Browsing articles from "August, 2012"

Book Signing Event Tips With Easy Mnemonics Reminder!


Book Signing Tips! Hopefully they will be helpful to you! :-)

Most authors write in isolation, therefore to represent their selves at a book signing is not something they relish.

 This document highlights some good practice identified by debut authors using the simple tried and tested method ‘TRIAL & ERROR’ resulting in excellent consecutive book signings.

 The say to ‘fail to plan is to plan to fail’ .

 The following is not prescriptive but mere suggestions;

 Your publisher will make the initial arrangements well in advance, send a press release to local media and arrange with the store to have sufficient copies of your novel in stock as well as discussing with them advertising your attendance. So you may think that all the preparation is complete? Far from it!

 Prior to the event it is wise to speak with the manager at the said store by telephone or in person if the store is local to you, confirming your attendance.

 ASCERTAIN who will be the manager in the store on the day?

 Ask WHERE will you be located in store? Ensure you are near to the doors, clearly visible so people have to walk past you. If you are not happy with the position they intend to place you tell the manager as he/she will take it for granted that everything is okay unless you speak up.

 Confirm that there will be visible advertisement before and on the day of the signing in the shop windows. The publisher will often have sent posters pre book signing and these could have been received by another manager and stored away ‘somewhere safe’ and forgotten. Display boards outside emphasising ‘BOOK SIGNING TODAY’ are most helpful and bring in footfall from passing trade. There may be space here to write the name of your novel or genre type. ‘Every little helps,’ so they say!

 THINK – photo opportunity on your arrival of you and the staff. Good for your website and social media sites.

 CONSIDER speaking to local press yourself. Look on the internet for local media. If you are local or have a connection to the town it makes a good story that they will often run with and it is also a chance for a photo opportunity – but you must ask, they can only say no.

 WEBSITES—Does the store have a website where they can advertise your book signing? You can befriend the store on facebook and when you are you can advertise the event yourself here. I suppose this goes without saying that you would advertise too on ALL your own media contacts such as Twitter, Linkedin, Goodreads etc.

 LOCAL – Think local radio. Some have a simple system where you can ring and record your message about a local event. If not then ring their reception or admin office and ask if they would consider letting you be a guest on a show or if they would give you ‘a plug,’ again they can only say no. Most local radio stations are only too happy to have a guest in the studio. Don’t just look for the national radio stations such as the BBC; look for the internet stations too.

 CREATE your own display boards. An A5 sized board that can be bought quite cheaply from stationary stores or on the internet. A carrier for these can also be bought again quite cheaply from Argos or again on the internet. Cover the board with press cuttings, photos and advertisements of your book – even the price. These advertisement boards about you and your novel will build up in time and are well worth investing the effort as they ‘draw in’ the customer and is a good talking point.

 BADGE. We have taken to wearing our own made badge that simply says thereon…Our name, Author and the name of our book. It may be a minor detail but it quickly identifies to a customer who you are and saves you being asked questions to locate other literature. Bob is often mistaken for the manager!

 BOOKMARKS. We have a few bookmarks with ‘Deadly focus’ thereon and relevant websites which we hand out freely- this is a great way of interaction with shoppers and if they are ‘too shy’ to buy at the time or ‘too busy’ the bookmark may tempt them to purchase at some later date.

 BOOKS. The store may have a dozen copies of your book in store – it varies from store to store but before you even turn up it is often the case that they have sold one or two to people who have seen the adverts. However be sure to take extra books with you. You may sell out their stock and wish to sell more. Speak to the manager beforehand as Waterstone’s will let you sell your own stock once theirs have gone and order the amount of books you have sold from their centre ‘the hub’ to return these to you at a later date. Please keep a check of these as you very often have to chase these up. WH Smith will purchase the books from you in our experience but it can take up to six months for you to get that money again make sure you set up an account with them to ensure you get the money they owe you.

 The manager may wish you to leave any of your books that you have left of your or their stock for them to put on their shelves and they will ask you to sign them – the usually put a sticker on these books to say ‘signed by the author’.

