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Ben Galley Sees The Waterstones Door Closing On Lowkey Author Events

Over the last week or so, a new directive has been filtering down from Waterstones head office, a directive that aims for a new direction with author events, a new direction that sadly means we as indies won't get much of a chance any more when it comes to author signings. I first heard about it from a Waterstones in the midlands, whilst confirming a date for my Winter Tour. At first I thought it would be a localised affair, perhaps reserved to a few areas, but sadly it seems that it has been rolled out across the whole estate.

Simply put, the directive suggests that all Waterstones branches should cancel their local author events, with the exception of local book launches or those that are expected to create a queue. The events that they retain should last no longer than 90 minutes and be staffed by booksellers throughout. I will add that this means travelling out of your area is now completely impossible unless you have a very, very serious following.

I've already had three events cancelled...

It appears that while Waterstones were initially keen to open their doors to new authors, it hasn't quite had the affect they had desired. Increased revenue aside, it has actually garnered some complaints from customers. Apparently some authors have been rather pushy, insistent, and in some cases, downright rude. This pains me, as it's another case of the few spoiling it for the many. When I do a signing, I make a point of staying sat down and letting people approach me. Bookshops are for browsing. If customers wanted to be sold to, they'd go to a used car company. I don't understand why any authors would want to leap on customers and force a book down their throat. But, sadly, that's exactly what has happened, and Waterstones has had to respond. Perhaps it's also a case of too much of a good thing. Perhaps we diluted the events calendar a little too much. Whatever the reason, it's all changed now.

Regrettable news I am sure for self-published authors, but I have never felt it did the Waterstones image much good to have so many unknowns selling their wares on Saturdays in their stores. The 'new directive' - if such it is - makes perfectly good sense.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on August 1, 2012 9:02 AM.

Why social media isn't the magic bullet for self-epublished authors | Books | guardian.co.uk was the previous entry in this blog.

Guardian Review - "a book too heavy for its weightless hero" is the next entry in this blog.

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