Friday, 7 August 2009

The Launching of a Book - Damian Harvey

Although I've attended a few book launches I've not yet had one for any of my own books. From the few I've been to I feel I've learned a lot, or at least enough to consider having one myself and hopefully making a success of it.

The idea of having a launch myself has always felt a little daunting as, in my mind, there are so many things that need to be taken into account in order to make it a success. Where do I have it? Who do I invite? What do I actually do? I was reminded of all these on Wednesday when I attended the launch of Helena Pielichaty's new series, Girls F.C.

I suppose a launch could be held just about anywhere, but to maximise the impact I've always felt that it can only help if the venue is relevant to the books in some way. Helena's launch was held at the National Football Museum in Preston - surely an ideal place for the launch of a series of books about a girls football team. People attending the launch were able take advantage of the facilities on offer at the museum as well as taking part in the launch -a guided tour, a penalty shootout, refreshments in the cafe etc.

One thing that has stopped me having a launch myself is simply being unsure about what I would actually do. Do I make it like a school/library/festival visit where I leap around and tell stories for a hour or do I quietly mingle with the people there and hope for the best? For my liking, Helena seemed to get the balance just right. Prior to saying anything herself, Peter Evans (the museum's education officer) gave an enthusiastic talk about the history of women's football with a slide show and some excellent props from the museum's collection.

It was then Helena's turn to leap into action with a little bit of talk and readings from the first four books. Rather than doing all the readings herself, she cleverly utilised some of the young readers that had come along to the launch - really getting the audience involved.
This was followed by a free prize raffle in which eager readers won sets of books (signed by the author - and by Hope Powell, the England woman's football team coach), a signed football shirt, match tickets and lots of other football goodies.
Refreshments were on hand for everyone there, then Helena made her way downstairs to sign books and make herself available for interview with the local press.
The launch was well organised and well attended - so well done Helena. I'll certainly be having one myself in the not too distant future. Hopefully you'll all come along.


adele geras said...

I was there too, and Damian is quite was a super event. I think it takes a lot of energy on the part of both the author and (very importantly!) the publisher to get something as good as this off the ground. Walkers are to be congratulated for supporting Helena's books in this excellent way. And doesn't Helena look great in that footie strip??

Penny Dolan said...

Sounds as though the mix of venue and audience and content - plus Helena's own enthusiasm - was just right, and a model for more timid authors to follow! Looks a great new seriesthat will really attract readers.

Linda Strachan said...

I think that a book launch should be fun and as stress free as possible.
Some authors wait for their publishers to suggest one and then feel let down if they don't.
I prefer to get things going myself and if you ask they can only say 'no', but even if your publisher is not actively organising it they will often contribute something towards the cost of some wine etc. Holding it in an interesting place can be fun but it often involves a lot more work if you are organising it yourself. Bookshops are almost always happy to host it and then you can relax and enjoy celebrating the result of your labour with family, friends and as many 'book related' people as you can get to come along!
I have organised a few of my own and also had a couple of publishers who have organised them and it has worked out fine either way.
You have worked hard to get to this point and why not celebrate the new arrival.

If I am anywhere nearby I would love to come along, Damian!