Launch Frenzy by Chris Longmuir

It’s been a mad couple of weeks. I’ve been launching the third book in my Dundee Crime Series – Missing Believed Dead.

I thought everything was under control, I was going to launch the ebook and Amazon paperback, at the same time as my book launch, which was scheduled for 11th July, in the Dundee branch of Waterstones. So, everything was underway. I was in the final proofs of the Createspace paperback. My local printer was geared up and ready to go to produce 200 paperbacks in the last week of June. That would give me plenty of time to address any hiccups, or delays. And prepublication copies of the ebook had been circulated for reviews. Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to do this for me.

Silly, silly, silly! The first thing to upset the applecart was the paperback appearing on Amazon for pre-order for 1 July. I hadn’t approved it at that stage so I knew it wasn’t Amazon who had stuck it up there. It could only have been Nielsen who did the deed when I registered my ISBN for the book.

This resulted in a mad scramble. I would now have to get the book online for the 1st of July, rather than the 11th. My proof orders from Createspace became priority ones instead of the more leasurely expedited delivery ones, which meant I was paying more than the cover price to get my proofs. Oh, well, writers make a fortune anyway – don’t they? I muttered this to myself as I made beans on toast for my lunch, and left the steak languishing in the butcher’s window.

The first of the posts scheduled to appear to create a buzz before publication, went live on 18th June with a Famous Plus Five post, Have You Heard? They’re Missing Believed Dead. Shortly after, on 28 June, Brook Cottage Books, featured a cover reveal. You can check it out here. The aim had been to have several posts appear before the books went online, so I’m not sure how much of a buzz, two posts made!

But the die had been cast. With my paperbacks still trundling off the presses, I keyed into KDP and Createspace, and activated the publication buttons. Anticipating a day or two for the books to go live, I’ll bet you can guess what happened. The ebook was up there, live and ready to be bought within two hours of pressing ‘Save and Publish’. The paperback appeared on, but it was a bit more reluctant to appear in the UK. And guess what? The pre-order paperback book vanished from Amazon UK, while it waited for my approved paperback to go live. Oh, the joys of self publishing.

Meanwhile the blog posts continued to appear. Famous Five Plus, featured Are You Ready For It, on 1 July. Brook Cottage Books posted a review of Missing Believed Dead on 2 July, and Bill Kirton interviewed me on 2 July as well. There’s still another one to go. My Canadian friend, Melanie Robertson King, intends to put a post up on the day of my Waterstones launch on 11th July. on her blog Celtic Connexions.

The reviews have been appearing as well, on Amazon and Goodreads as well as other places. There’s even one on Eclectic Electric. Thanks Julia.

Oh, nearly forgot, in the mad rush to do things, I designed a new poster for the Dundee Crime Series, and I made a You Tube Video. One of my writer friends was good enough to offer to be the hoodie, and an unsuspecting friend of my late husband, allowed me to photograph his back. (I did tell him it was for a You Tube Video, but conveniently forgot to tell him the part he was playing!)

You can tell I’m writing this as I go along, can’t you?. So I’ll take a rest now, and finish it after my Waterstones launch, so I can tell you how it went.

Right, I’ve got my breath back now that it’s all over, so I can let you know how things went in the run up to the launch, and on the night.

About ten days before the launch, I sent the press releases out. The first one appeared in my local paper a week before the launch. However, the Dundee Courier, which covers a larger area, didn’t bother to do anything. They probably used my press release to light their ciggies, or maybe a few aromatic candles. Who knows? I was severely tempted to end my subscription, but I satisfied myself with a few muttered oaths.

Time was galloping now, and I woke on the morning of the launch with the fearful thought that no one would turn up. However, I pushed it to the back of my mind and went shopping for the nibbles. So, the big decision of the day was, what would I get, and how many. I took my granddaughter with me as my adviser, she’s eleven. She assured me that everyone liked cocktail sausages, so a packet of forty chilled sausages landed in my basket. Sausage rolls? I asked, and she agreed that was a good idea, so a packet of twenty-four joined the sausages, then another packet of thirty, just in case there wasn’t enough. I had a sneaky suspicion I’d be eating sausages and sausage rolls for the next month. Nuts? She shook her head. But she doesn’t like nuts, so I took a packet of mixed nuts and raisins. I didn’t buy crisps because I had two boxes of Pringles left over from New Year, and they were still in date – I checked. Cheap paper plates and napkins, and I was finished. And I was still trying to ignore that wee niggle at the back of my mind that was saying no one would come!

