Lessons from a learner: Author signing events

Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the West Coast Fiction Festival.

In short, it was amazing. It was a fantastic day spent in a room full of authors, books, and booklovers; followed by a night of drinks and dancing with those same people. (Disclaimer: I was on the organising committee, in particular being admin of the Instagram account and writing the readers’ newsletters. So I might be a little bit biased, but based on independent feedback, I don’t think my perception is too rose-coloured).

It was also my first book signing; I am sure it won’t be my last. I may have come home with over 100 signed books (this included books I pre-ordered, some I already had, and some I bought/acquired on the day). My children have put me on a book buying ban.

book pic

It would have been a fabulous day because of the all the booklovers, but we also raised $18,000 for Share the Dignity. This just goes to show that a group of people working together really can make a difference.

The warm fuzzy feelings and practical achievements aside, as an aspiring (soon to be emerging!) author, I came away with some helpful observations.

  1. The writing world is full authors who are supportive and encouraging. This is awesome, and I feel so amazingly lucky to already be a tiny part of this.
  2. Following from point 1. Be a giver, not just a taker. Support other writers. It won’t take anything away from you, and it will totally work for you in the long run (not that this is why you should be doing it, but it is an added side benefit).
  3. Find your tribe. Ok. I didn’t get this from the West Coast Fiction Festival, but it did help with the lesson. Having people who get you and understand your journey is so important.
  4. Enjoy every minute. Writing is hard work and it can be very lonely. But it is so much fun too. So when you have the chance to experience a group event focussed around your art – go for it!
  5. Swag is important. I did not know this. This is going to sound stupid, but there are a lot of creative authors out there. I mean, clearly I knew they were talented in terms of writing, but these people can make stuff, and bake, and take beautiful pictures and all sorts of other things too. It’s never too soon to start thinking of your “thing”.
  6. Practise arranging books (and swag) artfully. Or find a talented assistant. Or develop your own version of artistically messy (disclaimer: this is not actually a thing that I have seen, this is my own wishful thinking).

That’s it for now. Keep being awesome.

I have some books to read. Not to mention some books to write.

Happy reading,

Cate xx


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