 TIME. Most stores allocate or expect you to stay for a two hour period for the book signing. For some renowned authors it is sufficient to sell as many as they need to or to clear the queue. For new authors you are probably just finding your feet as the two hour time allocation runs out. We have found all stores welcoming us to stay as long we wish and in our experience it is worth staying for as long as you can. Let’s face it it’s probably taken more than two hours for you to get there. Go prepared, although some stores have in-house cafes and the staff keep you supplied with warm drinks others don’t offer you as much as a drink of water and it is easier for us to pop out and get supplies as there are two of us present…

 APPEARANCE is really important – go smart. You want to be noticed for the right reasons. A well known writer of children’s books always turns up dressed as a pink fairy…

 STOP!!!! No I am not suggesting that for one moment you should be in fancy dress. As the ex detective I always put on the suit , collar and tie. Something that helps you stand out from the other shoppers perhaps would be helpful. Treat the experience as a job interview, first impressions matter.

 ALL PREPARED? If the day goes well you should be exhausted and have a sore throat. Never before will you have spent so much time passionately talking about YOU, YOUR BOOK and your publisher – in our case CAFFEINE NIGHTS.

 Set your display how you think it would work best. Even take along an easel if you can to get the board at eye level. In any downtime – we find shoppers tend to come in ebb and flows for no apparent reason at all, sign the books that way you only have to personally dedicate them should you get a rush on!

 WARNING – always ask the customer how to spell the name of the recipient, NEVER ASSUME we’ve had so many spellings of Ian you wouldn’t believe!


 There may be a seat but it doesn’t mean you have to use it at all times. You need to become a market trader, interact with the customers. The initial smile and contact; ‘Good morning, are you interested in crime fiction’ is a great ice breaker. You will soon get the vibe if the person is interested or totally blanks you – yes there are some strange people out there. Don’t be put off, move on.

 Staff at the major retailers regularly tell us they are pleased we interact with their customers as some authors just come and sit down waiting for people to approach them which they say doesn’t work. Think, does your genre fit into a 3 for 2 offer at the store? If so ask if you can use it and this will allow your books to go on the 3 for 2 table.

 There is nothing stranger than people. As I briefly mentioned before you will get blank looks, curt responses and even rebuffs but think of that as a challenge! We have even got people to put down their chosen intention and swap it for ours. I have stood outside the shop wearing the badge and got people to come inside and make a purchase. It can be fun- take the lead from the staff, and customers for every store and town are different.

 Never under estimate your own ability. You know everything about your novel and no one else does. You want people to read it. It’s your chance to tell them. Let them read the blurb on the back, hand them a book and if they start to read you’re half way there. Remember you spent months crafting this work of art, for them to enjoy. It’s the best read in the store. So tell them it is.

 You’ll get the local oddball or the confrontational shopper. We had a six foot five biker, clad with leather jacket carrying his helmet who walked straight up to me almost nose to nose and said, ‘Are you the f…ing copper who wrote this? I hate coppers’ Lovely man, after a short while he bought a copy. Carol still is unsure how I managed it. No it wasn’t a grip to the groin area.

 Remember, most people that walk through the book shop doors intend purchasing at least one book. WHY NOT YOURS? Some people simply love books signed by the author, any author! It’s a sale! The reason doesn’t matter it’s the purchase that counts. Ice to Eskimos springs to mind.

 What about the staff? They read too and you know they will enjoy your novel so don’t miss an opportunity of a sale.

 So a sell out? Where’s the next one going to be and when. If it didn’t go to well don’t let one bad day at the office dishearten you. It maybe the time scale i.e. 2 hours was insufficient. The number of foot passengers in a shop vary throughout the day. You may have hit the quiet time. A lot of stores monitor their footfall, ask the manager if there is a regular peak time during the day? If there is you don’t want to miss it.

 Don’t forget to thank the staff. We always buy a box of chocolates for them to share – they’ll remember you and look forward to you coming back.

 So although exhausted after a successful day promoting ,yourself , your novel and your publisher it’s time to put your feet up and type a message to the store manager and their HQ thanking them for their hospitality and professionalism.

 We have been requested to return with our future novels, an endorsement in itself. The stores staff we find often also e-mail each other telling them about good and bad book signings so you want a good endorsement.

