Tag Archives: publicity

A Little Bit of Sunshine

A mini promotional trip to the Sunshine Coast on the weekend gave me the chance to lap up a little extra sunshine before the onslaught of winter.  

The trip also resulted in some stimulating conversations and fun surprises, not the least of which was the delightful Annie’s Books on Peregian

Annie (a specialist ‘book detective’) seems to totally enjoy what she does.  Her knowledge and enthusiasm serve to remind us that book-buying is an experience to savour and I am honoured that she found space for 8 States of Catastrophe on her shelves.

I’m looking forward to meeting more dedicated book-sellers like Annie in the months ahead.

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PARTY TIME…Again

We are gearing up for the Stanthorpe launch of 8 States of Catastrophe now and I am looking forward to it. 

Some readers of this blog would not be familiar with Stanthorpe (especially those from Canada and the States but also, it seems, some of the more recent readers residing in Australia’s southern states).  For anyone interested, here’s a portal from where you can check out my adopted home-town. 

Stanthorpe

As I have mentioned elsewhere, my ‘day-job’ office is in the Arcadia building which used to house the local cinema many moons ago.  In the process of renovating and upgrading the offices, my boss decided to embark on the mammoth project of having some old cinema equipment restored which resulted in an homage to history;  the small, classy, old-fashioned Arcadia Theatre, sporting much of its original movie equipment and even the old light fittings.

Said boss – and very good friend – has kindly offered me the use of the theatre – or did I con him into it? – and it seems to me to be a perfect venue for a book launch.  Having made the decision not to install fixed chairs means the area can lend itself to all sorts of functions, rather than just movies [having said that, there’s just nothing like that old-fashioned movie experience]. 

For the hour and a half event, we are sticking with the formula we used for Hobart.

Food: cocktail sandwiches, red and white wine, juice.   We all know that authors basically starve for their art so people are generally happy and pleasantly surprised to be given a drink and a small bite to eat when they come to a launch.

Formalities: no lengthy speeches and definitely no speech from the author (I can almost hear the sigh of relief from anyone who has ever heard me try my hand at public speaking).  Vince (the aforesaid boss, friend, solicitor, venue owner and father to the suave, sophisticated and inimitable ‘Third in Line’) has agreed to speak.

Book signing: Still not a fan of the author sitting at a table like a stuffed chook waiting to autograph books. I’ll be there mingling and signing books for anyone who asks and, hopefully, having a good time.

For those of you from far-flung places who won’t be here, rest-assured I’ll post up some pics soon after the event.

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Let’s talk about Venues

In the lull between the Hobart pre-launch and the agonizing, interminable wait for the balance of the books to arrive, I thought I’d write a little about the venue slated for Stanthorpe.
          Where the Hobart launch was held in the contemporary architecturally-stylish Mawson Pavilion (tinted glass, ocean views, delicate wire-strung lights), the Stanthorpe venue is steeped in history.
          After mooting a few different venues (winery, shop, country hotel), we’ve decided on something quite different…a private cinema.
          When my boss was renovating his offices in the old theatre building in Stanthorpe, he stumbled across some original cinema equipment and proceeded to embark upon a magnificent journey of restoration. He has kindly offered the use of his ‘Arcadia Theatre’ for the local launch and it should prove to be the perfect venue.
          Picture this: an enormous, high-ceilinged dark-carpeted empty room (thankfully, there are no fixed chairs); walls swathed in heavy burgundy cinema curtains; soft lighting from the original theatre lights, background music, guests, food, wine (of course)…perfect!

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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.

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Heavenly Hobart

Apologies to all those who have been waiting to hear about the Hobart pre-launch celebrations.  As I am still traveling, both   wi-fi access and time are difficult to grab.

The party was a magnificent success: superb venue, lovely wine, terrific food, wonderful guests…I could go on and on and, believe me, I will…just as soon as I am home in front of my own computer with photographs at my fingertips.

