Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 20 July 2014

BOOKSIGNINGS .....I'VE HAD A FEW ....

Time plays funny tricks on our memories. It seems like only yesterday that I first saw my name, and a story of mine, between hardcovers, but for the life of me I can't remember how I got involved with an anthology to raise funds for breast cancer research in the first place. Accent Press were the publishers and looking through the list of contributors I see there are quite a few from my short story agent of yore, Midland Exposure, so I'm assuming that's how I found my way in. That first anthology was called Sexy Shorts for Christmas and the year was 2003. There must have been a launch somewhere (although not a booksigning - I do remember that) because my copy has been signed by Christina Jones, Bernardine Kennedy, and Katie Fforde amongst others. Ah, it's coming back to me ....I think this might have been at the Groucho Club in London - anyway, I don't have photos of the day but I remember how thrilled I was that my short story was chosen. The second - Sexy Shorts for Summer - collected a few more famous names .....Veronica Henry, Adele Parks, Jane Bidder, and Carole Matthews being some of them. And from this I garnered the experience of my first booksigning - in W H Smith, Cardiff. Not all of us were able to attend that but with a few famous names in there I was giddy with excitement that I was involved. I passed on Sexy Shorts for Chefs because, well, I can cook for my family but a chef I am not and I didn't want to give anyone an upset stomach - or even kill them. But everything comes in threes so when the word was put out that there was going to be a Sexy Shorts for the Beach, how could I not seeing as I live just a hop and skip away from a beach? Catrin Collier was a new contributor, as were Dee Williams and Rosie Harris, along with many of the above, and also two writers who have since become great friends of mine - Jan Wright and Iina Brown. Alas and alack, I have no photographs to capture the moments for posterity. FaceBook and Twitter (and blogs!)were yet to appear in the ether so I don't think any of us saw it as social networking at all. My first experience of the glossy, glitzy, book launch with seriously big names - think Joanna Trollope,Judy Astley, Trisha Ashley and Elizabeth Chadwick (along with many of the above) was when my story, FROM RUSSIA WITH SOMETHING LIKE LOVE,was chosen for the first Romantic Novelists' Association anthology- LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT. For this I glammed up and turned up at The Cavalry and Guards Club. Again, I went without my camera, although I do have an official photograph of the line up. Back then writing a whole novel had never entered my head. But I was getting a feeling for this public stuff and so when I eventually did write one and my contract with my publisher, Choc Lit, insisted that I embrace social media, I did. My first, solo, booksigning was for TO TURN FULL CIRCLE.
And my second for EMMA: There's No Turning Back
The observant amongst you will notice I'm not shrinking violet (if a not very photogenic one!) and I've embraced the notion of the snazzy jacket to be noticed! And I have got to like booksignings because it means all my friends and family - and a few passers by who simply wander in for a free drink and a chocolate - gather in the same place. The atmosphere is always very buzzy but I confess to that dreadful sinking feeling you get before an exam that you might fail if no one turns up! Especially when the weather is foul which it was for my first solo booksigning. Happily for me - and for the Torbay Bookshop who have hosted me - both were a sell-out. But what now? Ebooks are the new kids on the block and taking over, aren't they? There was something hugely satisfying about signing my name and handing the book to a beaming reader, especially when it was someone I didn't know - friends and family being something of a captive audience on these occasions. I've had one full length novel and two novellas published as Ebooks now with another full length to come soon. But there's a part of me that thinks Ebooks aren't real. They can be deleted in an instant. And what if everyone who's downloaded our books does that? Is there no record of them anywhere as there is with books we can hold in our hands? My cousin, David's, nickname for me is Linda Luddite, because I took forever to give up my electric typewriter and buy a computer, go online. And a computer was fine in the end ... so I'm sure I'll learn to love Ebooks - in time!

9 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed your post, Linda. I don't think the rise of ebooks will put an end to book signings. Readers, and I am one, like to have a book signed by the author. I might download a book on kindle for holiday reading (or if it's free!) but I'll still buy the real book at a proper book launch and want it signed.

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    1. That's good to know, Mary. I've got a shelf in my book case for signed copies only - lovely.

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  2. Amazing how quickly things have changed in the publishing world, from 2003 to now, but I agree with Mary I don't think the changes will put an end to book signings - at least I hope not! Love the pictures and jackets (books and Linda) x

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    1. Yes, Gill, I think it's the sheer speed of all the changes that has been a bit alarming.....live in fear of being left behind with it all! Glad the jackets (both varieties!) pass muster.....:)

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  3. Oh Linda - I thought I knew quite a bit about you but you're even famouser than I thought... And before you say 'famouser' isn't a word - it is now! Really interesting post - especially your thoughts on e books. Let's hope there's always room for the old and the new.

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  4. I love the thought of being 'famouser', Guernsey Girl! But, as if ...! I, too, would like to think there is room for both and maybe ebooks and print-on-demand might be a good route to go down? Thanks for popping by.

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  5. I've been kicking myself for years that I never entered a story for the LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT anthology - but then again, I'm having to learn the craft of short story writing, and you're so good at it.

    I have done book signings - we had a terrific launch for WITH CHILD, BIRTH THROUGH THE AGES, my history of childbirth, and they are fun! And - fingers crossed - I'll be doing one at the beginning of October, in Edinburgh, for the launch of MAXIMUM EXPOSURE. You're all invited!

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  6. Oh, I'm so delighted that my pic of you in your jacket has come in useful, Linda!!! How great it looked! 'Famouser' is certainly a word now that several of us have used it! Trouble is, kid, by the look of it on the page it could be mistaken for 'Fa-mouse-er' ha, ha!
    Margaret P

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