Monday, 29 May 2017
A book of reviews that were written more than 80 years ago is never going to disturb Paula Hawkins and all the celebrity chefs on the bestseller lists, but this is a project that has been dear to my heart for years, and it's so good to see it come to fruition. And there was a "feelgood" atmosphere at the launch, which was gratifying.
Other writers sometimes ask me about whether it is worthwhile to hold a book launch. I often regale them with an anecdote from my early days as a published novelist. At that time, I was published by Transworld in paperback, and one day I travelled to London to have lunch with my editor to celebrate the appearance of my second book, Suspicious Minds.
But my editor was unwell, and in her place was her boss, a very pleasant guy called Tony Mott. In my enthusiastic way, I asked him what advice he would give to writers hoping to improve their sales. He simply said, "Just remember that book launches don't sell books. They may be fun, but in the overall scheme of things, they don't make much difference."
He was a smart guy, and I'm sure he was right. The real question, though, is whether a launch can be arranged which is a truly enjoyable event. If it's possible, as with Taking Detective Stories Seriously, then it's well worth doing. I've launched a couple of books at Gladstone's Library, for instance, and found that was a delightful experience. But as Tony Mott said, when it comes to marketing a book, a launch is not an end in itself. It's merly the beginning.,