The Publication Diaries: To Book Launch, or Not To Book Launch?

“I think that’s the key for all debut authors – celebrating the hard-earned goal of publication in a way that suits YOU the best”

Debut author Melissa Welliver shares her publication journey

So I have a finished book! It has a cover, a blurb, 95,000 words of not-so-bad text inside, and even a couple of lovely author quotes for the front. The only thing left to do is launch that baby into the world.

But how to mark the occasion?

I think we all imagine the illustrious book launch party when we’re budding young writers. The elegant champagne fountain and black tie dress, all held at Waterstones and paid for by your lavish publisher. The reality of the situation, unfortunately, is that you usually have to cover an event like that yourself, and we are still in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Bummer.

But even if all those things weren’t barriers to an in-person launch, is that what I really wanted?

As an introverted writer, standing on a stage and making a speech in front of people wasn’t my idea of fun. Plus, could I really ask all my supporters, some of which live rather far away, to travel that far to see little old me? The more I thought about it, the more the old imposter syndrome sunk in. And with that came the anxiety about the whole thing. What was I going to do?

But all is not lost!

One thing I have been keeping an eye on in these uncertain times is the growing number of virtual book launches – that is to say, book launches held online, usually by video link, for anyone and everyone to join in with. And the more I thought about my dream book launch, the more the champagne fountains and book-shaped cake turned into a zoom room with all my family and friends.

A digital launch event would mean that there were no geographical or financial barriers for anyone to come and celebrate with me, and a LOT of people have helped my up this publication ladder. If anything, maybe a digital launch was the blessing in disguise, even in a post 2020 world of zoom fatigue.

The launch itself

Luckily, I have the fab team right here at Writementor on my side, so I asked the Jedi Master himself, Stuart, to host. And what a host he was! We made time for chatting about the book, a speech from my lovely (and long suffering!) agent Lucy Irvine, answering questions, and even a dystopian-themed quiz to finish off with. All my friends, family, and writing community were all able to come, whether in real time or by catching up later on youtube. It was the perfect solution, keeping everything stress free while also allowing me to thank the people that have helped me so much over the years of writing struggles. I couldn’t have asked for a better launch and there may have even been some sneaky tears once the webcam went offline.

All in all, I’m glad I marked the occassion. And I think that’s the key for all debut authors – celebrating the hard-earned goal of publication in a way that suits YOU the best. Whether that be a virtual launch, in-person soiree, or event an intimate dinner with friends, find a way to mark the occassion that essentially pinpoints the beginning of your career. Trust me, in this kidlit community, you’ll have plenty of people that want to celebrate with you.

<strong>About the Author</strong>
About the Author

Author and WriteMentor Creative Administrator Melissa Welliver has been longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, the #BNAKids award, and Mslexia’s Children’s Novel Prize, and she was shortlisted for both the inaugural Hachette Children’s Novel Award in association with New Writing North, and the Wells Book for Children competition. She is represented by Lucy Irvine of Peters, Fraser & Dunlop, and her debut novel, The Undying Tower, the first in a Young Adult dystopian trilogy, is published September 2021 by Agora Books.

1 thought on “The Publication Diaries: To Book Launch, or Not To Book Launch?”

  1. Pingback: Interview with Florianne and Melissa - WriteMentor - for all writers of children's fiction

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