If you’re kind enough to read this blog regularly, then you’ll know that my next Joel Williams novel, Past Tense, is coming out on 1 November. If you haven’t launched a book before, then you might not know just how much is really involved in a successful launch event. Want to know? If you’ll ask your disbelief to go get a wine and some tapas, I’ll tell you all about it. 😉
Launch Party Planning
Margot is sitting in a white leather easy chair in her private room at Crime Fiction News Break headquarters. A manicurist is working on Margot’s outstretched right hand. Margot glances down at the work.
Margot: No, not crimson! It has to be coral! Coral! My nails absolutely must complement my hair and skin tones! Don’t you know anything?
The manicurist mumbles an apology and starts to re-do the work. Margot shakes her head in exasperation, and then turns towards the door as it opens. A young woman comes about halfway through the door.
Margot: Come in, Lily. Do you have the launch invitations back from the print shop?
Lily: Yes, Ma’am. I brought one in to show you. She holds out one of the invitations, and Margot takes it with her free hand.
Margot: What?!? This isn’t going to work at all! What were they thinking? Look (She holds up the invitation). There’s just a tiny picture of me on it. The whole thing is taken up with the book cover. Can you believe it? Thank God there’s still time to have them re-done.
Lily (hesitantly): But – well – it’s a book launch. Wouldn’t you want the book to be the main focus?
Margot: Of course not! People are coming to see me.
Lily: Well, yes, they are. But –
Margot: Look, Lily. You’ll learn this soon enough. People don’t read. They don’t care about books. What they want is showbiz. Style.
Lily (Opens her mouth slightly as if to say something, then thinks better of it.): Well, Crystal is here from the event planners. Maybe you can talk about it with her.
Margot nods and waves Lily away. The manicurist silently moves from Margot’s right to her left side. A moment later, the door opens again. A middle-aged woman carrying a tote bag enters.
Margot: Crystal! Thanks for coming in. I can’t wait to see what you’ve put together.
Crystal: I think you’ll like it. Now, I reserved the date at that winery you liked.
Margot: It is a beautiful little place isn’t it? But I don’t know if it’ll work.
Crystal: Why not? You loved it when we were there.
Margot: Well, it’s only on one floor. How am I supposed to make my entrance at this party if there’s no staircase?
Crystal (Raises an eyebrow, then reaches into her tote). We can talk about that later. For right now, I want to show you a sample flyer and bookmark. She pulls a bookmark out of the tote and hands it to Margot.
Margot: What’s this for?
Crystal: It’s a giveaway.
Margot: No, I mean what do you do with it?
Crystal: Well, you – never mind. Just trust me, your guests will like it.
Margot (Doubtfully): If you say so. What else do you have?
Crystal (Reaches into the tote again and pulls out a flyer. She hands that to Margot, who puts the bookmark on her lap and takes the flyer): Take a look at this great flyer I put together.
Margot (After turning the flyer over and then back again): This is all wrong!
Crystal (Trying to smother an exasperated sigh): What’s the problem?
Margot: Well, the book cover and the blurb take up one entire side. And there’s stuff about the event and the winery on the other. There’s only one small picture of me, and that’s just in one corner.
Crystal: But that’s the whole point of the event, Margot. The book. You want to let people know about the book, so they’ll come meet you and hopefully buy a copy.
Margot: Who cares about the book? Nobody reads books, and people who do read only do it so they’ll look smart. They won’t care what it’s actually about. Besides, you said they’ll also want to meet me.
Crystal: Well, yes, but mostly, they’ll be interested in the book. So you want to make that the focus. That’s why we’re putting a microphone in, so you can do a couple of readings.
Margot: Readings? You mean read from the book?
Crystal: Of course. We talked about this. Didn’t you pick out some passages you want to read?
Margot: Nah, too much like work. Besides, that would mean I’d have to actually read the thing.
Crystal: But you wrote it, didn’t you?
Margot: Well, yeah, but I didn’t pay any attention to it when I was writing it. Besides, I thought that microphone was for me to tell people about myself.
Crystal: Um…no, it’s really not.
Margot (Beginning to look bored and fidget a bit). This doesn’t sound like nearly as much fun as I thought it was going to be. There is going to be food, right?
Crystal: Of course. I’ve got some ideas about that. I’m thinking a launch cake, some small appetizers, and of course, it’s a winery, so that’s covered. We’ll have coffee and tea, too.
Margot: Wait, what? No caviar? No white truffles? No lobster? I thought this was going to be catered.
Crystal (With a determined look on her face): You’re talking about things that are served at state dinners and other events like that. This is a book launch party.
Margot: You know, you’re right. Why don’t we toss the whole book concept completely and just make it a party? I don’t even remember anything about the stupid book, anyway. Instead of worrying about books, let’s have a real party – the exclusive event of the year. She gets a dreamy look on her face as she imagines the event.
Crystal shakes her head slightly and catches the manicurist looking at her sympathetically. She returns the glance and gathers her materials. She says a quick ‘good bye’ to Margot. As she leaves, she just catches Margot murmuring, ‘But what am I going to do about my hair?’