Resources for Writers
The Benefits of Attending a Book Launch by Darren Darker
If you’re reading this article then you are definitely a reader and quite possibly a writer yourself. So you probably already recognise that book launches are more than just an event to launch a new novel. They are a social occasion for those of us who don’t get out (or aren’t allowed out much!) to meet similarly minded people. They are also particularly useful as opportunities to network within the industry with booksellers, editors and agents.
I’ve always imagined book signings to be the literary equivalent of going to see your favourite band play and buying a t-shirt on the way out. It’s just less sweaty – well normally. I was at a Kathy Reich book launch years ago and it was so hot, my sister actually fainted! Over the past ten years I have attended a large number of such events and met a wide variety of writers such as Lee Child, someone with whom I was particularly star struck with when we met, (it was like a scene reminiscent of a Beatles concert in the 60’s) or John Connolly, but I’ve also met a wide variety of up and coming writers that I heard good things about.
Book launches are free, but book events as part of a book tour by a world famous author are sometimes charged for – but these are worth it. The authors are used to the interview situation and are comfortable and open in conversing with their fans. Afterwards you often get the opportunity to have your recently purchased book autographed. I feel that it’s the chance to get something a little special – something completely personal that nobody else has in the world.
Launches also help to fix a more recent first world problem – meeting somebody for the first time that you are friends with on social media. Those close Facebook or Twitter friends whom we have only talked to over the internet now become flesh. I have met some wonderful people at these events and look forward to befriending more in the years to come.
There’s also the bonus of free wine and occasionally tasty nibbles – but it’s not all wine and cheese folks, we as literary fans have a duty to go to them as well, to support writers, to encourage them by showing them how happy their work makes us feel. To meet them face to face and say ‘I love your character,’ or ‘he/she has gotten me through some tough times.’ The reward for the up and coming writer isn’t always measured in the sale of a book but by the positive acknowledgement by the reader – the ultimate vindication for all of those days, weeks, months and sometimes years shut away writing – not to mention the sheer horror that is the editing process.
Personally I enjoy being surrounded by creative people, people who by simply putting words on paper can whisk me away to another place or time, people who can make the blood pump in my veins or anxiously bite what’s left of my nails as I turn each page. At every event, listening to a writer speak, we learn insights into their methodology and character development, information that I as writer greedily soak up and take inspiration from. For example Jeffrey Deaver spends so much time pre-writing his plot development that it only takes him three months to write the actual novel. I was also at a book launch recently where the wonderful lady author had help from her writers group in getting a fight scene just right. I particularly enjoy listening to those writers whose careers are only starting, to hear the sheer joy in their voices that they have their novel published.
But don’t forget what it’s really about…that new book to read. That new book to take home and to get started that very night. You skip over the autographed cover page and get stuck right in. Hopefully it will be a page turner, which will be the icing on the night’s cake.
Now having read this, I fully expect to see you all at my next book launch where I will regale you about how brilliantly my character deals with the terrible situations that I gleefully put him in, while swilling down glass after glass of cheap wine and scoffing cocktail sausages to beat the band!
(c) Darren Darker
Darren is the father of one son and lives in Bray County Wicklow. He owns his own business and is a real lover of adventure, having spent a number of years as both a volunteer fireman and later as a coxswain on a River and Inshore Rescue Team with the Civil Defence winning several certificates of appreciation from the Irish Government for his efforts among all his other activities.
He has written 2 novels – Under an Irish Sky & No End to The Lies. For more information on Darren and his novels, check out his website www.darrendarker.ie or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.