Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Girding my loins*

My latest novel, The Fallen One, is on the cusp of being available throughout the free world (or at least as far as Amazon’s fingers extend into world markets). As any author knows, it’s an exciting time to be sure, but it also has its challenges.

First of all, I’m self-employed, which means that in many ways my time is not really my own. I don’t have to ask anyone for time off, but when customers come calling, I’d better be ready to answer them promptly. In the graphic design business, timelines are generally incredibly short. Everyone seems to want their job done now, and I turn them down at my peril. (Musically, I’m not all that active at the moment, so the chances of getting a call for a gig is minimal.) So for the months of September and October, I’m going to have to be juggling work and book promotion. Even though I believe I can handle it, the thought of working through the night to complete something is pretty insomnia-causing. Not a good thing when I need to have my brain in good working order.

Second, I have to handle pretty well all of the promotional detail myself. Some of this I bring on my myself, since I prefer to design my own promotion pieces. But it also means that I have to arrange most appearances, usually bookstore signings – since I can do those on weekends – as well as searching out media coverage (I’ve hopefully lined up an interview for sometime in September with one of the major CBC radio broadcasts) and other promo opportunities.

Invariably, when one has so many balls in the air, things can hit the ground. At 3:30 last Wednesday morning, I realized I hadn’t yet done anything concrete for the book’s launch. That oversight brought me up short, I can tell you. Not being able to sleep, I went downstairs to my studio to begin pouring over notes and emails to see how far I’d taken my ideas for the launch. It turned out to be not very far.

The Great Hall: a perfect room for a book launch – or a murder!
When it got to a decent hour, I hit the phone. An operatic colleague of my wife had indicated willingness to help and came to my rescue, offering to organize something at her club, Toronto’s famed Arts and Letters Club. I really like to celebrate the “birth” of a book, and I don’t think most book gatherings at bars and bookstores generally come off as much more than pretty lame events. (Certainly it hasn’t been too successful when I’ve tried it.) Some people come, a speech is made, maybe the author reads, wine and cheese is consumed, some books are sold, and the whole thing ends in less than an hour. Dammit! I’ve worked many months on this silly book and people at the publisher have sweated bullets to bring it all to fruition. We deserve a real celebration!

The amount of work is daunting, since we’re going to have singing and other entertainment. Rehearsal, or at least some sort of run-through will be needed for the singers, the club’s piano needs to be rented. Books have to be brought in, food ordered and the bar organized. That’s just for one event and all of this on the back of a very full-time job.

But I’m not complaining. It’s a fact of life to us mere mortal authors. In the end, it will all have been worth it, not just for any books sold, but just as a celebration of the culmination of a long journey through the publishing pipeline. The day after the launch, I’m sure I’ll feel that all the work was worthwhile.

And by the way, anyone reading this post is invited to the launch. Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday, September 19th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: The Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm Street, Toronto, ON
No need to RSVP. Just show up and be very welcomed. Join us, please!

*When it came to titling this post, I realized I wasn’t really clear on exactly what girding one’s loins actually meant historically. God bless the Internet, because it’s so easy to indulge ourselves when we want instant info. Want to know to what this term refers? Just click HERE and be enlightened!

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