I came across some advice recently on a writers’ blog, about handling your first book signing. I was briefly interested as this is likely to happen to me at some point, but I don’t know what I expected. Hints on how to interact with readers, perhaps; how to sign a thousand books without getting cramp; how to respond to difficult questions or prolonged conversations – maybe even how to deal with critical comments. But none of these figured at all. Instead the points were these:
- get your helium balloons inflated early
- if you are an introvert, take breaks from people
- dress comfortably
- iron the table-cloth
- if you bring bags of bite-size candy to give it away, bring scissors to cut the bag.
Wow. I confess to being a bit gob-smacked by all of this. OK so the word ‘candy’ gives away the transatlantic location; but you could just as well be organising a birthday party or a jamboree; there’s no reference whatsoever to books or fiction or signing or interacting with readers. And it made me very depressed. So here are my plans:
At my first book-signing there will be no bite-sized candy to give away; instead there will be bite-sized poetry.
At my first book-signing there will be no tablecloth. I will wear comfortable clothes but they probably won’t be ironed.
At my first book-signing there will be books and there will be live poetry.
At my book signing there will be conversation and dialogue. There will be meetings of minds. There will be interaction between me and my readers, whom I will be interested and happy to meet, even if they are critical.
At my first book-signing I will sign books.
And you can cancel the helium balloons. We won’t be needing them…