Bookmark and Share

Monday, 28 June 2010

Publicity, Book Signings and the Birth of a Book

Apparently if an author organises a signing in a place where they have no personal connections, then the average number of copies sold is 6, according to Will Atkins, my editor, who was talking to delegates at the Winchester Writers Conference. (More about that in the next post when I have had time to process it all! Highlights from this great event included an address from Terry Pratchett who described writing as "moving through a valley full of clouds")

I have two signings about to happen - my first apart from my launch a couple of weeks ago. I'm a little nervous I will be sitting in Waterstone's in Lancaster and Kendal on my own - a lonely figure surrounded by a pile of unsold books! So I was relieved to see that the  North West Evening Mail have just printed an article about The Lady's Slipper here explaining a little about the background to the book, and how I came to write it, so I'm hoping a few people will be prompted to come along.

I have been trying to time it right so that the publicity arrives in the paper just before the signings, and not afterwards, but the editors of local newspapers seem to be a law unto themselves and  frustratingly, it doesn't always work out. For example there will be a feature about the book in the Lancashire Evening Post on Saturday when the signing is the Thursday before. Has anyone got any neat tips on how to get these things organised? Or any tips on what the public like or want to know from an author?

I am however looking forward to them. I enjoy talking about the research I did for the book, and about how I kept track of it during the writing and editing process. And I'm looking forward to people's questions and how I might answer them. I will post up some of them afterwards with my responses so you can get a flavour of what I was asked.

And as my 'homework' beforehand I am reading Wolf Hall, winner of the Man Booker Prize, which is the historical book on everyone's lips right now. Only about two thirds through, so hope I will have finished it by Thursday. From a very strong start it is now taking a bit of ploughing through as the political complexities take a bit of unravelling. But I cannot help but admire the writing, a great fat book in the present tense, bringing the Tudor Court to life with shocking immediacy.
You can get it in the black cover or the white, I wonder if one has sold more copies than the other? Mine's the black version, so I've featured the white.

And if you want to read how a historical novel is born in the printers, Gabrielle Kimm has a superb description of it here.

The Events page has details of my signings in Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow-in-Furness.


  1. Having bought many a book simply because I saw a writer sitting there all alone, I'm prompted to wonder who the other five people might be out of Will's average of six. I really ought to get to know them.

    Hope your signing goes rather better than that.

  2. Hi David, when you know who they are can you send them along to my event on Thursday?!

  3. Wolf Hall hasn't had uniformly rave reviews among the MNW community (although some loved it).

    The contrary perspective is explored here: