The idea of a book launch has always been very straightforward.
1- You find your favourite book shop.
2 – You ply people with cheap wine in the hopes that they’ll buy your books.
3 – You sign books and feel like a superstar.
4 – You read from your book and feel like you wanna vomit.
5 – You console yourself that you sold books and people love you, even though you have a sneaking suspicion a lot of them were there for the free wine.
Traditional book launches have the advantage of being very simple to organise, lots of fun, and they make the author feel important and supported. It’s almost a rite of passage as an author. That is what a launch looks like to most people.
But I wonder how many books get sold at these events, really? I know when I’ve had to stand in front of people I love and people I don’t know, reading from my novel and trying to convince them that I deserve to have such a fuss made, I don’t feel like I’m doing my work justice. Also, did I mention about the wanting to vomit?
So the answer? A modern twist on the book launch. After all, many of us are ebook authors, what is achieved by sitting in a bookshop when there aren’t physical copies? A lot of authors run online launches, which can be fun and I’ve seen them done really well, with prizes and giveaways, and they certainly make you pay attention. But getting twenty notifications every hour from other people who have ‘popped by’ the launch can be a bit frustrating, and might drive away your readership.
Enter Sara Veal, from Huhbub Ltd, a creative company that believe books can be ‘the jumping off point’ for creative campaigns that promote your book, but also benefit the community.
Thing is, I love an event, and I was excited to see what Sara could do with my book, Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, a novel focused around the healing power of arts, noughties era nostalgia and some girl power. I wanted an event that placed my story in the centre, without making me the centre of attention: And that was exactly what I got.
In the basement of one of my favourite spots in London, Drink Shop Do (a place actually used as a setting in one of my other novels!) Huhbub managed to create a night of comedy, music and burlesque, with cocktails, nostalgic noughties music and the chance to raise money for Core Arts, a charity that focuses on using creativity for mental health.
An event that does good for the community, promotes my story, allows me to have fun without having to talk about my work, and gets people talking about the themes in the novel.
In my opinion, getting called out by a fabulous drag queen MC, dancing to Craig David and drinking sparkly Ruby-themed cocktails whilst people look at the postcards featuring a free copy of my book beats the tepid wine of yesteryear any day.
Ebook authors need to find a new way to celebrate and promote their new releases, a modern way to engage with readers and writers without making it about ego or the money. Here is your answer: build a huhbub around your book.
I think it was a roaring success and if I could do it for every book I write, I would!
Big thanks to Sara at Huhbub for such a wonderful event, and thanks to all those who came on the night! Share your photos and favourite moments!