On Wednesday 21 November 2012 four members of our group – Thure Etzold, R J Gould, Hannah Hooton and Terry Tracy – held a book signing event at Waterstones Cambridge.
This, being for local self-published authors, was a first for the bookstore. We had the opportunity to promote the Cambridge Writers Group as an organisation that enables members to read out and discuss their work as they develop their writing. We referred to the availability of sessions covering fiction, short prose, poetry, children’s and travel writing in addition to the other opportunities provided to members.
We introduced our novels to the audience – Life As It Could Be (Thure Etzold); The Engagement Party (R J Gould); Keeping The Peace (Hannah Hooton) and A Great Place For A Seizure (Terry Tracy). We were able to discuss our works, read extracts, and generally talk about self-publishing. The four novels are very different in terms of genre and style. The audience appreciated this diversity together with the common strands of being members of a local writing group and sharing the journey to self-publishing.
Each of us had received encouraging feedback and in some cases had been taken on by agents, but no contract with a publisher had emerged. So we had met to consider self-publishing and came to the conclusion: ‘why wait?’ The first outcome was to e-publish for Amazon Kindle. Thousands of downloads and many good reviews later, we took the plunge to produce paperback versions. We continue to meet to discuss marketing which is a big challenge for self-publishers.
It was a really enjoyable evening and we are grateful Becky Rowley who organised and managed the event. She and the others in the Waterstones team were extremely helpful and welcoming. A member of the company’s London Head Office team came along to see if there was scope to develop the idea beyond their Cambridge store. The event took place at a time when Waterstones is considering how to widen their remit beyond mainstream published books to embrace e-published works and perhaps respond to the growth in self-publishing.
R J Gould