Short of bolting the cover to a rocket, how does one go about “launching” a book? I’ve written (or co-written) eight of the darn things so far, and have worked on several different events to get these literary masterworks off the ground. Not surprisingly, some efforts have accomplished more than others. Up ’til now, however, I haven’t figured out how to tell if they’ve been successful.
On the positive side, all of them have involved contacting folks I haven’t seen in way too long. Fortunately, quite a number of these people made the effort to attend one or more of my excuses for a party. While admittedly strange, it’s not a bad way to get reacquainted, although the requirement of writing a book in between get-togethers could be seen by some as a bit of a stumbling block. Oh, well.
I’ve done my launches, thus far, in a retail wine shop, a neighborhood clubhouse, an aircraft museum in Calgary (technically, we shared that one with the publisher), and on Saturday, Feb. 22, in a fabulous boutique in downtown Marietta, GA called the Local Exchange (check it out here: http://www.thelocalexchangemarietta.com/).
It’s true, I haven’t sold many books via these launches. That’s never been the goal, but I have given away quite a few. The idea is to generate excitement, trigger some curiosity, and get folks talking. And maybe even reading. (One can always hope.)
What excites me about this latest launch is the book itself. Treason, Treason! is set mostly in New England during the American Revolution. Although it’s an alternate history tale, the bulk of the historical content is non-fiction. When I researched the period, I was blown away by the bizarre nature of the events surrounding Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of his country. The history reads like something a novelist dreamed up.
My job was to construct fictional characters to play alongside many of the names we’ve heard since childhood: George Washington, Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, and others.
(By the way, writing dialog for General Washington turned out to be much harder than anticipated. I went through some seriously anxious moments trying to come up with words worthy enough to put in his mouth. C’mon! George Washington? The father of our country? Who am I to pull the strings and make him a puppet? I just couldn’t do it. Consequently, I used his actual words, lifted from his notes and letters, and the correspondence of others who quoted him. Granted, some of it was taken <cough> slightly out of context, but the words were his!)
Anyway, I’m looking forward to this launch. I know of at least three people who will be attending wearing colonial attire. I hope there will be more. I’m prepared to give autographed copies of the book to anyone brazen enough to join me, my darling bride, and our dear friend Faye as we prance around like escapees from the 18th century.
We’ve also got some folks coming from the wilds of Wisconsin and the untamed wilderness of suburban Boston. What do they know that you don’t? Come find out. You could do a great deal worse than joining us!
Look for photos next week.