The launch of my latest book, A Children’s History of Coventry. In fact it was a double celebration because fellow Sassie, Rosalie Warren was launching her first children’s book, Coping with Chloe so we joined forces for a double whammy!
It was exciting and it was fun. We’d both previously done book signings in Waterstones, but we thought why not keep those champagne corks popping and celebrate with a launch at the central library with wine, food and all the trimmings.
We’d enlisted some young ‘actors’ from a local school to read sections of our books, we had an audience, talks, questions and book signings. The whole thing was a joyous celebration – and quite rightly so. Getting a book published has to be the highlight in any writer’s life
At the same time – or to be precise about three weeks earlier, I’d managed to get four of my out of print mystery stories up onto Amazon as ebooks. Fishing for Clues, Stealing the Show and Pushing his Luck had all been published ten years ago by Scholastic. The fourth mystery Pointing the Finger didn’t quite make publication. Proof and cover stage, yes, but it never actually got to the printing presses.
So a brand new story that had never seen the light of day and three old favourites. I’d often read extracts from my dwindling stocks of these mysteries when doing school visits – the problem was the kids got a taster but they weren’t able to buy these particular books.
So, with the coming of Amazon’s Kindle it was the logical solution to put them out as ebooks. So I set to, learning how to make one, re-formatting the four stories to bring them back to life. In a couple of cases it was a matter of re-typing the whole book as the original computer files were long gone.
Then came the editing, the checking and double checking, plus of course the new series needed a new name and logo and new cover designs. Lots of hard work and lots of blood, sweat and tears (okay, no actual blood) but lots of sweat and tears, until finally the books were all ready to actually go live.
The moment came, after numerous attempts at getting the books to look right, ebook number one, Fishing for Clues could finally go live. Drum roll…
I pressed the ‘Publish’ button.
Not a champagne cork in sight. Just a message to say it would be live in about 24 hours. Mmm! Okay. Slight anti-climax.
Then a day or so later, there was an email from Amazon – a nice congratulation email true enough, and when I went to Amazon, there was my lovely ebook, sitting there, published! Finally my story which hadn’t been available for anyone to read for umpteen years was back on the shelves – the virtual shelves.
But I couldn’t touch it, couldn’t hug or handle it, couldn’t sniff or feel the shiny pages, couldn’t sign it for a friend. There would be no book launch, no book signings, and popping the champagne corks sitting around my computer just didn’t feel quite right.
Books two, three and four followed, again with a huge sense of relief and some trepidation – but no fizz!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the ebook – I love ebooks! Authors finally have some power to their elbows, we aren’t reliant on agents and editors, we’re our own bosses, and it’s brilliant.
Maybe we just need to learn how to celebrate the success of producing an ebook, to recognise it as an achievement and acknowledge it as so. Probably making bookmarks, postcards and leaflets would help – just something to sign and give away to people.
I’d love to know how other ebook writers have celebrated the launch of their ebooks. Have those virtual champagne corks been popping? Or has it been the real bubbly stuff?