Dylan Jones: A bad book signing

Share

Two. That's right. Two. Not three, not four and certainly not five. It could have been worse, I suppose, but only by two digits. This was the number of books I sold at a signing I did on Saturday at the Notting Hill branch of Waterstone's. More successful authors had told me that book signings could be sobering experiences (a friend signing copies of his book in a store in Chicago was only approached once in two hours, and then only by someone who mistook him for someone else), but I didn't realise there'd be no booze at all. Not even a sniff of the barmaid's apron.

Having just published a book, I was keen to publicise it any way I could (as my agent always likes to say: publishing is largely self publishing), and although it was selling better than certain political autobiographies, it could obviously always sell a little more. I'd been asked to do the signing because I'm a "local author", and it was a request I obviously leapt at. Rachel Johnson had done something similar and her book - Notting Hell - had sold more than 700! In hardback! But I hadn't written Notting Hell, and nor do I look like Rachel Johnson, and it didn't look like it was going to be my day.

Curious shoppers would approach the table and stare at me as though I were in a cage, giving me the sort of looks that said, in extremely broad brushstrokes, "I'm looking for any book other than yours". Apart from two books that I'd been asked to sign by a woman who obviously had something better to do (she wasn't there in person), the only customer (and I use the word with some reservation) to speak to me during the first half an hour was a belligerent bloke who demanded to know what my book was about.

"It's an etiquette guide for normal men," I said.

"Ha, so what would you consider normal?"

"Well, it's for men like you and me," I said, slightly through gritted teeth.

"And what makes you qualified to write it?"

"I'm 46," I said, with a rictus grin on my face. "I've done most of the things in the book."

"So what!?" said my potential customer, before walking off with a comically angry look on his face.

And that was pretty much that. For the next half an hour I sat behind my trestle table, just in front of the crime section, flicking through The Cloudspotter's Guide, trying to placate my eldest daughter ("Daddy, why aren't you selling any books?") and trying not to sulk. Then, at five to three, having sat behind my table for a long and uneventful hour, a smiling man approached the desk, gesturing towards the bookcase behind me.

"Excuse me," he said, beaming. "You couldn't move, could you? I'd like to take a look at the Agatha Christies."

Dylan Jones is the editor of GQ

d.jones@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The law is too hard on sexting teenagers

Memphis Barker
 

Obama must speak out – Americans are worried no one is listening to them

David Usborne
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game