Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Strange Days Indeed

I’m chuffed. With the publication of my new book my friend and fellow writer Allis Gordon has reminded me that I now have ‘a corpus’. Does a body of work make you more of a writer than just single piece? Does it mean that you don’t count as a one-hit wonder? (Okay, neither book is what you can call a hit but you know what I mean.)

The funniest thing about the publication of No Time Like Now (yes, I know I need to work at my titles) is the time and effort it took. Because I just hosted a launch party. A digital launch party. On Facebook.

Strange days indeed.

It’s a digital book in a digital age and much of the promotion is digital. It makes perfect sense. I took to promotion like a duck to a sandpit and my attempts were probably even more comical. But I loved the party. Virtual food (Amanda, the cake was delicious), virtual drink (has Gilli left any champagne?) and plenty of chat.

My friends came along from all over the world. They came from Singapore, from the States, Canada, Germany. One even popped in from just down the road. People who’d never met tried to guess the theme tune for the book and compared their favourite islands. A long discussion ensued about whether or not science, and scientists, can ever be sexy; though quite why the discussion went on for so long I don’t know as we were agreed that they certainly are.

I posted excerpts from the book — more tricky than you might think, because you don’t want to give too much away. I did quizzes (not such a good idea in the age of Google); we took every chance to mention Rafael Nadal, even though neither he nor tennis gets a mention in the book; and there were prizes.

All in all I was at the computer for pretty much the whole day. It was emotionally exhausting yet my brain was buzzing so much that even when I fell into bed it took me ages to fall asleep. Was it worth it? Well, who knows? In terms of book sales, maybe or maybe not. In terms of building a brand (ugh) or developing an identity as an author (ugh again) I suppose no harm can come of it.

But I’d do it again because it had all the benefits of a real party. I got to chat with my friends and they got to chat with me. I got to know some of them better and they made new friends. I may at last have found an aspect of promotion that’s fun and doesn’t feel self-serving. I can’t wait for the next launch party.

I’d better get writing that next book…