Launching a book into the world by Milly Johnson
Sometimes I think that the actual writing of books is the easiest part of the whole process. Books are like small children – you have to celebrate their arrival into the world with a party (any excuse). You have to ‘wet their head’ with champagne (more any excuse). You have to support them, show off about them, insist the world sees them as your wonderful creation. My books take 9 months from conception to birth – the parallels are too obvious to ignore. Every book is precious to me, I like them all for different reasons, but I feel that I shouldn’t have a favourite. I glow when I see their photographs in various places. I beam when I hear good things about them. I snarl when other people slag them off and my hackles rise.But a new book coming out is a great excuse for a party. And champagne. And flowers. Publishers send you a bouquet on publication day – and they are every bit as sweet to receive as the flowers you get in a maternity ward. And it has become custom to open a bottle of fizz on the big day – although my little tipple is Pellers Ice Wine which is the best sort of bubbly I’ve ever drank. Nothing else will do.
I’m sure that I go over the top when I release a book (‘You? Go over the top, Mill? Never!’ say my friends with a smirk). My launches get bigger with every passing year. But it’s a great excuse to indulge myself all things stationery. I am a totally stationery geek. Hobbycraft is heaven as far as I am concerned. And having a ‘theme’ for my book allows me to go and buy stickers, colour-coordinated ribbon, design bookmarks, even buy stamps and ink. My house is currently full of umbrella stickers, umbrella confetti, ribbons with umbrellas on them, bags with umbrellas on them, chocolates in the shape of umbrellas, bookmarks with umbrellas on them… even napkins with umbrellas on them. Doesn’t that cost? I hear you ask. Yes, and it’s a marvellous spend. I can’t stop myself. I know that when I have my launch evening, I’ll have a room full of people stuffed with cake, sandwiches, holding goody bags and hopefully when they get home, they’ll start reading the book with a jolly heart.But I’ll let you into a secret. I started the whole ‘goody bag’ thing with my first book because I was so terrified that no one would turn up to my launch party that I prepared to bribe them with presents. Now, even though I know they’ll turn up because they’ve bought tickets, the custom has to continue. Us writers are superstitious creatures and any break in custom could result in disaster. It has to continue. Shame.
Hence the fizz will be bought, Hobbycraft will be visited, cakes will be distributed and goody bags will be supplied at every launch I ever do. It’s hard work. I should have muscles like Arnie Schwarzenegger with all the boxes of goodies I have to carry into my launches. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nor could I. It’s my lucky ritual. And my child deserves only the best.