With the publication date for Trouble at Home eventually imminent after the long wait, I hit a patch of self-doubt about having a launch. I wasn’t sure what to actually do, and it felt a bit like I was trying to big-note myself. When a friend asked me about it, I finally said outright that, no, I wasn’t going to, feeling a moment of relief that I’d made a decision.
Said friend immediately insisted I did launch and promised to help (which she duly did, once I’d worked out how).
Once again undecided, I went and googled ‘how to plan a book launch’ and read lots of things which clearly depended on having a whopping budget, and probably were far more directed towards the authors of grown-up fiction rather than a children’s book.
As I scrolled through, however, I found myself reading advice from (I think) Wisconsin Public Library pointing me back to a blog by an Australian author (oh, who was it?) with a guest post by my beautiful writing friend Tania McCartney, who is the queen of amazing book launches (I know, I’ve attended more than a few), and as I then scrolled through her site, found a pic of myself, way back when, smiling as she launched one of her Riley books.
When I flicked off a quick email, shyly indicating that I’d been surprised to find a pic of myself whilst trying to work out how to run a book launch, I got an immediate response with to-the-point advice and the offer to launch me and take photos. Bless.
SIde note: I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is to be part of such a friendly and supportive industry, and to know people like the amazingly energetic Tania, who was in the throes of finalising work on her (first) self-illustrated manuscript, planning her own launch for the gorgeous Smile, Cry, and helping another, more illustrious, local author, Jack Heath, with the launch of the first book in his Countdown to Danger series, Bullet Train Disaster (which turned out to be on the same weekend as my launch)!
Anyway, acting on her advice, I tentatively contacted Harry Hartog Booksellers in Woden, not sure what to expect, and was immediately given the choice of a couple of dates close to the publication date for Trouble at Home. I then set to planning a party, complete with cupcakes (mandatory), chips in packages with a printed Trouble logo (as per the story), dragon based activities (masks, colouring-ins and story starters) and fizzy sarsaparilla drink. I also designed and cut out a felt dragon mascot (which my gorgeous mum sewed up for me) who was very popular with the little-uns, and carefully cut out countless little felt dragon bookmarks to give away.
I let my publisher know what was happening, a bit nervous that maybe I was being a bit forward, organised for the printing of some postcards, made some mini-posters to be put up on facebook and anywhere else I could think of, and held my breath.
At the appointed hour, my (encouraging and lovely) friend made and decorated the cupcakes in the dragon theme while my (equally encouraging and lovely) Mum made up some dragon scale bread (just like fairy bread but using only ‘dragon’ colours and a round loaf cut into triangles- invented by me and very popular), I packed up my little basket of bits, and we headed into Harry Hartog, where a lovely space had been set aside for the launch.
It was lovely and gorgeous and so exciting.
More people came and HH had to find more space and more chairs.
I felt so uplifted.
Tania introduced me and my little book and then I raved on for a while, and then lots of people bought my book and I signed and signed and had lots of conversations with lots of lovely people, including students and parents from my ‘old’ school – who I will henceforth refer to as my own private cheer squad – you are all so beautiful – some of my then brand new students and parents (thank you for showing such faith in me), a small collection of local authors who I’ve had the immense pleasure of meeting via SCWBI, ACT Writers Centre events and even the workshop I presented last year (thank you, too), and including Jack Heath, who I had only met the day before at his launch, CBCA representative, Leanne Barrett, and , of course, my amazing, fabulous family.
HH sold out of books (so too did two other booksellers, once people realised they could go and buy the books elsewhere and bring them back to be signed… shhh) and I also signed a whole heap of postcards.
It was exhilarating.
I rode the high for days.
Melissa from Honey Bee Books covered the launch here, where she wrote 'Isn't that a fabulous first line? We all loved listening to the first chapter and couldn't wait to get the book home to see what happens next.'
Since then, I’ve read some reviews that are all equally positive and uplifting, including:
'some of the best junior fiction writing I've had the pleasure to read in quite some time'
'a beautifully crafted early chapter book'
'I knew this book would be a winner from the first three sentences'
and a lovely one from Aijay W on Creative Kids Tales who said 'it was lots of fun to read'.
As well as that, a successful author I know in England, Emma Laybourn, has said Trouble would transfer nicely to the English market (big smile), and wrote a lovely review for goodreads, where she describes Trouble at Home as 'a lively, funny, well-plotted short book for younger children'.
I’m so looking forward to story number two making it out into the big wide world (July I believe) because book launches are fun, and I’m looking forward to the next one.
In the meantime, please buy my book. People seem to think it is okay.
Let me know what you think.