 Finally before you fall asleep updates are required for your publisher, friends on facebook ,twitter etc, sharing the success coupled with the photographs to advertise you successful day and the next event.

 Be assured the more book signings you do. The more accomplished you become at selling.





























Aug 29, 2012

Final part of this series – Jane Austen, Stoneleigh, Spooky goings on and Good News for DI Dylan followers!

The subtle, soft, and dark swelling ambient drone of the air conditioning fan filled the quiet room.  The door opened and the light  curtain swayed to it’s breeze, in the half-lit hotel room. This was going to be no ordinary day…

Breakfast eaten and the sun barely broken through the clouds, we set off on our journey to Stoneleigh Abbey – for those who wish to read more than this ‘snapshot’ here is the link to the internet site

Stoneleigh has featured in the BBC’s ‘The Land Girls’ with scenes being shot in the stables but more importantly it has a family link to Jane Austen.

The place is most remarkable considering the Red stone walled building of  The Gatehouse


This  dates back to the 12th and 14th centuries during the time when the land was occupied by Cistercial monks and was used as a hospitium (guesthouse0, giving alms and shelter to weary travellers and was teh secluded Cistercian society for 400 years. Charles 1, Queen Victory and Jane Austen have passed under this archway as well as Bob and I :-)  …

The Abbey was founded in 1154 when Henry II granted lands to a small community of monks. The Abbey Gatehouse built by 16th Abbot, Robert de Hockele. In 1535 the last Abbot surrendered estate to the Crown at the dissolution of the monasteries. Estate subsequently granted (in 1538) to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk.

And to the other side. 

The gateway for little people?

A close up of the very Shakespearean staircase and balacony!

What was to greet us as we turned was quite unexpected for in 1561 William Cavendish sold the estate to a city merchant, Sir Roland Hill jointly with Sir Thomas Leigh.

Sir Thomas Leigh – Don’t you think he looks abit like Bruce Forsyth? ( The present Lord Leigh is a direct descendant of Sir Thomas Leigh.)

Thomas Leigh dies to be succeeded by his son, Thomas and Stoneleigh Abbey is described as a ‘roofless ruin’ but in 1561 substantial alterations  are made to the mediaeval buildings and much 17th century work survives. Sir Thomas Leigh, grandson of the 2nd Thomas, entertained Charles I.

In the days of the Stuarts the Leighs were ardent Royalists. It was in Stoneleigh Abbey that King Charles I. found a resting-place in 1642 where his majesty met with a warm and loyal welcome and right plenteous and hospitable entertainment from his devoted subject Sir Thomas?

Some of the circumstances of his story curiously tally with those connected with the Royalist owner of Stoneleigh Abbey, and certainly the romantic attachment of the Leighs, as a family, to the Stuarts would have appealed to the imagination of the author of ‘Waverley.’ So strong was this attachment, we read, that from the time of the flight of James II. down to the very close of the eighteenth century the Lords Leigh, of each  succeeding generation, kept aloof from all public affairs, refusing even to attend the meetings of Parliament. They lived in complete retirement, amid the memories of former times, and surrounded by portraits of the fallen family. Among these there was a likeness of King Charles I., by Van Dyck, which, during the troubled times, was painted over with flowers, and which was only discovered in 1836 by some one who saw Charles 1. eye ‘peeping out’ through one of the flowers!

 The Great West Wing of the house that greeted us through the Gate house we’ve just walked through. What a surprise! When Stoneleigh Abbey was inherited by Edward, the third Lord Leigh, in 1710, went to Italy and returned full of ideas and enthusiasm to recreate at Stoneleigh something of the classical architecture that had impressed him on his tour – the result was the West Wing, an imposing Baroque structure. Edward chose Francis Smith of Warwick as his architect. building began in 1720, and, by the time work was finished six years later, the final bill was more than £3,000. A  portrait of the architect holding a pair of compasses still hangs in the Staircase Hall.


You can see part of the 12th and 14th century Abbey that is still ‘attached’ today to the more modern wing. Most of the older part of the building appears to have been sold off for private dwellings but during our tour we were lucky enough to be shown into the private dwellings dining room (lined with Spanish leather, as we would with wall paper today).

