Sunday, May 23, 2010

Book launches - Part One or How to Hold One...

People often come across my blog with the search engine 'Book launch Etiquette' so I'm guessing there's a need in the marketplace for information on how to run, behave at or generally conduct oneself at a book launch, whether its one's own or someone elses. I'll split this post in two with part one covering how to behave at your own do and part two talking about attending someone elses. If your manuscript has become a book there are several good reasons to have a launch. 1) to promote your book, 2) to sell your book, 3) to celebrate the fact that your work became a book, 4) to eat cake and drink wine with good friends and family, 5) and to say thank you publicly to all the people who made it possible. These are all important reasons and the way to cope with all that may be required of you as host/hostess, guest of honour, author, family member, friend, party person and marketing sales-person is to follow one simple rule: - be professional. You can be kooky, flakey, shy, silly, and giggly but not disrespectful, arrogant, obnoxious, drunk or crass. Your book launch doesn't need to be lavish or require formal dress. The book business being what it is today, there isn't much spare cashola around to drink Bollinger and have foie gras and caviar. Do try and find a venue that can handle credit card, cash and cheque sales of your book e.g. a bookshop or other retail outlet. Also make sure the venue owners/organisers want you there/support books and it helps if they've done book launches before (although theres a first time for everyone). Its good to have some nibbly food and a variety of drinks (wine and juice or tea and coffee) and remember if you write children's books something the small fry can eat but that can still be vacuumed up if its been ground into the carpet. Marshmallows clean up surprisingly well. My last book launch was in a toy shop which sold books and the children were happy to wander round and let the grown ups spend money on their behalf and chat about grown up things which was rather nice (thank you Mainly Toys in Mt Eden Rd). Have a short speech prepared and I REALLY recommend making a few notes about who you want/need to thank because it is very easy to forget someone. I will forever be haunted by my failure to thank a whole bunch of deserving folk at the NZ Post Children's Book Awards last year. And its good to remember you can never say thank you too much.. Jokes can be hard to carry off but work more often than not so I'd say give being funny a go. Try and recruit a few willing helpers/slaves to do errands during the event (what! No plastic cups/serviettes/knife to cut the cake and the toilets locked/blocked/without loo paper?) and clean up afterwards. Dress nicely in something that makes you feel fab. Selling books is one of the aims but on the day I try not to dwell on this as it's in the hands of the Gods by then. If you have invited lots of good friends, family and publicised the event, chances are a few books will be bought. Practice a signature before hand and its good to think up a few suitable phrases that fit with your book for book signings. If nothing fits or your mind has gone blank Best Wishes and Happy Reading are trusted standbys. And last but not least try and enjoy yourself. If you are the nervous, shy type (as so many authors are) organise a reward for yourself when the launch is over - dinner out, a large block of chocolate, whats left of the wine, a sleep in with breakfast in bed the next day. This list is not exhaustive so feel free to mention any other handy hints in the comments section.

1 comment:

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.