The idea of having a launch myself has always felt a little daunting as, in my mind, there are so many things that need to be taken into account in order to make it a success. Where do I have it? Who do I invite? What do I actually do? I was reminded of all these on Wednesday when I attended the launch of Helena Pielichaty's new series, Girls F.C.
I suppose a launch could be held just about anywhere, but to maximise the impact I've always felt that it can only help if the venue is relevant to the books in some way. Helena's launch was held at the National Football Museum in Preston - surely an ideal place for the launch of a series of books about a girls football team. People attending the launch were able take advantage of the facilities on offer at the museum as well as taking part in the launch -a guided tour, a penalty shootout, refreshments in the cafe etc.
One thing that has stopped me having a launch myself is simply being unsure about what I would actually do. Do I make it like a school/library/festival visit where I leap around and tell stories for a hour or do I quietly mingle with the people there and hope for the best? For my liking, Helena seemed to get the balance just right. Prior to saying anything herself, Peter Evans (the museum's education officer) gave an enthusiastic talk about the history of women's football with a slide show and some excellent props from the museum's collection.
It was then Helena's turn to leap into action with a little bit of talk and readings from the first four books. Rather than doing all the readings herself, she cleverly utilised some of the young readers that had come along to the launch - really getting the audience involved.
This was followed by a free prize raffle in which eager readers won sets of books (signed by the author - and by Hope Powell, the England woman's football team coach), a signed football shirt, match tickets and lots of other football goodies.
Refreshments were on hand for everyone there, then Helena made her way downstairs to sign books and make herself available for interview with the local press.
The launch was well organised and well attended - so well done Helena. I'll certainly be having one myself in the not too distant future. Hopefully you'll all come along.