Launching a book can be a little scary and it can also be lots of fun. For months, only your eyes read your creation as you nurse it through the ups and downs to fruition. Then you pass it around to a chosen few for their first take and wait with baited breath for their verdict. After more massaging, your treasured words pass under the critical eye of your editor and publisher, who invariably come up with more improvements. Finally it is deemed fit for printing and out into the big wide world it is launched.
As an author you just can’t sit back nervously biting your nails, waiting for the reviews to come in, for readers to comment and for the sales to climb. You have to help it along. So you have a formal launch to which you invite the world and you go on a book tour.
I thought you might enjoy some pictures from the 2006 launch of the 2nd Meg Harris mystery, Red Ice For a Shroud. That fall I joined forces with Barbara Frakin who was launching her 5th Inspector Green mystery, Honour Among Men and Rick Blechta, who was launching When Hell Freezes Over.
Over five weekends in October and November, the three of us travelled all over Eastern and Southern Ontario, spending Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in bookstores, Chapters and independents, usually two stores per day. At times it got confusing trying to remember which town we were in, particularly when doing Chapter signings. Like any big box store, one Chapter looks like another. Although I prefer the individuality of the independent bookstore, they don’t always bring in the traffic. Sadly, two of the mystery stores we visited have since closed, one in Kingston and the other in Waterloo.
I also learned about the vagaries of book distribution to big box stores. Even though my book had been out for several weeks it still hadn’t made its way from the Chapters distribution centre to the individual stores, so for the first weekend of signings, I was forced to lug boxes of books into the stores.
One of the highlights for me was having a reader rush up with the just published Globe & Mail review of Red Ice for a Shroud in hand all excited that I was in the store to sign the book. Another highlight was Rick cooking us a scrumptious chicken cacciatore the night we spent at Barbara’s cottage.
Despite the hectic nature of the tour, mind you most tours are probably hectic, it proved very worthwhile and I believe helped expand the readership of the Meg Harris mystery series to a wider audience. I also discovered that doing a tour with other authors was a lot of fun. So for my fourth book, Arctic Blue Death I did a similar book tour, this time to the Maritimes, with Vicki Delany.
For the upcoming A Green Place for Dying, I haven’t quite decided yet what I’ll do, but since I will be out in B.C. in June for Bloody Words, I will be organizing some store signings in Vancouver and Victoria. I’ll keep you posted, when and where.