I have been writing books and short stories for adults and young readers for over thirty years. One way or another most of my work has been published if always in their original form. In those thirty years, though many authors see this as a wonderful way to party, I have mostly avoided launching my own books. In my experience, they take an enormous amount of effort, plus all the expense and time needed to make a success. Nor do I have a good history with those launches I have reluctantly undertaken.
My first happened interstate where I made the grave mistake of staying with the small publisher. Though I was happy to prepare sandwiches and snacks for whoever might turn up, I became the reluctant witness to an argument and wished I could vanish into the woodwork. No such luck. I could only pretend I hadn’t noticed.
My next launch was with a big publisher. Four authors launching a new concept in fictionalising Australian history. What three of us didn’t expect was the fourth sweeping in with an entourage of agents and followers and taking over completely. We three might not have bothered being there. I’m sure the audience went away thinking one author wrote all four books.
My next experience has a sad twist. Intended to take place in a government house where the state governor would launch this series, in my effort to present well, I bought a new frock. At the last minute, the publisher, who had been ill for a long time, took a turn for the worse, and died. We never did get to launch those books. I never did get to wear that frock.
At my fifth launch we invited a respected academic to introduce a young adult historical fiction set in Melbourne’s fifties. What we didn’t know was that she was in the early stage of dementia. Nor had she read the book. On stage she proceeded to talk about picture story books for little ones, obviously an earlier prepared talk, but had nothing to do with the book she was launching. Thankfully, someone took over. Maybe the audience didn’t notice?
Last week at my sixth launch, everything seemed to be happening by the proverbial skin of the teeth. So much so that my latest three books inexplicably vanished into our postal system. To check them out, I had to go the bookshop and buy them. Though the event was a success, by then I was so nervous, on the way to the event I tripped over a gutter and fell flat on my face.
From now on, I have promised myself to only ever launch books on the web.
The Trilogy that was launched:
SHAKESPEARE NOW! A TRILOGY.
TheTrytth Chronicles. (The Tempest)
Gap Year Nanny. (Macbeth)
Changing History? (Romeo and Juliet)
single copies RRP $16.95 T
The anthology RRP $34.95