Yesterday I hosted my first author event - just a small one, a meet-and-greet and book signing at Barnstaple Library. For a couple of days beforehand I went through long periods of calm broken by sudden attacks of gibbering panic, but it turned out OK. Part of the reason why is that a good number of friends turned up to support me, some of them writers and others from my work. I'm really grateful to them, so big thanks for that to Ruth, Colin and Sue, Gill, the other Gill, and everyone else.
Thanks as well to Elliot Anderton, who's a reporter for the local paper and who took a couple of photos, which will be in the Gazette with a write-up next week (Me! In the paper!). I was invited to do another signing at Bideford Library in the summer as well, and most importantly of all I sold a few books, so today was a good day.
And you know, it wasn't half so scary as I was thought it might be. Once I was settled I found I could actually talk a bit of sense (don't tell my Mum, she'll never believe it). Writing is one thing, but as I've said before, speaking sensibly about it is quite another. Sitting at my desk I get distracted sometimes, my thoughts wander, or else I write a bit and then delete it, write another bit and scribble half of it out before rewriting, and so and so - none of which really works when you're talking face to face. You'd come across as a stuttering loon. Also I have a tendency when nervous to make silly jokes. I'd be hopeless as a hostage negotiator.
But people are generally willing to make allowances for nervousness. We're a good-hearted lot, most of us, and sometimes in the midst of worrying about something we lose sight of that. I think I did, in the run-up to this signing. I still half expect a day to come when everyone points at me and laughs, and someone says "You didn't really think we'd let you call yourself a proper author, did you?" Silly of me, that. The books are selling bit by bit and the reviews are all good. What more can I ask?
Well, yes, apart from sales in the thousands and a film deal...
It's amazing what this does for the confidence. If you're thinking about doing a first author event, my strong advice is to crack on and do it - at your local Library, at a school, in a nearby second-hand book store; wherever you can arrange it. It's not just for the sales, or the publicity, but for the feeling it gives, like breaking through ice to cool water beneath. Maybe this is just my relief talking, but you know, that itself shows how enjoyable I found this.
Go on, put yourselves out there. I bet people will be glad to see you.