Monday, 24 March 2014

Seven Ways To Make an Author Happy - Liz Kessler

Earlier this month, I was Author in Residence at Waterstones in Truro as part of World Book Day. It was a fab, fab day where I think most of us came away smiling.

I’m a strong believer in telling people when they’ve done something well, so I thought I’d share what was so good about it. That way, if you are a bookshop person or a library person or even, in fact, an author, you can wave this blog in someone’s face and say, ‘Look! Earrings! Tea! Showcards!’


Read on. All will become clear.

1. Showcards.

I didn’t actually know showcards had been organised until a friend of mine who happened to have been in the shop posted a photo on twitter. Which made me very happy.

2. Books. 

You might also notice that as well as the showcard itself, the shop had also bought in a large selection of all my books – in plenty of time for the event. It was in fact the first time I’d seen all my books together like this, and made me feel very proud and ‘Gosh, look, I wrote all of those books’-ish.

3. Tea.

It is always advisable to greet your author with the words ‘Can I get you a cup of tea?’ When this is then followed up by said cup of tea arriving as if by magic in plenty of time for the author to have a few sips before the event, that's even better. (And very nice Earl Grey it was, too.)

4. Radio Interviews.

Local BBC Radio host Tiffany Truscott happened to be in the shop and noticed the showcard a week or so before my event. She invited me onto her programme at the end of my stint in the bookshop. 

We talked about World Book Day and about my books and about movies and mermaids. Which made me very happy.

5. Book jackets being turned into earrings.

I had been told in advance that the shop folk would be dressed up for World Book Day. What I hadn’t been told was that the librarian from one of the schools was going to make an outfit that included earrings she had made in the design of my book covers!!!!! That was a first for me, and made me very happy indeed.

6. Amazing librarians.

The above librarian actually deserves two mentions on this list for what she did for her children that day. Her school is in an area of high deprivation, where many of the children don’t have any books at home. For some teachers, that would mean that they would want to warn me that we wouldn't get many book sales on the day. Which would have been fine. But not for this particular librarian. Instead, she went to her Parent Teacher Association and asked if they could buy one of my books for EVERY SINGLE CHILD in the class. They said yes. So all the children from that school went away with a signed book. Happy children; happy bookshop; happy author; wonderful librarian.

7. Two words: Chocolate. Tiffin.

No pic to go with this one unfortunately as I was too busy eating it to photograph it. (Look up ‘Chocolate Tiffin Triangle from Costa Coffee’ in Google images and you’ll see what I’m talking about.) But just so you know, when it comes to lunch, the words, ‘Go up to Costa, order a sandwich and a cake and put it on the Waterstones’ bill’ will do very nicely.

And there you have it. How to make an author happy in seven easy steps. 

Please note, if you can't do all of these, just skip to the chocolate and we'll be fine.

With huge thanks to Isobel and everyone at Waterstones Truro, and to Karen and all the librarians and teachers who came along. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did! 

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Stroppy Author said...

Sounds great! Lucky Waterstones' customers!

Penny Dolan said...

Obviously a good,thoughtful and active branch, raising hopes for some of their other shops.

John Dougherty said...

Brilliant. It's so lovely, isn't it, to be made welcome.

Pippa Goodhart said...

Ah, that would have made me happy too! As you say, everyone's a winner when books, authors, booksellers and children are brought together so efficiently and kindly and imaginatively. Well done, Waterstones!

Kit Berry said...

What a brilliant librarian too - great use of PTA funds!

Joan Lennon said...