: Are you famous?
ME: Not really.
Boy picks up book
BOY: What's it about?
ME: West Ham and -'
BOY: Don't like West Ham.
Boy strides off - having made his point.

Another highlight - one of a number of genuinely really nice people - a bloke of about thirty:

Bloke picks up book
ME: Are you West Ham, mate?
Bloke looks up from the book, straight into my face, and pulls down his bottom lip to reveal the letters 'MUFC' tattooed onto the inside of his lip
ME: Man United?
Bloke nods.
ME: Do you know the score? <I'd recently heard City - United's great rivals were losing>
Bloke shakes his head, an air of anticipation that I will be telling him something he wants to hear
ME: City are losing three-one.
BLOKE: Fuckin get in there.
ME: And Dagenham are winning at Port Vale.
BLOKE: You a Daggers fan?  I got a load of mates go over Dagenham.  How much is the book, mate?'
ME: Eight ninety-nine.


'Twas a great day all round. 

And by the end, I'd sold more - in real terms, if you like, than at Romford the week before.

But after seven and a half hours on my feet non-stop, by the end of the day I was knackered.

Me.  Knackered

So, two down, four to go.  A week off next week.  Then it's the only indie on the list - The Newham Book Shop - just round the corner from the Boleyn Ground, where West Ham play.  The Hammers are at home to Brighton that day, so here's hoping for a brisk trade, eh :)

In other bits and pieces, the lovely Patti Abbott ran a piece I'd written about how I came to write ABIDE WITH ME.  You can take a look at it over at Patti's brilliant blog here

And finally, a great review of ABIDE WITH ME over on Booksquawk, by Bill Kirton.  Click here for a gander.  

Just want to thank everyone out there who is doing such a great job in helping AWM on its way with FB messages, Tweets, reviews, comments, etc.  Means the world to me.  It really does.  Thank you so much.

All the best,


1 comment:

  1. entertaining post, for sure! Glad it worked outr so well for you. Hope it continues