No chance to make a splash: Griselda Heppel mourns the loss of the Book Launch
|The Fall of a Sparrow by|
Well, The Fall of a Sparrow is out at last, hip hip hooray! Officially, that is. Publication Day was three days ago. But given that copies have been available (online at least) for a couple of weeks already, the actual date feels less significant than it used to; and since the pandemic, even insignificanter. (Yes that is now a word. I have used it.) Because there's something missing.
|Ahhh those were the days. Traditional launch of |
The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst at
Blackwell's bookshop, Oxford
That great JOY of bringing out a book, the fizz of excitement of a launch, the wonderful opportunity for a party with friends and book lovers queuing up to your table piled high with fresh, gleaming copies which you sign away merrily, glass in your other – third? – hand … gone. All gone.
It’s hard for even the most well-known authors not to feel a sense of deflation; but they at least will have publicists stirring up excitement on social media and reviews in the national press. For indie authors with a much smaller public profile, the loss of the book launch means the loss of your one chance to make a splash, not to mention a goodly number of sales to start the new book off.
|Griselda Heppel ready to sign piles of fresh, gleaming copies of |
The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst
And how’s this for a pleasing ending to the day? As I enquired at Daunt bookshop, Summertown, about my book, the woman who’d just been served said, ‘Ooh, great title. I’ll buy that.’ Turning to leave, she came back and said, ‘I’ll buy two copies. Will you sign them for me?’
|Daunt Books, Summertown, Oxford|
Of course I would. Like a shot. What a pity that, Publication Day or no Publication Day, stocks still hadn’t arrived at the bookshop. All because of, yes, you’ve guessed it, the pandemic slowing everything down. Books leaving the printers a month ago haven’t even been registered at the wholesalers, for heaven’s sake.
Honestly, I don’t know why we don’t just scrap the idea of Publication Day altogether.