Setting up this very small event, the book signing, at Waterstones has had many more aspects than I imagined. Setting the date and time was the easy part – persuading them to stock the book a little harder.
The volume is being sold at the Runnymede Gallery and as of yesterday at the Chertsey Bookshop, an independent store that is thriving against all the odds – good for them and long may it last. While I was talking to the manager, another poet approached me and suggested we set up a local poetry group. We have exchanged email addresses, and that is an exciting possibility for the future.
My next task was setting up the link to Help for Heroes and their organisation and expertise made that relatively easy too. My skills were stretched when I was asked to put together posters and handouts. What to say? What look should I aim for?
I do some graphic design work for a charity, The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group, ( the Manhood Peninsula is in West Sussex, near Chichester), and have worked with the publications team to put together a series of illustrated leaflets for walks in the Selsey locality as well as posters, banners, a logo and newsletters. The hard part of this was getting to grips with the Creative Suite software – there were three brains working on the design, but initially I was the one with InDesign and Illustrator and so had to figure out the way to make our ideas actually happen. The Dummies guide was invaluable, as were the Adobe user forums and other online design communities I found. I know many of the experts despaired of my ignorance, but nonetheless they were incredibly helpful.
However, back to Random! I am so lucky to have Gary Rogers’ brilliant painting as a cover design, so that would be the centrepiece of the material – I have absolutely discounted putting a photo on the posters – but what next? I find myself struggling for words – should they be chatty or formal? Oddly I have also encountered a deep seated reluctance to write my name BIG on the material. In fact, I have just referred to myself as a local poet. Now what is that all about I wonder?
Help for Heroes’ logo, which I am allowed to use, has all manner of restrictions about the way it is used, so the material has to be approved by the charity – no pressure there then…
Then there is the suggestion that I found on a site advising authors about ‘events’ – would it be too presumptuous for me to have some matching bookmarks printed? I like the idea, would pick one up if there were some on offer in a bookshop, but am I real enough as a poet to have some of my own on offer?
As I have written this I have recognised that the root of the matter is that actually, I really don’t believe in myself as a writer / poet. I’m signing off now and taking myself aside for a jolly good talking to!