What a difference a week makes. Once again in life, I’m shown the difference between knowledge and experience.
I feel like someone who – having struggled up a rocky mountainside towards a distant, cloud-shrouded peak – suddenly breaks through the mist expecting to find the summit … only to discover that the peak still towers miles out of reach. Exhausted, I’m struck by the dawning realisation that I might not have the equipment needed to reach the top.
I’ve always known that self-publishing is a long road and have always seen book launch as the first, baby step towards selling but, wow, having got through the (pretty fun) part of getting UMA & IMP to print and now being faced with the task of getting the book into kids’ hands … it’s very daunting. I feel like one in a million – actually, a billion – self-published authors swimming frantically like a mass of tadpoles in a spring pond. I suspect traditionally published authors may go through a similar experience. Getting published may have been the ‘easy’ bit.
Book launch was surreal. Cycles of euphoria, excitement, dread and a definite sense of ‘OMG, what have I done??’ – as though it was all a sudden, freak accident. Financial limitations (to put it mildly) meant I opted for a ‘virtual’ book launch (http://larisavillarhauser.wix.com/umaimpbooklaunch) rather than a canapés and champagne version. It was very much about announcing that UMA & IMP is finally out there and available. Most of my friends, and even acquaintances, have had years’ worth of listening to me talking about how badly/well the writing is going. Some of the most important people in my life live overseas in the US, Brazil, Australia and Mexico. Budget aside, a time-and-place book launch was never going to work from that point of view, so going virtual meant I could reach everyone regardless of location and time-zone.
Of course, one of the major points of a book launch is to make a splash in the media. My ‘splash’ has been purely in social media – getting mainstream press interest is a self-publisher’s Holy Grail. Without a certain (large) number of sales in the bag – or excellent contacts – that isn’t on the cards.
So here I am – the morning after …
Looking back, book launch was amazing. Full of enthusiasm and good wishes from people, some of whom I don’t even know, who are now going to be reading UMA & IMP or passing it on to a child. That feels amazing. So far I’ve sold 2 kindle books and something like 54 hard copies. People have pledged to buy more, some by order through bookshops – it’ll be interesting to hear how easy that is!
Looking forward, well, I go back to the word ‘daunting’ … I’ve been saying to people that it’s ‘going to be a long haul’, but that doesn’t really describe how I feel. It’s going to take a lot of hard work to sell even a small amount of books and, like with everything else in life, it’s also going to take some luck. For this to work, somewhere along the line, magic has to step in – someone talking to someone who knows someone … or maybe (hopefully!) one small person talking to another small person who talks to another small person …
In the meantime, I’ve been lucky enough to catch the pre-Christmas wave and have arranged a few book signings in local schools. My first is on Sunday and will include a reading. I don’t know what to expect but am super excited to get out there, eye to eye with kids, sharing my story … which is, after all, what it’s all about!
Thanks for reading!