If you’re wondering why I’m looking so tanned and relaxed it’s because I’ve been in Broome! Okay, it was only for three days and there wasn’t much time for lying around in the sun, but it was a fantastic trip nonetheless. I spent time with Years 8 and 9 from Broome Senior High School, then an afternoon with some keen readers and writers from Cable Beach Primary School. We talked about how stories get started – about images that fall into your head and priests on oceanic balloon flights and chihuahuas that get blown away in storms and about ways in which you can take all your wild and crazy ideas and turn them into stories.
I found out this morning that Annabel, Again has been shortlisted for the ‘children’s books’ category of the WA Premiers Book Awards.
Which is excellent news, of course, but has nothing to do with the title of this post. ‘The Way Opens’ is the title of a poetry book I had as a child, one of my earliest introductions to rhythm and cadence and image and all the things that make language sing. The phrase has stayed with me, in much the same way particular lines of poetry tend to. When I’ve been struggling with something and finally feel myself emerge into clear water, this is the line I hear. And this morning, it happened on the novel I’m writing. All of a sudden I can see the way forward, maybe not right to the end, not yet, but far enough ahead that I can keep the wind in my sails for a bit longer, hopefully long enough to get to the next point of departure.
A few people have been asking about my launch – why I did it, how it went, would I recommend it to other first-time authors, and so on. So I thought I’d post here a little post-mortem I wrote for the digital newsletter Pass It On. I loved my launch! We could certainly have been better organised, but there are some things you only learn by doing, and that’s part of the fun.
“Launching Yourself (or, what I learned at my DIY launch so you don’t have to)”
1. Advance Planning
Have a range of possible dates and look into any other events that might be on around the same time. If there’s a festival or similar event, you may be able to piggyback your launch on this, sharing costs and publicity. On the other side of the coin, you might end up clashing with another launch or important book-related event that will affect turnout to yours.
Work out what you want from your launch. There’s symbolic value, a kind of punctuation, in a first-novel launch, drawing a line of sorts between your pre-published life and your sparkling new career (heckling to a minimum, please!), but it can also serve a number of important functions. I wasn’t able to make any decisions with regard to who/what/when/where/how until I’d worked out what those were for me. In my case, the goals were:
Celebrate the book! Mark the occasion with friends, family and colleagues. Kick back and grin. Say ‘huzzah’.