Monday 12 October 2015

Book launch hell by Tanya Landman

A few months ago I posted on Facebook:-

“I have never had a book launch but woke up vaguely toying with the idea of doing one for Hell and High Water. In my mind it's an elegant affair, on the deck of a ship perhaps, with me in black velvet, chilled champagne in one hand, having elegant, witty conversations with wise and charming people.
In reality 50 + years of life experience have taught me that:
a) I am rubbish at organising events
b) If I did organise one I would have MONTHS of sleepless nights beforehand.
c) Come the day I would be sick with nerves
d) No one would come
e) Except, possibly, the people I kind of wish I hadn't invited
f) I would have a monster hangover the following day (having drunk all the nauseatingly warm prosecco on my own) and wake up rueing the day I was born.
Help me, writerly people. What are your experiences of organising book launches????”

I was expecting a few replies along the lines of  ‘They’re more trouble than they’re worth. Don’t bother.”  Writers are usually full of dire tales of events that have gone disastrously wrong. But to my surprise I had a flood of responses encouraging me to go ahead and have one.  I was still undecided until Lynsey Southern – the extraordinarily wonderful librarian at Bideford College – said she’d organize it for me.

That was too good an offer to refuse.  To have a launch in Bideford – overlooking the river that features in the book – in the library of the school my sons go to and where I’ve just become Patron of Reading all seemed very fitting.

The deal was done. The date was set.

And as time went on it seemed that  Lynsey wasn’t organizing a launch, she was organising a major happening.

After she’d read a manuscript of Hell and High Water (for reasons that will be obvious to readers of the book) she declared, “We need a Punch and Judy man.”

Well that was easy enough – I’m married to Rod Burnett who performs all over the world with his Original Punch and Judy show.  But it didn’t stop there.  She arranged cakes from Donna Marie Kreations, books from the local independent Walter Henry’s, music from the supremely talented students, and even a writing competition with copies of Hell and High Water as prizes for the winners.

I didn’t have any sleepless nights and the librarians, teachers, booksellers, writers, readers, family and friends who have been so supportive over the years all came along to drink wine and eat cake.

It was a truly wonderful evening – better than I could ever have imagined.  An absolutely MASSIVE thank you to Lynsey Southern and the superb staff of Bideford College for making it all happen. Lynsey has confirmed what I already knew: Librarians are extraordinarily wonderful people.  Where would we be without them?


Sue Bursztynski said...

As a school librarian, I've organised launches, during the school day when the kids could attend, but never anything like this! Too expensive for my school. Publishers will help out with posters and bookmarks and such, but the most I ever got out of one was $50 for the kids' nibblies. I've called in the local papers, made sure at least some of the kids had read the book in question and maybe bought a few chips and sweets for the kids to consume afterwards, from my own pocket. And, of course, the authors sign.:-)

But yes, school librarians are very good at this sort of thing.

michelle lovric said...

lovely! But where are the photos of CAKE?

Leslie Wilson said...

Sounds more like Book Launch Heaven! I do endorse the praise of school librarians; they are wonderful!

C.J.Busby said...

Yes, there really should be a photo of the magnificent book cake! So lifelike one child tried to open the cover...

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