“You can’t please all of the readers all of the time; you can’t please even some of the readers all of the time, but you really ought to try to please at least some of the readers some of the time.” ~ Stephen King (On Writing)
After weeks of planning my big day was finally here: 25th June 2015 – Book Launch Day. My stomach had been in turmoil all week, but I was strangely calm on the morning of the event. It felt reminiscent of planning a wedding and I didn’t want to turn into the literary equivalent of bridezilla!
After all, my launch party was meant to be fun, a celebration of getting The Virtuoso into print, and an acknowledgement of the many years of hard work that had gone into its creation. But I still felt I had a lot riding on it. I didn’t want to mess up in front of my family, friends and esteemed colleagues who were waiting expectantly, all dressed up in their glad rags, except for my brother!
It was my chance to let the world know why they should read The Virtuoso, and I had to get over the fact that I wrote it and just be the messenger…
I had lived and breathed my labour of love for the last few years, and now it was time to unleash it on the lovely people who came to support and celebrate with me.
I planned the event as meticulously as I could amidst my busiest month of the year so far. I’d had an extremely manic time with my family; two birthdays, one delayed birthday treat, one school trip to Waterloo, one book launch and a trip to the Royal Albert Hall all within days of each other.
Inevitably, some key people couldn’t make the event and I had to roll with it. At one point I was panicking that I’d just be speaking to my mum! In the end there were about forty guests, so my fears were unfounded.
I went to the hairdressers early in the morning; I didn’t want to risk a bad hair day! Mum and I got to the venue as early as we could, I had lots of helium balloons to inflate, tables to decorate, books to display. It was a real treat having my makeup done for me just beforehand.
Danesfield House Hotel is the sort of hotel that my protagonist, Isabelle Bryant, would have frequented! It’s nestled on a hillside between Marlow and Henley with magnificent views over the River Thames.
The hotel has an interesting history, as well as having played host to George and Amal Clooney for their UK wedding celebration last year. Me and my gang weren’t Hollywood A-Listers, but they still gave us a warm welcome and treated us with impeccable service.
It was a happy moment for me when my family arrived to join me. My youngest, Ruby, was just so sweet, she couldn’t hide her excitement and was galloping around the grounds.
“Mummy, this hotel is really posh. Even the bushes are posh.”
On arrival my guests were greeted with a hug and served with chilled Prosecco. The doors of the Chiltern Suite open out onto the terrace, and luckily the weather was amazing so everyone was able to sun themselves in warm, balmy air and relax a little before the formal part of the evening got underway.
I was doing anything but relaxing! I had to get through a 20 minute presentation…
Robert Clay did a brilliant introduction for me, and then it was time to step on to the stage. I made a joke of my knees knocking together under my long black gown with exaggerated movements, which got a few titters, and then I was off! I was mighty relieved to get a hearty round of applause at the end. Luckily everyone seemed to find it interesting and enjoy themselves.
After that canapes and drinks were served and the audience were treated to a rendition of the music soundtrack which was written especially for the book. One guest even took the score home to play on her piano.
Then the beautiful, large and mouthwatering chocolate cake was cut and I became engaged in signing books…
Not bad for a girl who only wanted to take up the violin because her best friend at school had started lessons, having quickly discovered that she loved it! Out of accidental encounters passions can grow…
However – as is usually the case with life – as soon as you find yourself on a high there is someone ready to take you down a peg or two!
Only a few days later I had the absolute worst review on my Amazon page.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and this person didn’t hold back about how bad they thought the book was. I felt devastated. But, like most authors who I’m sure at some point have endured a cruel slur about their work, I just had to pick myself up, dust myself off and try not to feel like giving up.
They made a point about the price differentiation which I can explain. It was not done deliberately! When I originally set the price my publisher was in favour of £8.99 but I wanted to keep it below £8. However, when I made the book available in paperback with Amazon the minimum price they allowed me to charge was $15.99/£8.67.
A bigger book means higher costs. The Amazon paperback version is over 400 pages in length. So the cover will now be amended to show a price of £8.99. I hope you’ll read it and agree it’s worth the money, but I won’t hold it against you if you don’t…
I’m in the process of uploading the photo gallery onto my Facebook page.
It just remains for me to thank my family, friends and everyone who helped to make my book launch a really special evening filled with joy and excitement!
As well as the thanks I owed to everyone who helped me with the book, mainly my publisher, Nicky Fitzmaurice at Satin Paperbacks, and Gary Smailes at Bubblecow and Caroline Jacques for her fabulous cover. I’m also grateful to Liz Britnell for the tasty three tiered chocolate cake, Alison Oswald for making me feel like a movie star, Becky Rui for her amazing photographs of the event, Joanne Howe for her help with my press release, Anke Exnor for some pre-book launch encouragement, Sylvia Baldock and my Athena colleagues for their kind support and Robert Clay for all his mentoring over the years and for giving me a wonderful introduction!
If the majority of reviews remain positive then it will give me the impetus to continue with my next project; a trilogy of psychological thrillers.
There may be a radio interview coming up soon too…
I’m going to finish with a quote from James Patterson, an author who has sold 300 million copies of 130 novels worldwide:
“One of the nice things about books as opposed to television and movies to some extent, is it’s not a passive entertainment. People really do get involved, and they do create, and they do have their own visions of what different characters look like and what should happen. It’s great – it means their brains are working.”