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Book Launches: Just Ask

A special treat today, please welcome my friend, Peadar Ó Guilín (aka peadarog), who kindly agreed to share his experience with book launches.

Book Launches: Just Ask by Peadar Ó Guilín

I've done it twice now. Two book launches. It's not good for the nerves when you're as much of a coward as I am; when you hate asking people to do things for you. I confess I messed up a little on both occasions -- especially the second time around! But I've got it now, I really know what to do and today, I feel the urge to pass it on to you.

First then, an important question with an obvious answer:
Q: What is the reason for holding a booklaunch?
A: To sell as many books in as short a time as possible. It's the rate of sales, more than anything else, that generates interest among people who've never heard of you. People who scrutinize Neilsens looking for winners to interview, to promote to read. A hundred books sold in a night will push you a lot further than one copy a day for a hundred days. It will bring smiles to the faces of the owners of the launch venue. It will give you a chance in a profession where chances are few and far between.

For this to happen, you need to get as many people to the venue as possible. This means friends and family and workmates. You have loved them all your life and now it's payback time.

With this in mind, pick a venue and a time that anybody can get to. I did that for the first launch: a giant Borders store that was near my work and only five minutes from the ring road around Dublin. Well-done me! Oh, I must be some kind of genius...

Except that for my second launch, I picked a lovely little shop in the centre of town on the very day that every road in the city was shut down to guard the visit of a controversial head of state. Half the people who wanted to be there were prevented from going. Whoops! In addition, because the venue was small, I feared inviting too many people. Don't ever do that. It's a stupid mistake.

Another piece of foolishness was my fear of asking friends directly if they would come along. The result is that some of them think I didn't want them there. Don't do that either.

At the end of the day, I was lucky we got a decent crowd and equally lucky in the support of family, friends and the Irish SF community. But don't rely on luck. ASK... EVERYBODY... Facebook and Twitter aren't enough. Some people are special. All of them are.

As Morrissey once sang:

"Shyness is nice and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You'd like to"

The song is called "Ask".


In September 2007, Peadar Ó Guilín published his first novel, The Inferior, which the Times Educational Supplement called "a stark, dark tale, written with great energy and confidence and some arresting reflections on human nature." Foreign editors liked it too, and over the coming year it is to be translated into eight languages, including Japanese and Korean. 

His new book, The Deserter, has just been published in the UK and will be hitting North America in March 2012. For more information, sample chapters and free stories, visit

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( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 26th, 2011 11:33 am (UTC)
Facebook is evil, and I'm bitter towards Twitter--but I've more than enough family to go round. XD There wasn't exactly any indication of the roads closure, was there? Perhaps for your next one, you should make, not exactly a rain date, but a street-closure-in-case-of-visiting-dignitary one. That should cover an extra base or two.
May. 26th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
Yes! The covering of bases... another lesson to be learned :)
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 26th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 26th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - May. 27th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 27th, 2011 05:45 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 11:35 am (UTC)

Good points, all...
thank you for sharing...

It's good to know that you're as willing to lend a hand
as you are to eat a foot...
May. 26th, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)
Always happy to lend a foot and eat a hand...
May. 26th, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC)
Jeez Peadar that's an impressive oeuvre, I'm in Ireland, why haven't I heard of you before? Oh wait, because the Irish literary establishment is up its own arse, that's why, and only lauds books where there's no plot. I'm going to read more about your novels now. Glad to make your acquaintance.
May. 26th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
Glad to make your acquaintance too :)

e the Irish literary establishment is up its own arse

That's almost a definition of a literary establishment, right there!
(no subject) - ideealisme - May. 26th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - May. 26th, 2011 02:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for a very informative & interesting post. The thing about the traffic shut down and the visiting head of state, wow what unfortunate timing. Glad you still got a decent crowd into the store!
May. 26th, 2011 02:46 pm (UTC)
Unfortunate, yes. But I should alsy have been paying attention :)
May. 26th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
March of 2012? Seriously, your new book is not for sale here in the States until March of 2012! Excuse me, did you not hear about that little spat in 1776 when the Brits tried treating us like second class citizens? Don't think because you're Irish that we won't respond just as badly!

Seriously for real, good luck with the book launch. May you sail on and on!
May. 26th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Karen! I *did* hear about that little spat and can swear I was nowhere near the area...
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 27th, 2011 08:27 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 26th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
That was unfortunate--the blasted Queen and President sucking up what should have been a day set aside for YOU! Jeez...Ireland should have checked with you first.

Glad you had a good turn-out, despite the rudeness.
May. 26th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
Yes. Some people have no consideration!
May. 26th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Excellent advice- I agree about inviting everyone you know (and don't know)
Congratulations on your launch- may there be many more!
May. 26th, 2011 04:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I sure hope so :)
(Deleted comment)
May. 27th, 2011 02:47 am (UTC)
Thank you! And you are right, of course!
May. 26th, 2011 10:05 pm (UTC)
Great points. I will have to keep them in mind. Hopefully the President won't be visiting Oklahoma when I get a book published.
May. 27th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
You consider the President a foreign head of state? ;p
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 27th, 2011 05:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - May. 27th, 2011 09:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 27th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - May. 27th, 2011 09:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - May. 27th, 2011 09:32 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 27th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
Audio Book fiend!

Any plans for putting The Inferior onto or into Audio Format?

May. 27th, 2011 09:17 am (UTC)
Re: Audio Book fiend!
No, it hasn't done nearly well enough to become an audio book! But thank you for asking :)
May. 27th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC)
Great post, Peadar.

Is there anything you think you'll do differently for your next book launch?
May. 27th, 2011 04:37 pm (UTC)
I would certainly ask people directly to come without being shy about it.

I would check out the day more carefully for conflicting events.

I would ask local press to be present.

I would make sure more photos were taken and that my speech and reading were videoed. If good, I can put it on youtube. If bad, it can be binned, no harm, no foul.
May. 30th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)
I wish I could have gone! Of course, my book launches seem nowhere near as exciting as this one...
May. 31st, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
That's because you don't murder one of your guests.
(no subject) - bondo_ba - May. 31st, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peadarog - Jun. 1st, 2011 03:24 am (UTC) - Expand
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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