Have you ever been to a mass book signing? I’m guessing for most people reading this the answer would be no. It was for me, until last Saturday when I was an attending author at Books By The Bridge. Organised by the amazing Kat Massen, booklover extraordinaire, it was a totally virginal experience for me – and one I would be happy to repeat 🙂
The event was held at the Crystal Palace in Sydney’s Luna Park. I hadn’t been to the theme park since I was a kid. When I walked in and spotted The Rotor my stomach started churning just thinking about the last time I rode it (I won’t go into details but it involved a lot of spinning followed by a lot of vomiting). My nausea disappeared when I rounded the corner and saw a queue of people waiting at the doors to the event, standing beside suitcases. And do you know what those suitcases were for? Books. People had brought massive suitcases to fill with books they planned to buy. I couldn’t believe it! I’d never seen such a passion for books. Readers came from all over the country to attend Books by The Bridge and a couple of people even travelled from overseas.
And it only got better.
Some of the attending readers had compiled souvenir coffee table books with photos of the covers from each author’s books and came around to each table to get them signed. The time, effort and cost that had gone into these projects blew me away. Not to mention the enthusiasm. Many of them had come to see particular authors but stopped by to say hello, find out about books written by new authors and have their posters and other memorabilia signed. There was such a happy vibe in the room and any nerves I had quickly disappeared. There’s nothing better than meeting readers who enjoy your books and I had a few of those wonderful moments too.
I got to hang out with a bunch of wonderful Hachette authors (l to r in the pic below: Maria Lewis, me, Pamela Hart, Natasha Lester, Sally Thorne, J D Barrett and Bronwyn Parry) and our fabulous publicist Laura Boon, chat about books and writing and use my gorgeous new banner for the first time.
For anyone who loves books and reading this sort of event is nirvana. Spending the whole day talking to people who love what you love is sheer bliss. A variety of genres were represented, ranging from erotic to romance to urban fantasy, rural, historical and chic lit, and more. From the author perspective it was fascinating to see how devoted some readers were to their favourite authors, especially some of the Indie authors who have built up huge followings through their social media channels.
Despite the downpour that saw most of us getting soaked on the way out, we all went home smiling, some with very full suitcases. Even though I didn’t sell loads of books, Books By The Bridge was a brilliant experience and proof that books are not – and never will be – dead. Just like the sign said, everyone was a winner.