As many of you will be aware, I held a book launch for my recently published collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind” on the evening of 5 July.
I am pleased to report that the evening went well.
There were, however a number of “lessons learned”, which I have set-out below.
I hope this post proves helpful to others considering a physical (as opposed to a virtual) book launch.
1. The venue (a pub called the Railway Bell) is within easy reach of Gipsy Hill station, making it simple for those attending the launch (and using public transport) to access it.
2. The venue being a pub, meant that it was easy to arrange for the provision of alcohol (and other drinks) to my guests. I provided wine and orange juice, while my guests had the option to purchase additional refreshments at the bar.
3. The management where extremely obliging and went that extra mile ensuring that things ran smoothly.
4. There was good audience interaction with a number of interesting questions being addressed to me.
5. I sold (and signed) a number of copies of “My Old Clock”.
6. People stayed on afterwards for a drink in the pub garden which was most convivial.
1. I advertised the event on my blog and Facebook. In addition a number of bloggers, friends and acquaintences very kindly shared the launch on social media including Twitter, Facebook and reblogs on WordPress.
This was all very much appreciated and I would like to send a big thank you to everyone who took the time to share the event.
However, despite all the publicity (including the news releases sent out by the publisher to local poetry/literary groups), those attending where all known to me either as friends or acquaintences.
It was, of course wonderful to have the support of close friends, however having new faces at the event would have been the iceing on the cake.
WordPress provides an effective platform for building and cementing a following and I greatly appreciate every single person who takes the time to follow, like and comment on my poetry and other posts.
My blog has enabled me to reach out to people all over the world and form valued connections with those with whom I would never otherwise have become connected.
However the vast majority of my followers are not in the UK so (although many of them generously shared the event) they could not (for obvious reasons) attend.
Consequently while WordPress is a wonderful platform it possesses limitations as regards getting “bums on seats”.
Facebook didn’t yield any new faces at the event (despite it having been advertised on local Facebook groups), which appears to further underline the limits of social media as a means of drumming up support for events.
2. I scheduled the event at too early an hour (6:30).
Given the London rush hour and issues with transport, I decided to hold off until approximately 7:20, which meant that most people had then arrived.
In retrospect I should have specified a starting time of 7 pm (with the expectation that most people would arrive between 7 and 7:15) and I will certainly do so the next time I organise such an event.
3. While beer and books are a fantastic combination, beer on books is not!
On entering the pub I enjoyed a quick pint prior to the event starting.
I had hung my bag of books on a hook under the bar (they where in a padded envelope within a carrier bag).
I managed to spill some of my drink into the envelope but luckily (and much to my surprise) none of my Fosters got onto my books.
Next time I shall keep my books well away from alcohol or any other liquids!
4. Any profits made from the sale of books require to be balanced against money expended in the provision of refreshments.
However even where spending on refreshments comes close (or even eats into any profit made), one has to consider the benefits obtained from the publicity generated by the event.
In conclusion, the event was a success.
People enjoyed my reading, there ensued an interesting discussion following the reading and a number of books were signed and sold.
While it was wonderful to see so many old friends there, it would have further enhanced the event where new faces to have appeared alongside them.
As previously stated, I possess a loyal blog following and I’m grateful to all my followers for their ongoing support.
However given that most of my followers are located outside of the UK they can not (for obvious reasons) attend book launches and other similar events.
I will look into streaming events live the next time I launch a book enabling the event to be seen by as broad a range of people as possible.
(“My Old Clock I Wind” is published by Moyhill in paperback and ebook formats and can be found here, http://moyhill.com/clock/