A book launch dilemma

Story of Gloucester's Pubs coverExciting 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.


About Darrel Kirby

I am what I am.
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8 Responses to A book launch dilemma

  1. SteveRuk says:

    How about something at a slightly smaller venue, like the St Michaels tower on a Saturday afternoon. Maybe you can pull a few “walk-past” people in as well as inviting people involved with the “research”, landlords etc.

  2. Rant says:

    Not really an event, but could you print up posters for all the landlords to put behind their bar/in the window/in front of the urinal? Makeshift bar mats? Walk around Gloucester wearing a sandwich board? Organise a flashmob? An advert in the Gloucester Echo? An advert in the CAMRA magazine? A multi national TV campaign starring Angelina Jolie?

  3. janh1 says:

    Don’t sit in a bookshop – invite people to come with you on a Guided Pub Crawl. A bit of beer, a bit of history – and they get to buy signed copies of your book!

    BBC Radio Glos coverage, Citizen feature, radio Glos reporter accompanying you..etc etc

    …and then be carried upwards from Gloucester Cross by a huge beer-mug-shaped hot air balloon scattering The Story of Gloucester Pubs beer mats to the assembled throng.


  4. Darrel Kirby says:

    Thanks for the ideas folks – keep ’em coming!
    – Some kind of publicity at St Michael’s Tower sounds like potentially a good idea
    – Posters/ fliers have been printed to go around pubs – I really wanted beer mats but price was prohibitive.
    – Local CAMRA folk are going to publicise for me and hopefully the publishers marketing team will be onto local media
    – Guided pub crawl is a great idea which I may give more thought to – relies heavily on my organisational skills which may be the downfall.
    – Having difficulty sourcing the beer mug shaped balloon
    – Waiting for Angelina to return my calls. The restraining order may be a problem here though…

  5. Eddie says:

    Most dificult maybe, but a guided pub walk would be great

    • Darrel Kirby says:

      I think you’re right Eddie, I am drawn to the idea. To charge or not to charge, that is the question…?

  6. Dear Darrell

    I’m a volunteer at St Michael’s Tower and the Project leader for the scheme.

    I think your book is wonderful. I wondered if we may be able to complement the book with a pub display in St Michael’s Tower with photographs for 2011?

    Marilyn Champion

  7. Darrel Kirby says:

    I would be delighted to join up with St Michael’s tower to do something. I was going to pop in on Saturday to ask if tere was any scope to do something, but obviously there was a lot going on!
    Let me know what you have in mind

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