Exciting news this week: publication of The Story of Gloucester’s Pubs is running ahead of schedule and is due to be in the publisher’s warehouse on 12 May, rather than the end of May as I predicted in my recent update – that’s next week! Presumably it will be in a good book shop* near you on or soon after that date.
Exciting as this is, it has also brought about something of a dilemma – what, if anything, should I do to publicise the launch? This was easy when my last book, The Story of Gloucester, was launched, in that it was entirely taken out of my hands. On that occasion my publisher organised a book launch at the Guildhall. This was done well in advance and publicised well. I knew exactly what I had to do – stand up in front of an audience and give a 30-40 minute presentation. It was as nerve-wracking as hell, but armed with PowerPoint and an extra strong anti-perspirant I survived it and it gave the launch of my first book a real sense of occasion.
A week later in Waterstones, however, was a different matter. A book-signing had been arranged, but not so well publicised. I sat on my own in the book-shop for two or three hours watching tumble-weed blow past with barely a customer to interrupt my silent contemplation. Don’t get me wrong, Waterstones have been great and have sold a great many of my books, which they continue to publicise well, but why would anyone go out of their way to see me at a book-signing: I’m not exactly J.K. Rowling.
So, what to do for this latest book?
A launch in one of Gloucester’s fine hostelries seems like the most appropriate thing to do, but as I contemplate this I am haunted by the memory of that afternoon in Waterstones. It seems a fair chance that I would simply look like Billy no-mates sat in the pub surrounded by books, especially given the short notice now. At least in this scenario I would have a ready supply of beer to take the edge off, but it is still not an enticing prospect.
And that’s not the only problem. There are many fine pubs in Gloucester whose landlords have been extremely helpful and encouraging in my endeavours: how do I choose which one to approach to help with a book-launch and would I risk alienating the others? Given my angst mentioned above, multiple launches in different pubs really isn’t an option.
And so, as things stand, I’ve decided to wuss out entirely, unless someone can come up with a convincing alternative – let me know if you have any brainwaves.
* In fact, books will be available not only from a good book shop near you, but also a good pub – several landlords have agreed to sell it for me.