How to Launch a Book Up North…. by Milly Johnson
I am invited to a lot of book launches. Swanky ones, down in London. They’re always fun, they’re always crowded with other authors and we grab the chance to have natters and catch up on news whilst swigging copious amounts of prosecco. To be honest, I don’t invite my fellow authors to mine, only because I always feel guilty about asking them as it’s a much longer, more laboured and expensive affair to find a hotel room and plan all those interconnecting trains. Much better to let them off the hook and say ‘just give me a couple of retweets and save yourself a bob or two.’
Some authors don’t have a book launch. Madness. It’s like having a child and sneaking it out of the maternity hospital without taking a single picture of it. Be proud – show off what you’ve spent months/years creating for the world to enjoy and marvel at. Authors are odd beings: we spend our lives writing stuff for millions (in our dreams) to enjoy and then are almost embarrassed to persuade the general public that it’s worth reading.
And releasing a book is very much like giving birth after months of hard labour and sleepless nights and – oh – that relief when it’s finally out, but also there’s fear because you can’t keep it safe inside you any more from people who might not like it. So, give it the best possible start in life, is what I say. Launch it into the world with a bit of noise and good feeling. And gallons of fizz, or in my case, giant pots of tea.
So instead of an oak-panelled hall with liveried waiters weaving in and out of people bearing trays of prawn balls and champagne flutes, mine are held in a local village hall-cum-library. It works better for me to have a stack load of people present who want to get their hands on my book before anyone else and are rewarded for buying a ticket to the event with a goody bag worth twice the entrance fee, the chance of walking off with a raffle prize from two tables groaning with the weight of them and a buffet that not even Henry VIII could make a dent in. The event is always run by the formidable Sandra who should be in charge of the world because everything runs like clockwork under her command. Cake-cutting is always done by Jill. The raffle by Phyllis and Janine. These are things set in stone.
I’ll admit, the reason why I put on such a party is that I’ve always worried no one would turn up unless I lure them with goodies. Still do. This year all the tickets were sold in a single day. Then excitement as Sandra found another 30 chairs upstairs and we had a buying frenzy that the Wolf of Wall Street would have been proud of. I am under no illusion that my books are the main draw. You have to taste the scones to know this is not false modesty.
At one launch the kitchen had to be evacuated because there was a pigeon with an eagle complex dive-bombing the scones. You know, I have a sneaky suspicion that the north-south divide just might exist.
The new book by Milly Johnson - THE QUEEN OF WISHFUL THINKING – is available to pre-order now in eBook and Library Hardback format. The paperback edition will be available to buy in all good bookshops on 4th May 2017.