The Jacobean House forms part of the original twelfth century Cistercian Abbey building. The main feature of the room, and what gives it its name, is the sixteenth century leather wall covering on two walls. The coverings are Spanish, made in Cordoba, and are thought to have been brought back by Thomas Leigh 1st when travelling on business. Originally there were thirty-six panels of which thirty-two still remain.



We were shown the library.

My stomach flipped as I walked over the threshold. My heart dropped into my stomach. I shivered at the chill, but a wave of heat went through me from my head to my toes and I thought I was about to faint. I grabbed hold of Bob as we listened to the tour guides speech, although I hardly heard a word. As we stepped from the room she came over to me. ‘Are you feeling alright,’ she asked. As I stepped outside of the room I felt fine. ‘She’s probably hungry,’ said Bob. She smiled. ‘It often happens in that room,’ she said, and stopped, turned and spoke to the group. ‘Lord Leigh used to do these tours, his two Rotweillers would never step over that threshold,’ she said, pointing to the library entrance. Jane Austen’s mother said of that room. ‘The room is for Heroine’s only. What she meant by that we will never know.’ She nodded knowlingly and we carried on.  But what was for sure the feeling in that room was from another time and a non too happy time either.

Chandos Leigh created the library out of the former state bedchamber and its closet, with two round arches cut through the separating wall. This satisfied his scholarly interests and created a ‘male domain’ of the kind deemed to be essential in the 1830’s. The beautiful bookcases are made of Coromandel – an unusual form of rosewood.    

In 1858 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Stoneleigh. They spent many an hour in the Gazebo which has just restored to it’s original condition. I wonder what romantic thoughts they had from this superb vantage point on the River Avon which was re-routed by Humphry Repton in 1809 to create a lake effect nearer the house?

The local community still play cricket on the cricket pitch.

And to the stables and riding school built in 1819  by C.S.Smith in Red sandstone.

Jane Austen had family connections through her mother’s family. Her visits to Stoneleigh are often relflected in her writing. Here you can read about how

We returned to our hotel very touched by our visit to Stoneleigh and I’m sure we will return.

A message awaited me on the computer on our return to the hotel. What an end to our tour!

Thank you Chris and Ged at Waterstones Huddersfield – you made our day! We don’t mind being sandwiched between those best sellers! :-)

Till next time!

Carol & Bob :-)










Part 3! What do Babies, Book Signings, BBC Breaking News, Castles, Princesses, Knights, Stoneleigh, Jane Austen and ghosts have in common….

Leaving the north behind this time was harder than usual – a new grand daughter on the radar and three hundred miles between us and our lovely family and friends – although we know that they will all be ‘down’ to see us soon and we are lucky enough to have the luxury of not only telephones but mobiles, the internet and Skype to help stay in touch these days. So to Chesford Grange over into Derbyshire from Yorkshire – what a glorious sight!

For more information on the higest hills in the Peak Districk take a look at ://

We travelled past many of the scenes we have described in our novels, so we took a few pictures en route to share with you.

Our Dean Reservoir – Scene of dump site in ‘Deadly Focus’.

Moorland and a murder ‘dump site’ – ‘Deadly Focus’

Leeds Market Carpark – Consequences

The door to Tandem Bridge Police Station – The Dylan Series

The roadside view and section only of our ‘Harrowfield Nick’! The property store, carpark and further buildings are to the rear.

Our Sibden Valley – St Peters Park

The narrow bridge for only one vehicle to park – Scene in ‘Deadly Focus’ – Christopher Spencer Murder.

The start of Stan Bridge – Consequences

The long walk of the negotiator over Stan Bridge to the would be ‘jumper’ - Consequences 

 And we have many more to share with you throughout the series! :)

Chesford Grange was a lovely old hotel with many original features and was to be our home for the three nights – a rest but we were not prepared for what was to come! The food was glorious, some of the best we’ve ever had and the staff wonderful! We’ve got to give a special mention to Stacey our waitress!

Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth

Up fresh and early the next day we travelled to Kenilworth Castle and were treated to a rare day out as we were bot in turn taught how to be, act, dress like a Princess and Knight! For anyone wishing to take their children on a highly entertaining day out this is one NOT to be missed!

