Preparing for a book launch is a little like – I imagine – preparing for birth may be, or your wedding day. Except better. Far better. In my eyes. So this week I’ve been worrying about the guest list, nesting, cleaning, plucking, preening and outfit planning. I’ve also been wondering if any of the guys are having the same reserves and rigmaroles as me. Probably not. I doubt they’ve bought new heels.
I’m having to put away any spoilt child tendencies too. For my book launch(es) will involve sharing the spotlight with the three other titles and authors that make up the Parthian Bright Young Things series – Tyler Keevil, Wil Gritten, and JP Smythe. This has pros and cons. Pros include getting to have more launches (Cardiff, Swansea, Bangor and London) as we pool marketing budgets, cons include the party not being exactly as you, singular, would want it – glitter, cupcakes, my favourite band in my case – and the impossibilities of arranging so many dates where all of us, and our publishers can attend. You think you’d be able to attend your own book launch, but in reality – when there are FIVE of them, and bookshop signings and other events – this isn’t always the case, which sucks, apologies to my Aberystwyth fans, but ‘smile’ (seethe quietly) and on with the show.
Launching with three others, and sharing all our press and marketing time, also means reading the other books too, ready for the onstage discussions. It could have proved a chore but I’ve just about found time to read them this week, scrolling through the typeset PDFs on screen at a rate of a book a day. Luckily they are all great reads from James’ thoughtful, funny family epic through Tyler’s anti hero coming of age flame-throwing jaunt to Wil’s globetrotting anecdotes packed with poetic snatches of strange locals and locales. Then there’s deciding what to read from my book on the day/night, deciding what to wear, fitting all my usual work into half the week, andheading out for two launches and two bookshop signing events in Cardiff on Thursday 16 September (Waterstone’s, 7pm) and Swansea on Friday 17 September (Dylan Thomas Centre, 7pm).
BayLit Shock of the New Festival is shaping up nicely for October. The latest manifestation of Academi’s festival of literary innovation runs at a variety of venues spread across Cardiff Bay. Expect the strange and exciting. Expect to be entertained.
The Big Read (Wed 27 Oct, 10am – 4pm) is back. The celebration of reading and writing for all the family. The Riverfront programme of events for adults and young people features practical workshops, performances and talks on a range of topics, from the Victorian Gothic and fantasy crime novels to dub poetry and picture books. Guests include Patrick Jones, Jasper Fforde, Catrin Collier, Paul Manship, Menna Elfyn, Scott Quinelland many more.
Academi launches their new Writers’ Plaques website mapping all the memorial plaques for dead poets and scribes in Wales from John Tripp to Dylan Thomas.