If you are lucky enough to have a local bookshop that stocks your book, you’ve probably made friends with the staff there already. If you have yet to get to know the staff at your local library, now is the time to do so. The post-Christmas period is a time for bookshops and libraries to enjoy a steady flow of custom and they welcome initiatives that help to increase their footfall. Call in on them (at a time when they’re not busy with Christmas traffic!) and suggest that together you organise an event at their shop or library for the New Year.
Don’t just make it a straightforward signing session or a series of readings; think of something that will make it stand out. It could include tips for other writers, a mini writers’ workshop or picking on some local topic – e.g. how you’ve used local geography or people from the past who lived in the area – in your work. All of these have worked well for me. If the bookseller or librarian is still dubious that you can pull off an event on your own, try teaming up with another writer and offer a dual act. Understand that it is your job to help publicise events, as well as swanning in on the night! And always remember to thank everyone who helped you afterwards, by sending them an e-mail the next day or, better still, a ‘thank-you’ card.