MarySmith’sPlace – #NewBook

Thrilled to announce the birth of a new book!

A-Z of Dumfries: Places-People-History by Mary Smith (yep, that’s me!) and Keith Kirk is now out.

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The town of Dumfries, in the south-west of Scotland, known as The Queen of the South, became a royal burgh in 1186 and grew into an important market town and port in the mediaeval period. During its often turbulent past, Dumfries played an important role in the Wars of Independence as the starting point of Robert the Bruce s campaign for the Scottish throne, and later hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army. The poet Robert Burns spent his last years in Dumfries and in the 18th and 19th centuries the port of Dumfries benefited from trade with the Americas, as well as being a major exporter of tweed. During the Second World War Dumfries was home to the Norwegian Army in exile and although the port has closed today it is the administrative centre for the Dumfries and Galloway region.

In A-Z of Dumfries we delve into the history of Dumfries, revealing interesting and significant moments in the story of the town. The book highlights well-known landmarks, famous residents and digs beneath the surface to uncover some of the lesser known facts about Dumfries and its hidden gems.

While I wrote the text, this fascinating A-Z tour of Dumfries’s history is fully illustrated with Keith’s fabulous photographs.

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Devorgilla Bridge, built in 1431 and the oldest surviving multi-spanned bridge in the country

Obviously some of the people and places in the book will be known to local people. Some Doonhamers may know Goldie Park is named after Jean Goldie who left a bequest for a park to be created in Maxwelltown. Few, however, will know it was Jean’s mother who gave Sir Walter Scott the plot for his Heart of Midlothian novel.

While most will be aware of Burns and Barrie’s associations with the town perhaps not so many know of James Hill, a Dumfries doctor who made enormous contributions to the 18th century treatment of cancer and head injuries.

We’re delighted the book has come out in time for Christmas – it’s the perfect gift for Doonhamers at home or abroad – and for anyone who is interested in Dumfries.

A-Z of Dumfries: Places-People-History (published on November 15 by Amberley Publishing) is available in bookshops and other outlets including Amazon.

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Young visitors at the Camera Obscura at Dumfries Museum

For those who live anywhere in the region, Keith and I would be delighted to see you at our celebratory party to welcome the book into the world with some fizz on Tuesday, 26 November at the Rutherford/McCowan Building on the Crichton Campus at 6.30pm. Let me know so we can make sure there’s enough of the fizzy stuff to go round.

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Wallace’s Loaning

Then, on Saturday, November 30 we’ll be at Dumfries Museum from 11am to 1pm to sign books and on Saturday, December 7 we’ll be doing another book signing in Waterstones from 11am to 1.00pm.

59 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – #NewBook

  1. First of all, congratulations on the launch of this new book, Mary. The photography looks stunning. Shame I can not be there to join you in a glass or two of fizz, but I’m delighted to read that you’re giving the book a grand launch. It’ll be interesting to know how the launch goes in Waterstones. I’ve heard mixed views on book launches in store unless the author(s) is/are well-known. I think much of the poor feedback was down to the store, not advertising the launch in their window displays or online, though. I wish you much success. Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your congratulations, Hugh. I’ll let you know how the launch events go. What I (in this case, we, as there’s two of us) usually do is organise a launch to which we invite everyone we know, provide a glass (or two or three) of fizz (non-alcoholic for the drivers) and some nibbles. Once everyone has arrived and mingles we give a wee presentation, bit of chat, read an extract and invite people to enjoy another drink and say we’re happy to sign books. We bring the books. This is the event at which we hope to sell the most books as we get the biggest cut.
      At Waterstones, they have the books in stock, make a display in the shop, posters in the window and I send out a press release to the local papers, announce it on Facebook and on some local Facebook pages, put fliers out wherever we think people will find them. We don’t make so much as we only get royalties as opposed to selling our author discount books but it creates extra interest. The last couple of signings I’ve done in Waterstones (and remember Dumfries is a small town) the manager has been delighted with sales of around 20+ copies in the couple of hours we are there.
      You are right that advertising the event is key and it’s no good expecting the bookshop to do it all. The author has to be prepared to do a lot of leg work to generate publicity. I put posters up in all sorts of places and fliers.
      Waterstones usually ask us to sign any remaining copies and they put a sign on the shelf saying ‘signed copies’. I’m hoping with it being so close to Christmas people will want to buy the book as a gift. Unfortunately, on this occasion it’s also close to the election *big sigh*.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right, Mary. We authors also have to do our share in advertising our books. I think it’s where (including me) we let ourselves down.

        It’s great to hear that Waterstones do their bit in promoting the book too. I know another author who had a book launch at W.H Smiths, who did very little in promoting the book launch at their store apart from mentioning it on their blog. The author concerned (Gareth – he was at this year’s Bloggers Bash) had to make his own posters and ask for permission to put them in the window display. They didn’t turn him down, but they didn’t seem as proactive as Waterstones are.

        I hope you sell lots of books which will be used as Christmas presents. I think it always a great part of the year to do a book launch. As for the upcoming election, I think most of us have already had enough and will want to seek out entertainment that we enjoy (rather than have thrust upon us).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations, Mary!🎉 The book is wonderful and I’ve nearly finished it! I love the format of the A-Z and the mix of old and new works brilliantly. So many stories from and in your town! Good luck with the launch .. .wish I was closer to congratulate you in person and share some of the fizz. I’ve attended a few book signings in Waterstones and they are generally successful. People always seem to enjoy talking to a writer and with you both there I imagine conversation will flow … as will the book sales! 😀😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Annika. I’m delighted to know you are enjoying the book. Dumfries does have many fascinating stories – and people – and I’ve enjoyed finding the lesser known stories along with the history most local people already know.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary, many thanks for the second card, received today. I did get the first one too, but have been waiting for more to come to feature them on a post. I have three now, so if nothing arrives next week, your cards will feature on a post.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Marje. We had our launch party last night and it went well despite my panic that no one would come out on such a foul night. We’ve a couple of book signing still to do but I don’t feel the need to panic about them so much!


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