Adventures in Self-Printing: The Book Launch


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. Continue reading

T-Minus 1 Day to (a Book) Launch: About the Author

It’s almost he-ere…

Now that the logistics are taken care of (the books, the posters, the invites) and everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life who lives within a twenty-mile radius of the city has been roped in to attending, all that’s left to do now is prepare myself for prolonged exposure to the public, photographs taken in natural light and not shocking the people who haven’t met me in the (ample) flesh for a while.

Well, not shocking them too much anyway.

The Book Launch Outfit

A sneak peek at the Book Launch Outfit...

Much like my crazy book launch promotion ideas (like hiring a model to wear a Mickey Mouse costume and hang around outside the shop) and my crazy book launch beverage ideas (like serving orange juice in champagne flutes – orange juice? Florida? Get it?), there were a number of garment ideas that went out the window too, including a palm tree-emblazoned vest from Oasis which I still might invest in (no pun intended) to wear another time. In the end I settled for something summery and blue – Florida is, after all, the Sunshine State, and everything about Mousetrapped seems to be blue – and dug out my rocket ship necklace to accessorize it. Continue reading

T-Minus 2 Days to (a Book) Launch: Rent-a-Crowd

I’d decided to have a book launch. (Check!) I’d secured a book shop in which to have it. (Check!) I’d order a couple of boxes of books (check!) and after a sleepless night of No Book Nightmares, they arrived. (Check!)

Now I had to try and persuade people to attend.


I used Vistaprint to design and print invitations, ordering what they call ‘rack cards’ which are just slightly smaller than a DL or letter envelope. As per usual, I went about their creation in a very roundabout way: I designed the invite using a Microsoft Word template, saved it as a PDF, cropped it and saved it again but as a JPEG. On the back, I used an American flag stock image as a background and included a blurb about the book, so the invites could pull double duty as advertising. They also make a fetching bookmark. When all was said and done, 250 of these babies cost approximately 0.04 Euro cent each. I gave half of them to the bookstore to keep on their counter and/or give away with the sales of other books in the run up to the launch, stuck a few up on library and supermarket notice-boards and dispersed the rest to The Great Invited. Continue reading

T-Minus 3 Days to (a Book) Launch: Stock Options

[Our broadband is out. I was on the verge of typing this entire blog post into the tininess of my iPhone when I remembered my Dad has a Vodafone Mobile Connect pluggy-inny-thingy – that’s the technical term, I believe – for his laptop, so I’ve commandeered it for half an hour. The keyboard is unnecessarily springy, Internet Explorer is making everything look like it’s from the web circa 1998 – and it doesn’t spell check , so forgive me – and using a PC is making me feel a bit sick, but it’s better than nothing. I hope you appreciate the lengths I’m going to keep this blog updated!]

I didn’t sleep last night.

I lay awake in the dark, wondering how you could possibly have a book launch with no books. Surely there had to be a way.

There had to be.

There had to be because my books had left the printers in North Carolina, U.S.A, but hadn’t yet arrived at my house in Cork, Ireland, the air space between the two had just been closed for the third time since the books were shipped and the launch was Saturday morning, only two and a bit days from now. Continue reading

T-Minus 4 Days to (a Book) Launch: The Bookstore

So I’d decided to have a book launch. Now all I needed was to persuade a brick and mortar bookshop to lend me some space to have it in.

I was unduly nervous about approaching my local indie bookstore, thinking they’d listen to what I had to say, stare at me for an uncomfortably long moment and then burst out laughing. ‘Oh, you silly girl,’ I imagined them saying as they wiped the laughter-induced tears from their eyes with an index finger. ‘We don’t let the likes of you in here. We only support properly published books!’ In order to convince them that I was serious, I put on my serious clothes (Mousetrapped joke alert: i.e. no ‘Love Stinks’ T-shirt with cartoon skunk), polished up a copy of my book (fingerprints show up terribly on the back cover) and put together a little colour-coordinated information sheet that I hoped would convince the bookseller I was in the business of selling books and not just looking for an excuse to get my face in the paper. I also threw in a DVD just for luck.

Continue reading

T-Minus 5 Days to (a Book) Launch: The Countdown Begins

You may not know this because I rarely speak, blog or tweet about it, but I’ve written a book (it’s called Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida, thanks for asking) and next Saturday 8th May, I’m having a little launch party/glorified signing type thingy in Douglas Bookshop, Cork at 12.30 p.m.

Okay, so maybe it’s almost all I ever talk, blog or tweet about, but you’re not sick of it yet, right?

[Cue the sound of crickets]

Originally, I wasn’t going to have a launch at all. Strange, you may well say, especially since I’ve been dreaming of my first book launch (where it’ll be, who’ll be there, what my shoes will look like) in the same way most little girls dream of their wedding day and would have therefore been expected to grasp any opportunity as soon as it came my way. But that was just it: in all my daydreams, my launch was a glitzy affair involving a $4,000 pale pink Dolce and Gabbana dress I saw in a magazine once, an open bar, mojitos and a novel.

It was certainly not for a little travel memoir I’d published myself. Continue reading