Mostly people picture book launches or signings in bookshops – either glorious crowds besieging furiously signing author (optimum dream) or wretchedly solitary author sitting over table with copies and trying not to eye every passing browser like a hopeful vulture (absolute nightmare.) In my locale, bookshops are either too small to fit many people, or not interested in what I write, so to reach my *huge* local audience (face very straight here) I usually organise a launch.
This involves quite a lot of work, from ordering the books, and guestimating how many, to lining up a launcher, finding a venue, fixing up food and drink (book launches naturally involve quantites of champagne, at least in my view), conning a v. efficient friend into running the cashbox, and, most critical, Deciding What to Wear. Lucky male authors, who can just throw on whatever they feel like. This fem author, at least, can agonise loud and long over the choice.
(Mine for this time boded to be too hot, since the weather stayed up to 31C. deg. maximum right into April this year.)
Then there’s the organising and anxiety over the invitations. Is it clear enough?
Has the launch been publicised in enough places? Will anybody answer the invite? Will anybody actually come?
Thankfully, once the day, or usually evening dawns, the books are set up,
and people start appearing, all of these anxieties evaporate. After that, usually, my only quibble is that I don’t have time to talk to everybody as long as I’d like. Luckily, no such problem inhibits the attendees. They usually know each other from a cluster of intersecting different groups (runners, folk music, librarians or teachers, University people)
and they chat merrily on (while drinking and nibbling enthusiastically) even after the so-called official parts are over.
(For the people who’ve read the story, this is Cat from “The Cretaceous Border” in the middle – and note the palms behind)
This launch, for my third Five Star novel, The Red Country, (free chapters on Book View Cafe), just scroll down) happened on “The Balcony”, a favoured spot for events at my University’s hall of residence. Despite fewer people than last time (the recession? The site? The two flights of stairs, sans lift?) everybody had a fine time. So far as I could tell, between bouts of signing books, that is.
And one helpful friend took pictures, so Champagne at the Oasis, NQ style, has been preserved for posterity. Here we have the launch speech,
and here’s a couple of closing shots: