Launching a novel…

An author panel sit stunned as their writing story gets projected above their heads....
An author panel sit stunned as their writing story gets projected above their heads….

I’ve sat in the audience for author events before, listening to someone rad their words aloud. I’ve also organised author events – I have been that person who takes your picture with the writer you admire, who always carries Sharpies, who makes small talk while they sign stock copies. But this week were my first events from the other side – from the side of the author.

There’s something gratifying about being recognised as you walk into the venue for your first author event. “Hi Sue! Glad you could make it!” said the voice. It was actually the publisher and editor, Iain Grant, talking, but for a man who met for about an hour two years ago this isn’t bad.

The authors for tonight’s event meet in the coffee shop, they are relaxed and poised about reading. I am nervous. We discover there will be at least 70-80 people present for Friday’s big launch – now that’s an audience. To mask more nervousness I ask what everyone’s wearing on Friday. They look surprised, clearly haven’t thought about it before, perhaps preoccupied with more worthy literary things. I mention I was going to wear something sparkly and heels. I have set the bar low. Oh dear.

In the event, our audience for this free drop in event is tiny. It’s a freezing cold night and we all understand. But we read anyway. The questions we get asked are excellent and the comments are positive. It’s lovely to meet everyone and I feel really encouraged.

Everyone else has author business cards. I don’t. I get some online on my way home. They should arrive in time for Friday. I decide it’s time to take myself seriously.

Reading is helped when you can mostly hide behind an enormous lecturn
Reading is helped when you can mostly hide behind an enormous lecturn

Friday is a ticketed event. We start off with a boozy reception in the library – to loosen the vocal chords for reading in a theatre (well that was what I told myself…) and then make our way to the theatre. The stage is set, a table for the seven of us, and a  complicated and engaging Powerpoint presentation about the writing process delivered by Iain and interspersed by readings from the authors. I manage not to embarrass myself by falling over in my heels as I walk across the stage. So far so good.

Finally, we sit and sign copies of the books as the audience come up and ask questions. I’ve got to improve my signature… I feel it’s not flamboyant enough.

And so there you go! I have a book out. An actual book. Here’s the link should you want to go and buy it. I think it would make a great Christmas present for everyone you know. Go on, get it. Books are easy to giftwrap too…


  1. For the record, I wasn’t even there and I was stressed about what I WOULD have worn, if I had been! I had several hypothetical choices (stop me if this starts to sound crazy), though none included heels, because heels + Maria = utter disaster in the form of stumbling and unstoppable giggling…

  2. Reblogged this on Chateaux en Espagne and commented:
    This is Sue’s take on the book launch – she obviously felt more nervous than she looked. I think I learned three things:
    1. Take plenty of biros to sign books – we only had one or two between the lot of us.
    2. The audience wants to know about the scope of the story and especially about the writing journey.
    3. Relax and enjoy it, the hard work is over.

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