Being a princess at Kenilworth Castle!

And here are some more glorious pictures of the day out at Kenilworth Castle – especially for you Amma, Eva &  BF!

The Gate House

Looking out of the gate of the outer wall where the water would have been collected in years gone by.

An English Heritage project costing £1.2m has just been spent to restore the Elizabethan Gardento it’s former glory.

Hearts and entwined initials cover the graffiti-scarred walls of Kenilworth Castle, engraved into the soft red sandstone by generations of lovers for whom the castle has served as a romantic rendezvous… Come on Robert Bridgestock (Bob) you didn’t tell me you had been here before and in the 16th century????

And again if we weren’t already convinced by picture above!

Look how little their beds were!

But how big their doorways and tables were!

The beautiful windows.

And the ruins…


And tomorrow the final part of this tour. ..Stoneleigh, Jane Austen and the ghosts…

C & B x






Part 2. What do Babies, Book signings, Breaking News on the BBC, Princesses, Knights, Jane Austen and ghosts have in common…


Today, the 8th August Bob and I were very excited to be meeting a very famous person and for now that’s all I can tell you about it, (yelling EEK and jumping about with excitement), but I promise you all will be revealed in time …

In the car park, and with a smile that could have been associated with a Cheshire Cat, we  bumped into a colleague and friend from WYP, Chris Helme. Now Chris is a fountain of all knowledge and for any of you interested in the history of Brighouse and surrounding areas (DI Dylan territory) or brass bands, to listen to him would be your idea of a dream night out! Here is Chris Helme’s link to his website –

The 9th August and it’s my birthday. Brought all my cards and presents with me and as usual I was spoilt by my lovely family and friends. How old am I? Now, would you really expect a lady to reveal her age? ;-)

We met some of our oldest friends for lunch on the 10th August. You may have read about Dorothy the Duties Clerk and Janet, Chief Superintendent Walter Hugo-Watkins Secretary in the Dylan series. Here are the ‘named’ people in person!

 Bob with Janet to the left of the picture and Dorothy to his right in WHS Halifax.


We are very lucky to be invited back to Waterstones Woolshops – this shop must be the most beautiful Waterstones in the world (as you can see from the pic’s). ‘Deadly Focus’, as you have probably all read by now is out in Audio and so we launched it on this trip and at Halifax WHS and Waterstones Huddersfield Kingsgate. Here are some pictures of the places and some lovely people we met along the way and we promised to say ‘Hi’ to!

In the pic below at Bradford, Carol is holding up our very first copy of the enhances, unabridged Audio book  version of ‘Deadly Focus’, this audiobook is Electric Audio’s very first ‘full up’ enhanced production featuring sound effects etc which really brings the story to life. Something akin to radio play production, Publisher Caffeine nights. ‘Deadly Focus’ By RC Bridgestock is a crime thriller following a murder investigation through the eyes of the books main character DI Jack Dylan. It’s a really gripping story narrated by fellow forum member and narrator Paul Ansdell.

You can hear free chapter excerpts in our podcast series ‘Bookplugs’. Follow this link and select chapter 2. It’s free!

Visit publisher Caffeine Nights website here for more great titles:
For more information on author RC Bridgestock visit their site here: and find out what really sets them aside from most crime writers…

Electric Breeze Audio Productions say, ‘We are very proud of the final result and hope that this will be the first of many for DI Dylan and future releases.’

Statue of Richard Cobden inside Waterstones Bradford Woolshops building.

The stairs in Bradford Woolshops leading up to the landing and the Starbucks Coffee Shop!

The beautiful feature in the roof of the building. For more pictures visit

And onto Halifax WHS where we met the lovely Lisa Megson!

Today we had a phone call from Radio Leeds – not unusual as they often ask Bob to comment on one of their shows. This time it is the ten year anniversary of the Soham Murders When an anniversary like this comes about we can always remember what we were doing when we heard the news can’t we? It is nice to catch up with old friends and work colleagues on our trips north. Some who are still fighting crime on the frontline, supporting the victims. If only everyone did… The most dedicated ‘thief takers’ of the highest calibre are in the UK and we worked with the best. You can be assured that the police officers who work for you put their heart, soul and body into their job to protect us all. Now retired we are truly grateful to all those who have gone before us and those who are still in the job. Simply, thank you.

