I opted for a couple of weeks after the publication date for two reasons, because things have been known to not run smoothly at the printing stage, and because if I left it too long I'd lose the high that seeing the spines of your new book produces. I can never imagine people wanting to come at the end of the week when they could have a wild night out, so I picked a Tuesday.
Previous launches had been at Borders (such a shame it disappeared), and View Art Gallery in Bristol. This time I thought it would be more businesslike to go back to a bookstore so I chose Foyles in Cabot Circus. Robb, the events organiser, is also a drag queen so if you want a rather fabulous intro, he's the go-to man.
Invitations aren't my job. Luckily I live with clever people. Guest list was my job - I invited friends, teenagers aplenty, librarians, and every teacher I know. I didn't count the replies because I didn't want to set my expectations high and be disappointed. This is a head-in-the-sand approach. Robb asked me how many people were coming so he could order the stock. I answered with a well-considered lie.
Food and drink
I don't like messy food and books - it doesn't seem right. Majestic delivered red and white wine, fizzy pop and ice to the shop. I brought Maltesers and Flying Saucers (because there are drones in my book).
What to wear
Charity shops are the answer to everything. I invested £5 in a wee silver skirt.
There's something tricky, for me, about an audience of all ages, some that know you really well as a friend, and others that have met you briefly as an author. I was a bit nervous, despite being in the middle of a tour of secondary schools with audiences of up to 250 teenagers. Adopting the usual head-in-the-sand, I scribbled some notes at two in the afternoon, and arrived at Foyles at five with a postcard of drivel.
How did it go?
Like a wedding, in a blur, but there were lots of people, lots of books sold and a satisfying level of laughter. By half-past seven the crowds had thinned and a group of us headed over to Giraffe for something with chips.
Was it worth it?
I know not everyone has a launch, but I think the arrival of a book, knowing the ups and downs of the process, is something worth celebrating, but that's not to say I'm not pleased when it's over.