Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Meet the authors


I spent six hours in Newbury on Saturday. It was an interesting affair - publisher Tim Hirst had got together twelve authors to set up stalls in Newbury's Kennet Centre (the picture is where we were located, but before the authors were inserted). The idea was that all the shoppers would come in and see those lovely signed books and buy them as Christmas presents.

It managed to be a failure and a success at the same time - but certainly a worthwhile experiment.

The failure part was that none of us really sold many books. The sad truth is, most of the people going into the Kennet Centre of a Saturday weren't book buyers and had zero interest. I think the concept would work in the right location, with the right people - but this wasn't it.

The success was the opportunity to meet the stallholders. It was great, for example, to meet up with John Brindley, with whom I once shared an agent, but who I'd never met. And at the table next to me was Anneke Wills, one time Doctor Who companion, signing both books and photos - and she proved a fascinating person to talk to.

All in all, it was a few hours well invested. The books I did manage to sell covered costs and an interesting time was had by all.

2 comments:

  1. "It managed to be a failure and a success at the same time" I've always found this to be the case, as well. It is hard to get people to actually buy under these circumstances, unless it is a special "Xmas Fair" or something. I only have been able to sell books when I've gone up to people and forced my way into their presence and did my most wonderful song and dance act. Exhausting. But still, somehow, an interesting and -- dare I say -- important exercise.

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  2. What you say is interesting, Sue - about the only one apart from Anneke Wills who did do reasonably well in sales volume was a woman with a very determined friend who were aggressively stopping passers-by saying 'Are you are a reader? Here's a real page turner!' I just can't do this kind of interaction - I'm happy to chat, but I can't do the aggressive attention grabbing.

    I suspect, though, her coup de grace was that she was selling three fat novels for £10 the set - I can't buy my books for that.

    She did have one disaster, though. A man said 'No I can't,' in response to 'Do you read?' She hectored him - 'I'm sure you do!' and he came back 'No, since my stroke I haven't been physically capable of reading.' That shut her up for a little while.

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