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Being a writer's husband at book signings

Following my blog about ‘Being a writer's husband’ I thought that I’d follow it up with a blog about book signings from my perspective, particularly as Gina is five stores into a Waterstone’s Bookseller book signing tour for The Wonderful Demise of Benjamin Arnold Guppy.

First of all I run around like a headless chicken the night before and the morning of the book signing. I iron Gina’s clothes, top up the car with fuel, make sure we have loose change for parking, a pen, a camera (just in case), money or cards to make sure we can buy at least one new title at each event, snacks, bookmarks, posters, blue tack and copies of reviews for people to read.

Once we get to the book store and settle down, the following photos show what customers see when they come in.  What you might think they see first is Gina, sitting demurely with a friendly smile and pen at the ready with her books and reviews.

What they actually see the moment they step in from the outside world is me, grinning like a mad man, handing out bookmarks (over 600 handed out on average per event) to everyone, greeting them and letting them know that an event is on and where Gina is if they'd like to see her.

Ryoma handing out bookmarks

Charming sight don’t you think? No? Well, maybe you need to be there to really appreciate  the (subtle) approach that I take when handing out bookmarks as I pounce on everyone within sight. :)

If someone is kind enough to want to know a little more about Gina and her book before seeing her, I try to switch on the charm like this:

Turning on the charm!

"Sooooo, you're interested in hearing moooore are you?"

It’s something I need more practice with but there’s no harm in trying!

If they show even more interest I will escort them over to Gina and personally introduce them to her as she sits there, smiling in that wonderful big friendly way that she does. I then leave them with her and continue giving out bookmarks near the doorway.

Gina at Gloucester

And if someone becomes overly amorous towards Gina (which happens sometimes, see Gina's blog 'A book signing is no place to...'), I will step in politely and make sure Gina is alright. Of course, if they insist on being so rude then I will also insist they give the bookmark back like this:

Getting back the book mark!


And so the day continues until it's time to go home, but not before Gina finds a new novel or two to take home as a prize for the day. :)

What wonderful fun we have too!


18 Comment count
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I love it, Ryoma! The photo-essay is fantastic!! And your role as supportive partner is nonpareil. : ) So, what does Gina do when people are overly amorous towards *you*?? If it hasn't happened yet, it's certainly in your future! (And I don't mean me -- or anyone in particular -- in case Gina's wondering!!) : )

On a more serious note, the bookmarks idea is a terrific one. Six hundred per event! That's a lot of bang for probably not a lot of bucks. Good one!


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Glad you liked it Evie!

Well, funny you should mention amorous advances. The first amorous comment I have heard in over 22 years (from man or woman) came from a very complimentary gentleman who mentioned how handsome I was. I was quite flattered considering it is the only compliment I have received (other than from Gina) in over two decades! Gina was very pleased for me too. LOL!

We have found that the most cost effective way to order bookmarks is to order postcards and to design them with 2 or 4 bookmarks on each. If they are carefully measured and designed, guillotining them is very simple and fast. With careful ordering the cost is also drastically reduced to only a penny per book mark. 600 book marks to put advertising directly into the hands of people who actively read (why else go to a book shop after all) is a bargain for only £6! That's some serious targeted marketing. :)

I hope this helps other writers. :)

Thanks ofr posting Evie.

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This is too, too funny, Ryoma

I laughed all the way to the last word. AND I learned a lot. It's so fabulous you are able to corral the reading sheep to Gina. This is a very smart way to do it with the bookmarks, and I know this charming method will be helpful to many of us. Unfortunately, we don't all have a Ryoma to attend to our needs.

I've heard of an author' husband who has never managed to attend a single one of his wife's events. Not even the readings! You are a gem.

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I'm so glad that you enjoyed the post Belle!

If a partner is available I would certainly recommend they go along and give it a try, it's just so much fun! I think that energy is obvious to customers too which is fabulous. The shop assistants certainly notice and comment as well which in turn can lead to a feeling of supportive team spirit from them.

We learned very quickly that a catchy comment goes a long way towards hooking interest. I'm guessing that most writers have found the same thing.

We're new to this so if anyone has extra tips, we're all ears! We'd love to hear what people's experiences are and what else might work!

