#IWSG Book Signing: Lessons Learnt

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This post was written in response to The Insecure Writers Support Group, which posts every first Wednesday of every month.

My First Book Signing Event: Lessons Learnt for #IWSG

Last month I wrote about the insecurity I felt regarding my first book signing event, and this month, I’d like to tell you about the lessons I’ve learnt and offer some advice and encouragement for other insecure writers.

My To Do List was laid out in last month’s post, and I followed it to the letter.

It took place in a local book shop in the centre of the town where I live (Córdoba, Spain), on Tuesday 27th of October at 8.30 in the evening. I chose this date because I wanted it to take place as near as possible to Halloween, as the novel is set on and around All Hallows. It is not a horror story, but there are enough gothic elements to warrant this date as significant for the context of the novel.

Ana and me

Me with Ana, the owner of the book shop.

It may seem late in the rest of the world, but in the south of Spain 8.30pm is still early. We left the book shop at 11.00pm! I’m sure the eight bottles of wine we consumed must have kept everyone engaged! There were about sixty people, although there was only a small group of eight wine-and-book-lovers at the end!

The book shop has a baby grand piano and one of my ex-students, who is a pianist played romantic music on the piano throughout the event, before and after my talk.

Piano and me

                 Antonio playing the piano while I’m signing.

I gave a short talk, under an hour, about Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, and how they had inspired me to write my novel. I read a short extract, too, and I answered questions. Fortunately, some of the participants had already read the novel in kindle format, and they also took part in the discussion.

Lucy talking

Luccia talking about her novel.

Lucy and antonio reading

Luccia and Antonio reading part of a conversation between Jane and Mason

After that, I signed the copies of those who had bought the book, gave little merchandising presents you can see in the photo, while the piano played and wine was served. It was a wonderful moment. All the stress was over, and I could relax, listen to the music, and chat with my readers.

Most of those who came were Spanish. Almost all of them are able to read the book in English, although some of them were eager to have a Spanish translation. In fact, I had already toyed with the idea of translating it, but now I’m taking it very seriously. I’ve promised my Spanish friends that it will be published in Spanish next year, so I’m gradually doing so, with the help of a retired professor. It’s going to be a slow process, but it’s something I feel I have to do, as I live in Spain, and also there is a very large Spanish-speaking population who would be able to read my novel.

There was information in the local press, in a newspaper called El Cordoba. They were very interested. In fact they’ve also interviewed me and the interview will be published this week, so I’m very excited about that.

It was also advertised on Facebook by the book shop and on my author and personal page. I think it was very useful in getting the message to people I don’t normally see, although they live nearby.

Lots of people took photos, so there are plenty of them, as you have seen.

What I’ve learnt from this experience

I always knew I loved my readers, but meeting them and talking to them is unbelievably motivating. I’ve been in a whirlwind since it happened. I’m translating book one, preparing the paperback edition of book two, and writing book three. I’ve been interviewed for the local press, and I’m going to approach English press in Malaga (a nearby town, where there are many English and northern European residents). I’m also planning to do more book signings in other bookshops in other towns, and cities in Spain, and hopefully in the UK.

I really recommend giving a talk and answering questions.Working with book clubs seems a great option (I can’t do that because there are n English book clubs where I live).

It’s vital to cause a buzz before by advertising in as many virtual and real places you can think of.

I also think it’s a good idea to have promotional presents such as book marks, fridge magnets, etc. I feel I’m selling a product which goes beyond the reading experience, not only a novel. I love the idea of my novel on people’s fridge’s!

Promotional marketing

Book marker, fridge magnet, purse mirror, and Chapter 1 in Spanish

The most important part is meeting readers, getting your book into bookshops, and the promotional aspect.

I sold over 30 books, which I’m thrilled about, although I earned nothing! CreateSpace, transport, the bookshop, merchandising, and the wine, took it all and more! I suppose the next events will be smaller, but it’s all about getting the word out there…

I don’t think it matters if no money is earned, although this may not be the case for everyone. It’s more of a long-term investment and promotion. (I’m fortunate enough to have a day job, which takes care of my bills).

One thing I’ve learnt is that Independent authors need to think long-term. I’m sowing little seeds here and there which I don’t expect to reap at once. I published All Hallows at Eyre Hall in 2014, Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall in 2015, and I’m currently writing Midsummer at Eyre Hall. I’d say I need 4-5 years to make even a small name for myself. I’m in no hurry, so I’ll just keep on writing and promoting because I love it. I’m not feeling insecure this month for a change 🙂

Writing is like life, it’s a journey, not a destination.

Enjoy your journey!

Have a look at what some of the others are writing about!

27 thoughts on “#IWSG Book Signing: Lessons Learnt

      1. I wish I could fly to and from countries on whim. Maybe one day. I’m glad your event went well. I decided I would send The Long Way Home to two publishers before pursuing the self pub route. Fingers crossed. I may know something, either way, by the end of the year.

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    1. Thanks Olga.💖 I’ve lived here for many years, so there are many people who wanted to support me. I’m not sure I’ll always have so many people coming in other cities… but I hope so!

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  1. Sounds like your event went really well. Translation seems a good idea in your case. I know it’s something I’m already thinking of for myself. Good luck with the next book and all you’ve planned. You seem really well organized, so everything is just a question of time.

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    1. I was terrified last month while planning, but worry is sometimes good because it encourages you to check and double check and plan ahead etc. When the moment comes just let it happen! I know it’s easier said than done 🙂 but it’s definitely worth doing. I think the biggest push is that you’re publicly saying, “Hey, I’m an author!” And at least for me, part of it is believing in yourself!

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  2. This all sounds very exciting, Luccia. A very well timed book signing. Sounds like a delightful occasion. I love your merchandise. I can just imagine the cost of putting on such an event. Hopefully, over time, the cost will be minuscule compared to the rewards. Maybe it already is! 🙂

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    1. One of the best rewards is that I’m beginning to ‘feel’ like a writer. People are starting to refer to me as a writer. I’m ‘believing it, and that’s giving me lots of energy and enthusiasm💖✒📖

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      1. That is very exciting. It is not only important to change others’ perceptions, but your own as well. If you don’t have the confidence to call yourself a writer, you can’t expect others to either.

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  3. This is so exciting Luccia – congratulations on an event well run! I’m so pleased it has been such a positive experience and I’m really impressed with the organisation you have put into it. You are right meeting readers is motivating, I’ve had the same experiences and loved people wanting to talk about my books. Well done!!

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    1. Thank you, Mary💗 I was interviewed for the local press after the event, and when the journalist asked me which was the most gratifying part of being a writer, I said meeting my readers and getting feedback from them via reviews, FB comments, twitter etc. It’s a powerful experience when you meet people who are as excited about your characters and story as you are! When people in Spain, where I live, whose English isn’t advanced, try to read it and ask me to translate it asap because they love it, but it’s a struggle in English. I’m translating it with the help of ‘experts’ because readers are my greatest incentive.

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