The perils of a Book Signing
By Alan J Hill
“Please don’t wipe that on my book.”
“Yes, you are only the third person to speak to me in the last three hours and two of them were my wife and son.”
“No, I don’t decide the price of the book.”
“I’m not buying this, it looks rubbish.”
“Who are you anyway?”
Athena Press are a small independent publisher based out of Twickenham, not far from the Rugby ground that bears the same moniker, and they agreed to publish my books. And being small there is little funds for helping first time novelists to get noticed, so what do I do?
Well I blog on Amazon for a start but you soon find that the Amazon community do not take kindly to anyone trying to sell their wares and I soon got put back in my box for trying to do so.
I have employed an agent. Although I’m sure Nigel Roberts, ex-employee of Athena, does not think of himself as my agent but I don’t wish to insult him by calling him a sales person either. Basically, he uses the contacts he has made over his years to try and get my books into the bookshops of the UK. So, I’m luckier than most, in that retrospect I suppose.
But then… I get a report every week outlining the number of people and companies who have rejected me. A treat I look forward to with the relish of small child stood outside the headmaster’s office. But after you have been stood there once a week all term, it loses it’s fear and becomes a part of life, believe me.
But the end of the tunnel hasn’t been bricked up, light has begun to appear between the crumbling pointing. A buyer at Waterstones in Bristol is a fan of the fantasy genre and is also responsible for the children’s section. He wants to read my books! He likes the glossy covers and then offers me an event. On the brink of leaping for joy, he adds, but there won’t be much advertising as the budget is tight.
Of course it is, who the hell is Alan J. Hill, anyway?
Waterstones will buy some books for the shop but I have to take my own copies along too. And so the ‘event’ will be me, sat between the fantasy and children’s book shelves in Bristol Waterstones, with a table full of my own copies of my books.
I paint a bleak picture but I shouldn’t. The thought of sitting in Waterstones, with my own work scattered around me for sale, is very exciting. I am trying to manage my own expectations by telling myself that one sale will be a success, two will be good and three will fling me to the top 1,000 of Bristol’s bestsellers. But it is a step, and no matter what happens it will be a step in the right direction.
The signing starts at noon, and should last between 2-3 hours very much depending on how it goes. The buyer is a guy called Mark Scott and he will help me set up. I have done my own advertsing using posters from Athena. I feel excited, but probably will be nervous on the day.
If you want a chat with an author who wrote a book for his own children that is now available to all children then pop along to Bristol Waterstones, 11A Union Galleries on 12th June.
Even if you don’t buy I’ll be grateful for the company.