Thanks again for your kind, kind words Belle. :)

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Holy cow! Forget Gina, I'm

Holy cow! Forget Gina, I'm going to feel amorous toward you for your superlative, amazing, totally-over-the-top husbandness. As Evie says, a husband "nonpareil."

Great work! And I love this blog and the photos.

Yes, you better watch out for the ladies.

Once my former spouse and I were at a book festival in San Luis Obispo, CA, and he was sitting with me at the table. He was--by all measures and still is--a very good looking man. Women would walk up to the table and talk to him, saying, "Oh, you wrote all of these! Tell me all about it."

they glanced at me for about a half a second, and then turned back to him, smiling, moving closer. They dind't figure out he wasn't the author, despite the fact that the banner read "Jessica Barksdale Inclan." I hate to consider it was beacuse I wasn't as pretty, which likely, I was not.

I finally told him to leave because the women didn't have any interest in my books but in him. After he left, I finally managed to sell a few books.



Jessica Barksdale Inclan

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I found him second (after Gina) so you'll have to wait your turn, bitch.  Out of the way!

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You are cracking me up, Belle. "Hearing" you say bitch has me in a fit of giggles. You strike me as such a kind and gentle soul that it feels entirely incongrous to my perception of you. I love a girl who can surprise me!


Shana McLean Moore www.caffeinatedponderings.com www.sunnysidecommunications.com

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Snicker.  It's us nice, quiet ones who get away with murder, sister.

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Thanks Jessica

I have to amit it would be awkward if admirers started throwing themselves at me, wearing protective clothing would slow me down and it would make it that much harder to give out bookmarks! LOL!

Although, knowing Gina and me, we would have a riot of a time about it all! At the last book signing a 15 year old boy, trying to act much older and looking like a  2009 version of the Fonz, hung around and persistently tried to chat Gina up! LOL! I felt so sorry for him that I offered him an extra bookmark! LOL!

 Belle, your gorgeously impish little tyke! What are you like?! LOL!! Thanks for your support Belle, I am so grateful that Red Room has made it possible for us to meet you and we just can't imagine not knowing you now. :)

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Gina is so lucky...

to have an in-house cheerleader, marketer, and supportive husband all rolled into one, Ryoma. What a fabulous team the two of you make!

Shana McLean Moore

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Thank you so very much Shana

High praise indeed and it is very much appreciated too. :) I really do feel like the lucky one though, and we have a lot of fun so it's not as if it's gruelling work. It's tiring but rewarding and we always have even more to talk about, discuss and debate after a signing as we meet so many sincerely interesting people, as well as the very occasional 'interesting' person too. :)

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OK, Ryoma, I'm sure

if Utamaro had seen photos like that he would have been inspired to do a series of woodblock prints! Very theatrical with a great touch from the theater of the absurd.

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Haha! Yes, it was fun

Haha! Yes, it was fun hamming it up for the camera, the staff certainly found our antics amusing to say the least. :)

It would be nice to think that Utamaro would have had an interest in creating a series called the '10 Faces of a Hammy Husband' but Gina thinks he would have been more interested in me if I'd been sold to a brothel first. ;) LOL!

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Well that's exactly what

Well that's exactly what husbands at book signings are for, now isn't it :-)

Founder of Creative Thinkers International
author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)

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Indeed, and a recent story I

Indeed, and a recent story I heard from a bookseller confirms that they feel the same way and word is spreading! I think author's husbands in this region of the world are getting a rude awakening! LOL!

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Great Idea

Now, if I can just remember this great tip until I finish my novel, find an agent, find a publisher, schedule book signings...Maybe in my retirement home there'll be a nice friend to do bookmark duty...

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Great Idea

Now, if I can just remember this great tip until I finish my novel, find an agent, find a publisher, schedule book signings...Maybe in my retirement home there'll be a nice friend to do bookmark duty...

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Hi Helen

Thanks for reading and posting, I didn't see your response until now.

I'd love to learn more about your novel, your posts have been fascinating. I also meant to post earlier to say "Welcome to Red Room', I hope you have been enjoying it here. I'm slightly addicted to the place! LOL!

I look forward to reading more of your posts! See you around Red Room. :)