The Book Launch
The launch at Gulliver’s Books on Thursday for my book, Going Home: Cycling Through The Heart Of America, went well. Like doing a literary reading, these events involve leaving the secure solitude of one’s study and suddenly being the centre of attention. Naturally some relish this, but others are very uncomfortable in that sort of social situation. Having taught for 40 year to classes (sometimes of as many as 200), I’m fairly comfortable. (Although some of my students certainly weren’t always giving me their undivided attention.)
At these book launches you have to, at least in some ways, take on the role of a sales person. Although presumably you sincerely believe in the value of your product, it still is a difficult role for many writers to assume. It certainly is for me, for I couldn’t sell a glass of water to a man dying of thirst.
Like all self-promotion, it is something that writers often are not very good and as well as very uncomfortable doing. (I fall in that category.) But it is valuable for increasing readership—which does matter to writers.
Unfortunately, the opportunities for doing it are decreasing as the number of independent bookstores diminishes. It is just one more reason to mourn the passing of the independent bookseller. All readers should support the remaining local bookstores, just as they have supported local writers.
Gulliver’s is a fine exemplar. The owners, Suzanne and Bernard Brooks, have been wonderfully supportive of the local literary community for over 25 years.