A wet Saturday morning in St Albans. Maggie and I ducked into Waterstone’s to get out of the rain that had eased to a steady downpour. One of my favourite bookshops, so the rain wasn’t that much of an excuse. There was a guy sat at a table signing books. He was nobody famous and his book was a kiddies book so I paid him no further attention. Still, over a coffee and a toasted tea-cake, I pondered what steps he must have taken to get to that table. Just write a book, get it released and off you go? Nah! – I bet the process is a lot more tortuous than that, else everybody would be doing it, wouldn’t they?
On all our travels on two wheels, I always keep a diary. At home we have a little treasure chest full of them now; a bundle of happy memories. To begin with they were just notes of dates, times and places with names of people we’d met, memorable restaurants, that sort of thing. As we travelled further afield our ventures metamorphosed into adventures and there was more to write about. On our Pan-American Adventure the daily diaries were maintained and in addition we had a website to journalise along the way.
The Pan-American trip was always candidate for a book but I never once considered slapping a cover on the web journals and retiring these from the public domain. Our road raised many questions, offered puzzles and conundrums to be explored and solved and it had to be written up in my own style, which by now was maturing into something reasonable and ultimately readable. And so ‘Adventures in Yellow’ was born.
The birth itself was difficult. Lacking celebrity, a contract with a mainstream publishing house seemed as likely as a lottery win. Self publishing; fine if you can afford to fill your house with 10,000 copies of your own book, and are then prepared to try your hand at full-time door-to-door book salesmanship. The book now entered a horrible period of gestation as we tried to resolve this dilemma. Finally, perseverance and determination led us to the door of Indepenpress who immediately grasped the potential of ‘Adventures in Yellow’ and offered us a contract.
With the Gordian knot neatly severed, we entered the realms of book lay-out and design and the project gathered form and definition until one day the book-stork left a little package at our house. Within; the first twenty copies of ‘Leprechauns in Latin America.’
A wet Saturday morning in St Albans. The doors of the store were wide open so we could wheel Maggie’s bike into Waterstone’s to the specially cleared, centre-stage space. Outside, the rain had eased and it looked like it might turn out to be an all-right sort of day. There was a table laid out for a book-signing. The author was nobody famous but the bike in the shop and the books on the table had a fantastic story to relay. Still, over a coffee and a toasted tea-cake, I pondered the steps that had been taken to get to that table. Just write a book, get it released and off you go? Nah! – I bet the process is a lot more tortuous than that, else everybody would be doing it, wouldn’t they?
Hope you enjoyed this little piece on our first ever major book-signing event, which took place on Saturday 13th August 2011, Waterstone’s in St Albans. The signing was a brilliant success with the books selling like proverbial toasted tea-cakes. By mid-morning we had cleared the shop of all stock and Maggie had to nip home to replenish. We couldn’t have wished for a better day.
We’d both like to pay massive tribute to Steve Chilton for the fantastic encouragement and advice he has given us in co-ordinating this day and bringing it to a most successful conclusion. Thanks too to Gemma, Jeremy and all the staff at Waterstone’s, St Albans for all the help and hospitality offered to us today! We’ll be back…watch this space!