I am so excited about this guest post by Gina, where she focuses on her Book Launches!
IS IT REALLY SUCH A TERRIBLE DRAG……
Book Launches can fill an author with a myriad of emotions and to be honest, not all of them are good ones. In the first wave comes pure, unadulterated excitement along with the trepidation of trying to secure a venue. Being an unknown first-timer, I had visions of renting the telephone box at the top of the road from British Telecom. This seemed promising until I had quickly come to realise that squeezing my hubby at 6’ 2” and a rather imposing 18 stone, my daughter, brother and a couple of books inside would make closing the kiosk door nigh on impossible and I just knew it would be my curvy butt that would end up hanging outside in the rain with the 1972 paper edition of Directory Enquiries wedged between my cleavage.
Whilst racking my brains to think of a suitable alternative, I sneaked into the fabulous Waterstone in Liverpool to partake in a peppermint tea and a chat with their Events Manager, the very lovely Sarah. Half an hour later, walking on air, I skipped along Church Street to the train station. She had taken a chance on me and had offered Waterstones as the venue for the launch of Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong. My elation knew no bounds but to my dismay, it didn’t last long, twenty minutes to be exact. As I climbed the station steps, my dicky hip clicking in time to the piped music and my gammy knee giving the impression of an afternoon on the Gin, it hit me…a thought, not the steps.
How the hell was I going to fill a venue like Waterstones.
I feverishly began writing notes on the train journey home. I needed a gimmick. If I had a gimmick it would hopefully help to publicise the launch and get over the hurdle of me being a complete unknown. I could feel a surge of hope as I wriggled in my seat trying to extricate my good old Primark thong from where the sun doesn’t get the chance to shine. There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable wedgie in public is there?
And suddenly I had it…..
A week later, in collusion with my Publisher, it was agreed that Constable Mavis Upton’s Humongous Thongs would be the gimmick giveaway on the night. As I needed hundreds of pairs ready for printing, it was my job to obtain them. I furtively skulked around my local Birkenhead branch, surreptitiously chucking triple packs of black, size 18-20 polyester thongs into one of their navy blue extending baskets. By the time I got to the till it was dragging along the floor like a trawler net, only my catch was fifty packets of knickers and not a shoal of Grimsby cod. The embarrassment that followed trying to pay for them was another story as I jutted my chin out and announced to Cashier No. 3 and the queue behind me in a very loud voice “I’m not incontinent you know, I just…..
erm…I just….” I fell silent. Just what? Have a fetish for them? Keep losing them on nights out? Use them for dishcloths? What?
Subsequently the other 150 pairs that were needed were sourced in smaller quantities around every Primark in the North of England to save myself from further humiliation.
I spent weeks packaging, labelling, stamping and boxing them up, my excitement bubbled again but in all honesty, having ones name stamped on the crotch of what resembled a deflated parachute probably wasn’t going to be my finest moment, but it was quirky, it was fun and I hoped it would make people smile.
HANDCUFFS, TRUNCHEON AND A POLYESTER THONG LAUNCH
The Launch night was amazing, everything I could have wished for and more, every ticket was sold. My fantastic nephew, Luca Veste hosted the event, he’s brilliant and kept me chilled – almost, we had humongous knickers, Mavis cupcakes, plenty of Prosecco and lots and lots of laughter…. and completely sold out of Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong.
On the journey home later that night I didn’t think I could ever top the experience and in my mind, I almost dared to call myself an author. Twelve months later it was round two for the launch of Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, the second in the Mavis Upton series and in 2019 it was time to spring the third, Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes onto the unsuspecting public. Following on from the fun and frolics from the Handcuffslaunch, Waterstones again hosted both events and the drinks bill was almost tripled! Add to that hundreds of Krispy Kreme Donuts, an even bigger edition of Mavis’s famous knickers, fantastic actors who played characters from both books and the fabulous Liverpool Drag Queen, Lady Seanne aka Shaun McKenna, no wonder we had an absolute ball.
I am so incredibly lucky to have had these amazing opportunities; I still pinch myself each time I look back at the photographs charting the rise of Constable Mavis Upton. If life is meant to be fun, to laugh each day and count our blessings, then prick me with a fork….
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT LAUNCH
( with Shaun McKenna as Franny Flange)
BLUES, TWOS AND BABY SHOES LAUNCH
Beatrice Higgins, Cora May Spunge & Agatha Hortensia
Winterbourne (Played by Shaun McKenna, Sheila Callaghan & Lilian Chapman)
What fantastic book launches! I really can’t wait to go to one of yours! They sound fab!
Unti next time xxx