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