Friday, October 17, 2008

My book launch!!

Well, it has taken a little while but I now have pictures I feel I can actually use on my blog (thank you Yitz Woolf for the wonderful B&W pics!) so now I can reveal all.

I couldn't even begin to think about planning my book launch party until I knew I had enough books in the country to be able to sell them - it is interesting that I had to think of the launch as part-celebration, part mass-marketing opportunity, which was quite strange, pulling in two directions.

We brought several boxes of books back with us from our trip to the UK on Sept 28th, and then I set the date and the place - my friend J-M's gorgeous and enormous flat (which others are now requesting to use for their book launches!). Nothing in Israel gets done much in advance, so giving people a week's notice for the party was about right. I invited 180 people, and prayed they wouldn't all come, not because I didn't want them all there, but because I had no idea what to do in the face of so many people, and whether I could even read in front of them all.

Luckily, only half that number, a perfect 90 or so, turned up. I was pretty frantically nervous; James was doing an amazing job with sales, and from almost the beginning I was being asked to sign and sign and sign. I had thought I would have time to refill the dips, top up the bowls of nibbles... but I didn't have a minute.

I was delighted when my cousins turned up, it's a long drive, they are not so young anymore, I hadn't imagined they would come - but they did, clutching copies of the book they had already bought! A highlight of the evening was introducing them to another cousin, same side of the family, that they had never met. A real thrill:

The evening kicked off at 7.30, and I had said I would read at around 8, so at 8.15 I decided I'd better do it. There was no stage, of course, no podium, no spotlight, no microphone, and inside I felt as though I was about to jump off a cliff. I stood in the living room, there was silence, people sat or stood, staring at me. I had no choice. I jumped.

I first explained about the 27 stories in the book - half being flash and half being science-inspired. I had planned that for the first reading, I would read one flash story from the book, Plaits, which I knew would go down well. And I thought I would take a risk and read out a new flash story, one that I recently wrote. I decided that this was a safe environment to try this out, and it added a little value, giving people a bit extra.

I knew that most people in the room - friends and family - had probably never read any of my stories. Some people had heard the ones that were broadcast on the Radio, but I didn't think many people had visited my website, clicked on the links. For me, this was a coming-out of sorts, a shedding of my skin, an announcement saying 'Here I am and this is what I do, what I write. This is me.'

Thankfully, it went well. Very well. So well that after the second flash story (which perhaps was a little too odd to be read out!) no-one got up, no-one moved. They demanded more. They grinned at me, clapped, demanded. And so I read what I had planned for the 2nd reading, The Angel in the Car Park. My only sort-of-Jewish story. And then I insisted on having a break.

After the first reading, the butterflies in my stomach changed, dissolved. I revealed myself and all was well, it was fine, nothing collapsed inwards, nothing fell on me. Relief.

We sold more books, I signed and signed, not a spare minute to even chat.

I received many compliments on my shoes, gorgeous boots that I had bought with part of the proceeds from the last story I had on the radio. Here they are (though not on my legs!):
People left, new people came, and I had to decide what to read for my second reading. Everyone seemed to enjoy me reading to them, so, although I was losing my voice by this time, I went for North Cold, one of my longer, science-inspired stories, since I had had several friends asking me to read an example of what I had meant by that. This is the other story I read in Cork, and it works well being read out, it's a bit like a fable. By the time I finished reading it, my voice was completely gone and I refused all calls to read something else. I was done!

Thank you to all my wonderful friends who came - and bought the book!

The evening wound up at around 11pm with me finding in one of J-M's cupboard the rest of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that I had planned on putting out but had forgotten about.The dozen or so of us still there fell upon them. A sweet end to a perfect night. Thank you to J-M! May your home be host to many more such celebrations!
Now I am post-book-launch, feeling happy but a little unsettled, unsure of what comes next. Well, the first thing is my Virtual Book Tour, "Walking the White Road: flash, fiction and science", which kicks off on Oct 28th, and takes me (virtually) around the world, stopping off at ten blogs along the way.

I am also really thankful for the upcoming month at La Muse in November, to get on with several projects which have been on hold for a while, to breathe in the mountain air, to practice my French and not eat too much! A New Jewish Year just began and I feel the sense of a new beginning, in a completely different place creatively, metaphysically, mentally. Lots to look forward to.

(More pics on Facebook.)


Nik's Blog said...

Wish I'd been there, Tania - it looks and sounds terrific. Well done, you!


Caroline said...

You look stunning! Sounds like a true celebration x

Lit Flood said...

SOunds like it was a great night Tania, would have loved to have been there to have listened along.

Congratugratulations! x

Sarah Hilary said...

Beautiful! The boots, the book - you. And I love that you love Reese's Cups. I love Reese's Pieces even more but it's so hard to get them.

Anyway, congratulations!

Tania Hershman said...

Nik - wish you'd been there too. Maybe I will do something in England.

Caroline, thank you so much, it really was fun. I have just ordered In Search of Adam, can't wait to read it... best of luck with Black Boxes!

Chelsey, would have loved to have you there too.

Sarah, boots and Reese's Peanut Butter cups, my idea of perfection, eh. I will bring you some Reese's Pieces when I come over next. Peanut butter and chocolate - heavenly!

Sara said...

Tania, it sounds perfect, and it must have been a very big deal to stand in front of your friends and family and read your stories. Many congratulations.

P.S Reese's pieces are scrumptious, and so hard to find here. Sigh.

Anne Brooke said...

Well done indeed! Glad it went so well!



Tim Jones said...

The launch sounds great! And you have 27 stories in your book as well - this is clearly the new paradigm for short story collections - there's a PhD thesis in it for someone ...

SueG said...

I'm so glad it went so well. And you look fantastic! Congrats. And I know this is just the start of lots of acknowledgement and wonderful events for you and your marvellous book!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Wow! Great to read about it!! I wish I could have been there too!!

Wishing you much success and all good things!


Women Rule Writer said...

That was a great read. What a turn out too! It all sounds so positive and uplifting. No more than you deserve, Tania.
N x