Thanks to everyone for helping me make the night a success and ensuring that I sold out of books!!

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The Fun-Fair Ride to Publication – Part 3

The countdown is really on now.
In just over six weeks, I will no doubt be frantically running around checking on last minute details as I prepare to reveal my ‘baby’ 8 States of Catastrophe to anywhere between 50 and 100 guests. It is a nerve-wracking thought but also extremely exciting.
I’m getting bogged down with questions about how much champagne to order (as my friends will testify, I’ve always had a problem knowing when enough champas is enough!) or whether to have cocktail sized napkins or full ones.
Then I tell myself to stop being a control freak and for once in my life just go with the flow. Come to think of it, perhaps ‘control’ is one of the reasons I became a writer. Fiction writing is the perfect pastime: creating characters, designing worlds, altering life courses with a few deft keystrokes.
Orange! I wonder if I can find some orange napkins.
Many of the invited guests are friends and rellies but there are also quite a few who wouldn’t know me if I stood beneath my name spelled out by a string of flashing neon letters, so I have taken some time to write a few notes explaining a snippet of my background or a bit about the book to give those people an idea of why they should be interested in attending my pre-launch celebrations.
Dry or sweet, do you think?
I have just received an email from my publisher assuring me, once again, that books will be airfreighted to Hobart in plenty of time for the big night. Reading between the lines, I think both the publisher and the project manager might be saying: ‘for god’s sake, would you just relax!’
Cocktail-sized napkins, for sure. Plenty big enough. Yellow or white?
Amidst all the excitement and the preparations, I have managed to continue working on my next project. The first draft of the latest novel – the name of which tradition forbids me from uttering by lip or pen – is almost complete…but I digress…again. Where was I? Ah yes, napkins and champagne.
Oh who cares? A square of tissue and something in a glass with bubbles. Perfect!

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Road to Publication Part 2

          I almost called it the Highway to Publication, given that the speed has [finally] picked up but I reminded myself that there is still a way to go.
          My book now has a cover, designed by one David Khan, a man I have never met which is probably quite common but feels strange nevertheless.             
          Then again, neither have I met Paul Bugeja, the editor who laboured over a period of quite a few months to hunt down and weed out those annoying little errors that all writers probably make but have difficulty isolating.
          But I digress…today, I am sitting in my little “word factory” having torn off the writerly cloak of fiction, trying on the far more constraining outfit of the marketing-savvy journalist as I prepare information for a media kit.
          It feels more than a little strange immersing myself once more into the life of MV (the motorcycle riding poet of ‘8 States of Catastrophe’), given that I had consciously had to sweep him out of my head a year and a half ago in order to move on to my next project.  I never really left him behind though; not totally.  Every couple of months I’ve had to delve back into the story to consider a suggested revision, delete a passage, add a word.  And then sometimes I’d get lost in the story again, with MV and his dog Rider and all those mysterious coincidences and it was such hard work knowing when to take a deep breath and accept that the manuscript was done.
          It is difficult for writers who have spent at least months but usually years tied up in solitary confinement with their characters to suddenly be ‘outed’ and required to speak coherently and at length about their work.
          But that is exactly what I need to do now, and it all starts with the launches.
          I am excited to have scored a great location for the Tasmanian pre-launch celebration in late January.  Thanks to the Hobart City Council, we have what appears to be the perfect venue: The Mawson Waterfront Pavilion.  
          Hobart is first on my agenda for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it was where I was born and raised. 
          The guest list is half complete (thanks to my Mum and my sister Tammy and the stylishly savvy Isabella Marlowe-Thompson-Thomson [aka Susan]). Flights are booked, accommodation arranged (thanks again Tam) and the invitations are ready for printing.  
          Finger food…tick.  
          Background music…tick.  
          Someone to make a speech…tick (thanks to my dear friend Keith Mogg [aka Alan])
          Wine…working on it.
          Books…Ayeeee!  I can only keep everything crossed and hope they arrive on time!

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