How not to hold a book launch

Or in other words, how whatever can go wrong inevitably does go wrong.

My first two books in the Guinevere series, The Dragon Ring and The Bear’s Heart, came out in winter, so the weather was bad, and covid was still about and if I’d done an in-person book launch back then we couldn’t have had the doors and windows open. So, when I found out my third book, The Sword, was coming out on May 31st, I rashly decided I could do a proper launch. Haha – silly me.

Firstly, when I set the date for the 3rd of July, I completely forgot that would be in the middle of Wimbledon fortnight until someone mentioned it to me on July 1st. Mistake number one. Too late by then to change anything, this only added to my rising stress. The cause of all this stress was the non-appearance of the extra copies of books two and three, The Bear’s Heart and The Sword, my agent had ordered for the book launch. From being terrified no one would come and I’d be speaking to an empty room, my fears swung sharply in the other direction, and I decided I didn’t want everyone to come because there wouldn’t be enough books.

Panic stations. I ordered some full price ones from amazon using my son’s Prime account. Mistake number two. Firstly, they were more expensive than I was planning to sell them for, and secondly, we chose to have the order delivered to a shop with an amazon hub that was open (according to amazon) until 11pm at night. With a message on amazon saying they’d be delivered by 10pm on Saturday the 2nd, I spotted that the shop was going to close at 8pm. Luckily for my sanity, they turned up in the nick of time.

However, this wasn’t the only source of stress for the weekend. I’d invited a lot of people, and now they began crying off for various reasons. Seemed like a lot of them had developed covid, which filled me with trepidation that the ones who were coming would possibly have it but not know they did. As I’m writing this a full ten days after the launch and so far, I’m unscathed, I’m thinking they were all healthy.

However, once the initial socialising, and hugging, was over, and we got down to the actual book launch, everything slid into place. I thanked everyone for coming (speaking off the cuff is a thing I don’t like, so I probably missed out things I should have said and gabbled stuff I shouldn’t have) and read an excerpt from the start of Guinevere: The Sword. My friend Diane did a short interview which set me further at my ease. I think I enjoyed that bit the most.

Then, after book signings, it was all over, and we were packing up our things. Jake, my student son, aka The Wookie thanks to his hair and beard, managed to consume any food that was left once we were home. I’m not sure all the stress from beforehand inclines me to do one of these ever again, but you never know, I’ll probably forget that bit and remember the good bits. A bit like how we always remember childhood holidays as sunny.

But don’t forget the third book in the Guinevere series is now out – The Sword, with Gwen well on the road to becoming a warrior queen and journeying north to Hadrian’s Wall to help Arthur. Follow the links on my website for how to buy it.

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