The Book Signing
I think it must be every author’s dream. You write a book (difficult), you find a publisher (tricky), you start marketing it (impossible) and then the book comes out. Your local book shop agrees for you to do a book signing (hurrah!!)
So I arrived at Waterstones in Bedford last Saturday with a box full of books. My books!! It all felt so surreal. There was my poster in the window – me, at Waterstones from 10am to 4pm!! I pinched myself, remembering standing outside the same shop just a few months before, wondering whether I would ever make it into that shop window. Well here I was, I’d done it and believe me I felt quite emotional as I walked in and spoke to Kay, the manager. She’d organised a table to display my wares. I took half a dozen books from the box and laid them out, together with a copy of the poster and the book cover I’d put in picture frames. I was ready!
I stood by the table and a couple of people walked straight past me. They ignored me and this carried on for several minutes. I spoke to one of the shop assistants, ‘They probably think your just waiting for your wife – talk to people’ she said. I pondered this, my publisher had said, ‘ Don’t push your book on the people at the store. Let them come to you.’ To hell I thought, I’ve been in sales all my life, surely to God I can sell a few sodding books. I thought back to my previous incarnation. When I worked at motor shows we always wore badges. I ferreted in my pockets and found a business card. It didn’t matter what it said but it showed the customer that I was a something in the shop. I borrowed a pin and stuck it on my jacket. People then walked past me and looked at the badge, this was my way in.
‘Good Morning,’ I said, ‘My name is Barrie Hyde, I’m a local author and my book was published last Thursday. Waterstones have very kindly agreed to let me promote it today.’
‘Oh’ said the first bloke I spoke to and he walked on.
‘Were you on the radio a few days ago?’ asked a lady. My heart went pitter pet, I was in! We spoke about the book and the radio , then she looked me in the eye, ‘I’ll buy a copy’ she said. I wanted to burst into tears, ‘My first official sale’ my mind screamed , ‘I’ve got a real punter!!!!’
Coolly I said, ‘Would you like me to sign it?’
‘Oh yes please’
My hands were shaking as I took out my pen. I signed and she went to pay. It reminded me of the old advert, ‘The Del Monte Man, he said yes!!!! The lady said yes and she’d bought my book!!!!!
Various friend came in and bought copies, other customers came in and bought copies, I was on a role, in my comfort zone selling a product. I always knew that 30 odd years in motor finance wasn’t a complete waste of time. I was finally able to put my experience to good use! Come ten to four I’d sold my last book. My brother and his wife walked in, they’d driven over a hundred miles to support me, my wife appeared, she took pictures, the day was over, a complete success. I hadn’t even stopped for a glass of water.
‘Come on’ I said to the family, ‘I’m in profit,’ lets go to the pub to celebrate. We sat in a pub garden and had a couple of beers. What a day and what a feeling! Finally I had a result from two years of hard labour. I was now a published author who had actually sold his books. The question is, ‘What the hell do I do next?’