Onwards and upward to ‘Yorkshire Linen’ and the delightful two Michelle’s!

The most impressive and much taken for granted by me as a child, the Halifax Borough Market.

Dominating Halifax town centre, the impressive Borough Market, was erected between 1891 and 1896 and was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary). The exquisite Victorian architecture, much of which is still in its original state, makes this a building of great architectural and historic interest and hence the building is Grade II listed.

Today, enjoy the hustle and bustle of a thriving retail market with a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Bob on serious police work, guarding the chocolates in WHS Halifax!

To Friday morning and we get a call from the BBC in Leeds @ 6am to say that they have breaking news that Ian Brady was thought to have given details of where Keith Bennett is buried and they ask Bob to comment on the matter on the 7am news which he did.

To Huddersfield and here I left my shoes! Thanks for saying you’ll hang onto them guys! No I’m not in the habit of walking around bare foot but as most authors will tell you that at book signing standing around on your feet all day ‘in heels’ (that’s me and not Bob), can give you mega sore feet! So I’ve learned to take a pair of comfy shoes with me – I’m not a modern day Cinderella after all. :-)

Sammy’s friend Kate!

The star of the show! Our newly born grand daughter at her very first book signing! Annabelle Rene Beckwith (Bella) aged 18 days old.

Bella with Nana, Mummy and Daddy! Gemma did a little diary of her own whilst she was pregnant with baby Bella @

Until tomorrow and the final part of our journey to see what Princesses, Knights and Ghosts have in common…

Enjoy the rest of your Bank Holiday!

Carol & Bob :-)







Part 1. What do Babies, Book Signings, Breaking News on the BBc, Castles, Princesses, Jane Austen, Knights and Ghosts have in common?

A two week trip for us on the mainland!

Sunday 5th August saw our latest adventure begin! As always the Wightlink Ferry, our favourite crossing Yarmouth to Lymington, was wonderful – the sea likened to a duck pond.

This ferry passed us going towards the Island full of holiday makers who waved to us! Always really puts me in the holiday mood.

 The view from ‘The Bridge’ as Wight Light heads for Lymington harbour!

Hey, this isn’t a holiday Bob! You’re off to work! The Audio enhanced, unabridged version of ‘Deadly Focus’ is here!

Just for you, you can now listen to the first two chapter of ‘Deadly Focus ‘ narrated by the fantastic and very talented Paul Ansdell via Electric Breeze Audio Production! Thank you! You’re absolutely fabulous!!!
Book Plugs

The car to Bob’s horror is always full to bursting with the things I ‘just have to take with me when we leave the Island,’ if you remember last time the boot was so full it wouldn’t lock,  but this time I had an excuse, our daughter had just given birth to a little girl and we were going to visit, Annabelle Rene Beckwith (Bella) was born on the 31st July 2012 at 8pm. Here she is from the 20 week scan to her being born and in her Nana’s arms! Bella might be our little princess but there is more about princesses later…

  20 week scan – sex unknown

 Bella a few hours old.

 Bella two weeks old


Now I don’t know about you but ‘touring’ for me is not a pleasure  and goodness knows how people do it on a regular basis. Maybe they get used to only packing what they need for each stop over? Bob would ‘give his right arm’, as they say, for me to learn that trick!

We stayed in the Best Western, Weston Hall Hotel in Bulkington on our journey north for one night only as we were eager to meet the new addition to our family. The room we were given was in the newer part of the building  and although it hadbeen recently upgraded it smelt like the drains were blocked – urgh! Not a good start. However, the manager was really nice and moved us to the main building and a glorious, sunny, south facing room with big windows overlooking the front of the building. The staff were great and the food was good. Olympic finals on the big screen, what more could we ask for? We will be back!

Weston Hall, Bulkington

As you can imagine we were eager to set off the next day to meet the new addition to our family.

 My first cuddle with my grand daughter.

 Our six year old grand daughter Hermione with her new cousin.

Birthdays, book signings, princesses, knights and ghosts to come!

Be back tomorrow with Part 2. :)

Carol & Bob  x