The hours rushed in and before I knew it I was setting up the nibbles table at Waterstones. They supplied the wine, although they would bill me for half the cost. My friend had supplied me with a tin containing eighty pieces of home made tablet, for any non-Scots out there, it’s a sweet similar to fudge, but harder. If you click here you can see some mouth-watering images of Scottish tablet. I was still convinced no one would come and reckoned if I had to eat all that tablet myself I’d be the size of a whale.

Then the people started to trickle in, then more came, then Waterstones staff had to look for more chairs. Then they ran out of chairs and it was standing room only at the back. And I was juiced up and raring to go. So I talked about my characters first, then did some readings, and before I knew it an hour had gone. The signing was great fun because I got to chat with everyone who came up. There was one guy who had me sign a book and then came back because he couldn’t read all my signature, the end bit usually tails off. So I had to go over the tail and make it legible. My bank manager wouldn’t have recognized it though.

And then it was all over. The Pringles were gone, the sausages had been eaten, and there wasn’t even a crumb left on the sausage roll plate, leaving me to wonder what on earth I would have for lunch the next day – I’d been convinced it would be sausages and sausage rolls! As for the tablet, there was a grand total of nineteen pieces left. They’d eaten the other sixty-one pieces! Oh, and the nuts and raisins were untouched. My granddaughter was right. I should have listened to her.

For me, the highlight of the event was meeting readers who were interested in my books, and I reckoned I made several new friends during the course of the evening. It’s such a buzz to know there are readers who appreciate the books we write, and it makes up for all the hard work in bringing a new story to life.

One of my readers gives me a hug
It was a fabulous event which left me hungry for more. However, I’ll have to write another book before I can repeat it! I’m off to the attic to write now – you may not see me for some time!

Chris Longmuir



Jan Needle said…
brilliant! thanks
CallyPhillips said…
ooh... great to read. It's a long time since I've done a real live 'launch' but I have one next April. A catalogue of 32 titles (e and paper) all at the same time. Your post is thus great food for thought. Should I hide, recruit you as my marketing/pr person or just KNUCKLE DOWN TO IT? Maybe at least you, Chris will understand why you won't be seeing me for real or virtual dust come September. (7 months will fly by) I am not looking forward to all you describe magnified 32 times (except for the food of course, that would be good!) But it will act as a 'motivational tool' for me that's for sure.
Bill Kirton said…
Great stuff, Chris. But it was all worth it in the end, wasn't it? I'm hugely impressed by your industry and the quietly efficient way you juggled all those conflicting dates and publication issues. Be prepared to have your brains picked at some future date (in a nice way, not the way some of your characters would do it).
madwippitt said…
How exciting! I've never had a launch so it was great to read about yours!
As for the leftover nuts and raisins - add to porage oats, butter and soft brown sugar and make luxury flapjack!
Dan Holloway said…
Wonderful! And so glad to see you realise the central importance of food!
Lydia Bennet said…
sounds great Chris, good stuff! All my books save Lydia B had live launches, they are exciting and nerve wracking and fun! Mine have been mostly in Blackwell's bookshops but also in a nightclub and various other venues. One mystery though, we had much discussion on fb about Waterstone's head office deciding not to allow signings by any but 'big' publishers' authors, this caused a lot of upset and was mad as they'd lose a lot of handsales. did you have any bother getting waterstones to hold a launch for indie books, esp create space? Good luck with the book!
Sandra Horn said…
Wow! Brilliant, Chris! So that's how you do it...
Apologies for landing on your blog spot. Panic+total ignorance.
Chris Longmuir said…
Thanks for the comments everybody. I'm just back from the Harrogate Crime festival so doing a lot of catching up. In answer to your question, Lydia. I didn't ask for a Waterstones launch, I was offered it when I took my courage into my hands and asked if they'd stock my books. Dundee Waterstones is very keen on local authors though, especially the ones that write about Dundee. I did talk to the events guy whom I know, expressing my surprise and said I'd heard Waterstones weren't going to hold launches for self published books, and he said it was due to bad experiences of authors thrusting their books on customers who then returned them later because they were unwanted.

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