It's a First by Wendy H. Jones

As a writer there is no end to the things which happen in your life. Opportunities come along when you are least expecting them. Recently I went in to The Royal Bank of Scotland in Broughty Ferry, Dundee to pay in a cheque. The teller who served me asked what I would be doing for the rest of the day. I said that as it was sunny (yes the sun does shine in Dundee) I would be writing in the garden. It turned out the teller was Rachel, the Bank Manager, and she asked me to do a book signing. Never one to let an opportunity go by I agreed. To put this in to context I had never set foot in this particular bank previously. So it all came as a complete surprise. 

As the title of this blog suggests I believe that this may a first in terms of book signings. Banks are not the usual place that you find an author. So I wasn't sure how this would go. I took along books and set up my signing table complete with a noose as can be seen in the picture. 

The noose is crucial in this story. Firstly, I am a crime writer so it was an excellent prop. Anyone who used the bank during the period I was there had to queue in front of this table. I regaled them of tales of the last man to be hanged for fraud in the UK. He was a banker who said he had indeed defrauded the bank but he did it for the good of the bank. This kept people amused and they started chatting and I sold a large number of books. Customers loved the fact that there was an author in the bank, especially a local author. They loved the fact that the main character in the books, DI Shona McKenzie, lived in Broughty Ferry. I had so much fun and met a lot of nice people. I made new fans and many customers took postcards to give to friends and family.

So why am I writing this blog? To encourage writers to step out of their comfort zone and to grab any opportunity that comes along. It may sound whacky but you never know what might come from it. I see it as community engagement and a chance to meet people. Even if I hadn't sold any books I had a pleasant day, drank free coffee and met some lovely people. A great way to spend a day. 

Wendy lives, and writes, in Dundee Scotland. The latest book in her DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries was launched in April, 2016. She is currently writing a new series of YA Novels, The Fergus and Flora Mysteries. They will be published by Books to Treasure, and the first one will be released on 10th September, 2016.


Susan Price said…
Yeah, but where did you get the noose? Do you just keep one to hand or is it left over from a previous job?

Good advice, and much respect for your ability to spot an opportunity and seize it.
Wendy H. Jones said…
Ah now, the noose is an entirely different story altogether. Another blog post perhaps :-)
Chris Longmuir said…
You continue to amaze me, Wendy. If anyone knows about promotion and marketing, it's certainly you.
Lydia Bennet said…
Yes you seem to be red-hot on marketing and selling, Wendy! Good for you. I've done performances, and led writing workshops, and done readings/signings in some odd places too including a human cadaver dissection session. I must admit I'd never thought of a bank - did they demand a cut of the proceeds? :)
glitter noir said…
So, no noose is not good news. You continue to inspire, Wendy. Thank you.
Brilliant move, selling books in a bank! Yes, I think there are lots of opportunities for signing sessions outside bookshops, especially if there's some kind of local or subject matter connection like yours. Children's authors sell quite a few books in schools, but that often poses a financial challenge (as in letter from the school requesting money for signed book still at bottom of school bag on day of author visit...) so the bank makes much more sense.

I once did a signing in an airport, but on the wrong side of security, where everyone was rushing past with their bags to get somewhere else - not recommended!
A timely reminder about lateral thinking where marketing is concerned. Good for you, Wendy! I'd never have thought of books and banking, but it's a great idea.

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