Less than a month to go until publication now, and it’s still all about firsts for me. I got to hold my first hardback copy of my first novel this past week, and the best part is that I got to do it at my first author event. The lovely folks at Allison & Busby agreed to let York Literature Festival have a batch ahead of publication, so walking into Waterstones in York and seeing them stacked nicely front & centre, was a little surreal. I thought it’d be a timely post to write in light of the event, as when I first put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard), I did so with so certain amount of naivety. The idea for the story came to me twelve years ago, long before I’d been to any author takes or signings, and I was focussed on finishing the book, not realising how involved authors are in promoting their books once they’re published.
Wind the clock forward to March 26th 2018, and I found myself sat up front, looking out into a room full of people, admittedly not all there just to see me mind. I was appearing with A.A.Dhand (who if you haven’t already read, you really need to rectify that ASAP) so pretty sure he was the main draw, and I was happy to play Debbie McGee to his Paul Daniels. I have a habit of going off on obscure tangents, and when you combine that with a bit of a dark sense of humour, I’d almost convinced myself I’d end up saying something that would offend the room, and end my career as an author before it had begun! Thankfully, the next hour passed in an enjoyable blur of questions from Rob O’Connor (festival director and interviewer for the evening), with not a single heckle from a really lovely crowd, not even my wife who was sat in the front row.
I’ve talked to friends who are in the early stages of careers as published authors, and some who are still working on their first manuscript, and it’s interesting to hear their thoughts on this aspect of being an author. Some aren’t keen, and would rather leave the marketing/selling to their publisher. Personally I enjoyed every minute. There were a few nerves, but all good ones – more anticipation than anything. I’ve been to so many of these events as a reader and love how relaxed and conversational they are, rather than just an hour of “Buy my book, you know you want to.” For my first as an author, I just kept reminding myself that anyone who had dragged themselves out on a chilly Monday evening in York, was there because of a common interest, and a shared love of crime fiction. The Festival team, and Waterstones York made me feel relaxed as soon as I walked through the door, and the audience were great to chat to. I’ve got a few more events coming up over the next couple of months, and can’t wait to meet loads more new people at them to chat about crime fiction in general, not just my own books, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I drop them into conversation now and again.