I spent last Saturday at the Penicuik Arts Festival. I’d been invited by my friends James and Mhairi, both locals who have in the past taken an interest in my writing.
i had two events: a ‘Meet the Author’ event at the Town Hall where I chatted to folk, sold and signed books. The other was a kids poetry workshop at the West Street Arts Centre.
The signing went very well. Silly Poems for Wee People was the by far the most popular book on sale, followed by Slick and Fringe Fantastic. I think the most pleasurable moment was the young lad of about 8 or 9, who after buying a copy with his Mum, could be seen engrossed in it at a table in the coffee shop.
I’d ordered a one-off print run of Slick just for the event, and the front cover and tag line (“Sometimes you’re better off dead”) proved to be quite the talking point among some of the locals.
It all went very well and the people at Penicuk were very friendly and welcoming.
The kids workshop didn’t quite go as planned. We weren’t sure how many would show up but in the end we got four kids, one of which had done the workshop before.
I had to cut it short in the end as some of the kids started to lose interest. It’s an age thing. I’ve realised over the last couple of workshops that kids still at the early stages of learning to write aren’t able to enjoy it as much as those that can. They get frustrated and lose interest fast. If I do any more of these workshops (and I was exhausted after Saturday), then I’m upping the age to maybe 9-12 or something like that.
Overall, it was a great success. I hope the Festival enjoyed having me there and I certainly enjoyed spending my day there. The home-made soup and toasties in the Arts Centre Cafe are highly recommended, by the way.
But the whole signing thing got me to thinking. I sold as many books in 2 hours as I do online in 1 or 2 weeks. That’s quite a statistic, so I’ve signed up for future Arts Markets at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in Leith. I figure I can clear my stock in no time doing it that way!