Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One more post on "authoring"

The Book Launch

Well, today is the big day: the launch of my tenth book, The Boom Room, takes place this evening. (If you’re around Toronto and would like to help shove this book down the skids and into the literary ocean, please come down. For details, just click on the photo to the right to view an expanded version.)

But this post isn’t about blatant self-promotion. I believe book launches are very important things for authors to do.

First and foremost, it’s not easy to get a book published. Truthfully, it’s never been easy, but these days it’s way worse. So holding an actual paper book in your hand is something worth celebrating, isn’t it? My publisher is, unfortunately, is way on the other side of Canada, but I know they’d show up if they could, so tonight it’s up to me to carry both the author flag and the publisher one.

Secondarily, though, a writer has to work darn hard and put in many lonely hours to craft a story. The Boom Room, being a novella, is only 147 pages, but due to its nature (crafted with an eye towards those with challenges in English language literacy), it takes a lot of work. My marching orders from Orca conclude with this: “And above all, it must be a good story, well told.” To do that (making the story readable to those who don’t read well and for folks whose reading skills are quite fine) takes a lot of time and careful consideration. If the book happens to be a full-length one, then the writer has put even more hours in. So, after expending all that time and effort, shouldn’t you throw a big party to celebrate the results?

My launch this evening will be a smallish affair. Most launches, we have live music. In the past, I’ve dragged out the old mellotron to personally deafen launch attendees with some classic progressive rock (think Nights in White Satin). Last time out, for The Fallen One, two opera-singing friends, Anna Bateman and Emilio Fina came out and sang some arias to recorded orchestral soundtracks. We even made anyone who’d join in help out in the drinking chorus from the first act of La Traviata. It was a magical evening – and held at Toronto’s storied Arts & Letters Club. Tonight will be music-less since I really didn’t want a punk rock since that’s the music of the band in this story.

Perhaps my favourite launch was for A Case of You. I used the upstairs of a somewhat infamous bar in the east end, and invited a number of musicians I know and have worked with to come down and play. Jazz being the musical background of this story, we played that. Part of my contribution was a keyboard/vocal duet with Nina Richmond the very fine vocalist from the big band in which I play and, of course, we did A Case of You done as a ballad in a paraphrase from a later Joni Mitchell album.

So you see, launches can be fun as well as good promotion. They take work and a ton of networking to try to get enough people to come out, but you’ve done a lot of work to get this far, shouldn’t you at least be celebrating that? At best, you may be able to get someone from the media to attend, and that’s always a wonderful thing.

If you can’t make the launch but would like to support the cause of literacy in Canada, you can order a copy of The Boom Room directly from New Readers Bookstore. They’re the retail part of Frontier College and they’ll be very glad to help you.


Donis Casey said...

Congratulations! I'm facing a launch myself in a couple of weeks. I notice that you didn't mention having trouble with the thing that drives me the craziest about book launches--where to find something fabulous to wear!

Rick Blechta said...

I must admit that doesn't really cross my mind.