Writing Tips - Chapter 9 - Launch Party and Publication

Writing Tips - Chapter 9 - Launch Party and Publication

If you've made it this far, not only have you written a book, but you've written one good enough that someone wants to invest in. You've achieved your goal. You deserve a party and the people who support will certainly agree. This isn't shameless promotion or a sales pitch - yes, you'll probably have to get up and say something (we'll get to that, don't panic) but you're not here to convince anyone of anything. They're already on your side and keen to give you a cheer - so enjoy the moment. This is what you've worked for.


Not all publishers organise a launch party. Small publishers don't have the budget, so you might have to organise it yourself. Besides, if the publisher wants to arrange an event in London and you live in Sunderland or Fife, will all of your friends and family be able to afford to travel down? Course not, so you'll have to organise a second one for them. 

'But... organise my own party? Isn't that a bit self indulgent?'

No. You're also organising it for the people who have supported you, for family and friends. Think of it as a legitimate excuse for a perfectly good party. Also, if you organise your own launch, then you get to choose the venue, whether its a library, a pub, a theatre or just a quiet meal with a few close friends. Launch parties come in all shapes and sizes because authors come in all shapes and sizes and what suits one would be a nightmare to another.

What do I do?

Whatever you want. If you hate the idea of public speaking, don't do it. You could get a friend to interview and ask set questions. You could make your reading just a few lines (often, the shorter the better) and then just chat for a bit about the book and how it came about. This is often what the audience at a launch really want to hear - how did it all happen?

My first novel was a teen thriller, so I invited a teenage rock band to play. Part of the plot involved the dangers of fire so the Fire Service (without my knowledge) turned up with a fire engine and crew - they gave out pens and fliers. My lavish buffet was a big bowl of smart-price crisps and cheap bottles of cola. I did a short speech, a quick reading, then the band got going. They even got me up to sing with them. Great night - full on party mode. Oh, and I signed a few books too. 

Public Liability Insurance (PLI)

Woahhh... what? That sounds expensive and scary. 

If you're doing an event in a school or a library, chances are you don't need to think about it - their own insurance should cover the event, especially if they take part in organising it. But if you want to do a completely private event, say you hire a theatre or a church hall, then the owner of the premesis will probably ask for it. 

In short, Public Liability Insurance is to cover any million-to-one-chance accident that occurs during the event. It doesn't even have to involve you - it could just be someone tripping over a wire or falling face down in a bowl of punch. If the accident was not their own fault, then they have a right to sue. And if you're covered, they can't sue you. 

Chances are, you won't need it, but you do need to be aware that it exists.

Colin Mulhern

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