Lights, Camera, Action!

Yes, I am home in body, but my spirit is still high in the clouds.

 The pre-launch celebration for 8 States of Catastrophe exceeded all my expectations.  Apart from a ten minute scare when it looked like the guests might arrive before the traffic-snarled vehicles carting the wine and food, the two-hour party went like clockwork and was a terrifically enjoyable occasion.

Son Dylan and I awaiting arrival of guests

My friends and family knew I was not looking forward to being the centre of attention but I found it didn’t take me long to start enjoying it.  And anyway, it wasn’t really me in the limelight but rather my creation, my baby, 8 States of Catastrophe. 

Signing my Life Away

We had an abundance of food; simple scrumptious fare of sandwiches, cheese and crackers, pesto.  The white wine was cold and crisp and the merlot blend mellow; OJ and mineral water were on hand; something for everyone to wet their whistle. 

Guests at the Waterfront Pavilion

The guests mingled, chatted, asked questions, admired the venue (which I will write about some other time), sipped and supped and – thankfully – purchased books. 

Some of the Guests

It was a real joy to sign books when asked.  When, at the end of the evening, I overheard a couple of guests raving that it had been great fun and ‘not boring’ as they had expected a book launch to be, I knew we had done everything right.

More Guests...just so you can see they are real

 Knowing there are quite a few out there in the blogosphere interested in the actual nuts-and-bolts of a successful launch, here are a few things that I believe helped make mine such a success:-

  • Don’t overdo the speeches.  A friend made a small speech on my behalf because…(a) I am not a comfortable public speaker and; (b) I am told that the majority of writers usually bore everyone to tears.

    My Dear Friend Alan...delivering his fabulous speech.

  • Don’t have a strict regimented program.  The speech was made at about the half-way mark when it just seemed right.
  • Make sure the guest list is varied. 
  • Try to interest the media.  I was thrilled that a photographer from the Hobart Mercury came and a journo called a couple of days later for more detail which resulted in a nice write-up with some great pics.  Book launch photos
  • Get the books ‘out there’ straight away.  We had a table set up with books on display and someone to accept money.  Because this was a pre-launch, I didn’t have access to eftpos facilities (something the publishers usually organise) but we had a computer set up for anyone who wanted to transfer funds or use paypal.  As it turned out, all the guests had come prepared and cash was in abundance.
  • You – the author – should mingle.  I didn’t want to sit all stuff-shirted at a table ready to sign books.  People purchased their books from the first five minutes right up until the end and then came to get me to sign if they so desired.
  • Have fun!  It is easier than you think.  Forget about who may or may not like the book, don’t think about how many will sell.  Just think of it as a party to celebrate the thrill of having your work published and sharing the excitement with others.

    In the foreground, my Number 1 Fan, the one and only Mammy

Thanks to everyone…you know who you are…for making the night so absolutely categorically perfect.


Filed under Writing

10 responses to “Lights, Camera, Action!

  1. hg

    Congratulations, Karen!
    And thank you for leaving such terrific guidelines for others who might have a book launch in the works.
    Can’t wait to find a way to get my hands on a copy.

    • Thanks Heidi,
      I hope it will eventually be available from bookstores in your neck of the woods. If not, you can always order through my website or through Pan Macmillan (from 1st March).
      I trust your publishing plans are coming along nicely.

  2. Eddy

    Hi Karen,
    Glad to see the Hobart Launch was a great success. Will there be a Melbourne Launch, looking forward to buying and reading 8 States.
    Cheers, Eddy.

  3. I can’t congratulate you enough, this is all phenomenal! Look at those lines. You are a success, a star… a rising star!

    So were you well known before you found an agent and publisher? I think I’m going to have to self-publish and hope to get lucky.

  4. Thanks for dropping by Scott.
    Me? Famous? Oh, how I wish.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have an agent but I did get lucky with a small publisher and the publisher’s connection with Pan Macmillan.
    Knowing your style, I really don’t think you will have any trouble at all, once you are resettled in the US and locked in to your target.
    You and I are as far removed in our writing style and content as we are geographically, which might make us perfect ‘idea bouncers’ for each other. So, seriously, email me any time so I can keep you tied to your keyboard in order to get your book published.
    Now…back to me! Thanks for the congrats, my head is so big at the moment, I can barely walk through a door.

  5. Sounds like a delightful prelaunch party! I love the idea of milling and talking rather than sitting and making people wait in line. If I ever publish I will do that as well!

  6. You are so lucky! Very cool. I hope I can publish something someday. Good luck with your book, though by the crowd, you are already very lucky.

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