Adventures in Self-Printing: The Book Launch

10 May

On Saturday, I went to a book launch. My book launch. As in, the launch of my own book.

It’s all still a bit surreal.

And the prize for book jacket colour co-ordination goes to...

After a hectic week of preparation – wishing away the volcanic ash long enough for my books to fly in from North Carolina, telling everyone I know that unless they show up at exactly 12.30pm they can expect never to speak to me again, spending so much money on make-up in Boots that the cashier eyed my credit card with suspicion – the day had finally arrived, and I felt ever-so-slightly nauseous at the thought of what was about to happen.

Let me explain: it wasn’t a traditional launch, per se. As I’ve previous blogged, I wanted to save the glitzy, alcohol-drenched launch party for my novel dreams; for my adventures in self-printing, I went for the glorified-signing-in-a-local-bookshop approach, which was really all I could handle. Baby steps and all that jazz.

What's my name again?

Having squeezed myself into my carefully chosen outfit (blue to match the cover design), applied enough make-up to survive a nuclear blast and hung my ties-in-with-the-book rocket ship chain around my neck, I headed to the location: the lovely Douglas Bookshop in Douglas Village Shopping Centre, Cork, about a five minute drive from my house. Anne, the owner, had already set up a table and a display, and had even supplied a blue tablecloth – the color co-ordination was complete!

I snapped a quick picture of my books – my books! – lined up on the shelves, and then there was an awkward three minutes or so of me standing there and no one else being anywhere around. Of course, I was early – it was only 12.15; the launch was due to start at 12.30 – but suddenly all those horrible nightmares came rushing back to me-

The Howard Family: John, moi, Kathleen, Claire and John Snr.

Wait! Here’s comes someone I know! My parents’ best friends appeared as if from nowhere, and they wanted four books. (Four? Are you sure you want that many..?!) They wanted them signed, so I sat down at the little blue table, took four books from one of the display piles and used my fancy blue rollerball pen to start inscribing them.

Then I blinked and it was an hour and a half later.

Honestly, that’s what it felt like.

Pat, Marion and Geraldine Mullane and my mother, in blue on the end.

By the time I’d finished signing those first four books, a crowd had gathered. (I had every well warned – 12.30 on the dot!) Everyone needed one or more books signed and of course there was chatting to be done and photos to be taken. (My wonderfully talented cousin Linda came along with her very professional-looking camera, and snapped everyone in attendance. I’ve her to thank for all the photos.) A photographer and reporter from the local paper also showed up and then there were the curious passers-by who stopped in front of the table, peered at the book, peered into my face and then moved on. How lovely.

Bringing the cuteness: Aaron Murray.

One minute I was pretending to sign a book while posing for a photographer while trying not to have more than two chins, and the next it was all over. Everyone had their books, everyone had had their fun and unless I wanted to sit at that table all day smiling at strangers, it was time to go. I’d been there for well over an hour (and it would take me another half an hour to actually leave, with all the chatting!). There was just time to sign a few copies of my book to leave in the shop – and get to see how Mousetrapped looked with ‘Signed by the Author’ stickers (fab, by the way) – and then we were off for a recovery lunch.

As I walked away I wondered: did that just happen? Did I just have an actual book launch hybrid signing thingy? Did I really?

Click here for a slideshow of all my book launch pics.

Thanks to Anne and Douglas Bookshop for a great day and thanks especially to everyone who came and bought a book. (And thanks very especially to people who bought more than one…!!) If you’d like to find out more about Mousetrapped you can do so here. Mousetrapped is also available to buy online. I self-published Mousetrapped; find out how here.

4 Responses to “Adventures in Self-Printing: The Book Launch”

  1. Rebecca Brown May 10, 2010 at 22:23 #

    It sounds like you had a fab time and I bet it was really exciting! I would have loved to have come: perhaps you can make your first international launch over at our neck of the woods? ;)

    Hope your success continues x

  2. catherineryanhoward May 11, 2010 at 00:23 #

    Thanks Rebecca! Yeah, it was quite exciting but I didn’t even have time to think about that – it just flew by! Maybe if this whole novel business works out I’ll be able to have an ‘international’ launch closer to you! We’ll see… :)

  3. loulocke May 11, 2010 at 14:44 #

    Dear Catherine,

    Congratulations, I know that book signing are supposed to be the bread and butter of marketing, but I myself haven’t gotten up the nerve to have one for my recently published history mystery, so this was inspiring to me. Hope you have many more successful ones.

  4. e.lee May 22, 2010 at 22:24 #

    congratulations!

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