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The Book Launch....with no drink and just my laptop for company!

My novel The Uganda Sails Wednesday was launched on September 24 2020 by Red Door Press. I was told this was confusing as the launch date was a Thursday! Really I should have researched this a bit more and launched the book on the same day of the week that the ship was actually launched - which was Tuesday January 15 1952 at the Barclay Curle shipbuilding yard on the upper Clyde. Made in Scotland.


The virtual launch had the usual IT problems associated with Zoom being used by people unused to video conferencing but we still managed over 35 attendees on the night. I was told it would be nerve wracking but strangely it wasn't probably because being faced with a screen of 30 faces I decided it was easier not to look other than towards my question master, Clare Christian from Red Door. I tried to feign surprise at the incisive questions and maybe this came across as confidence. Either way it felt like I was mostly talking to myself inside a dustbin.


I also chose to do two readings - from the first few chapters to avoid any unintended plot spoilers. My first practice run was terrible - too rushed and garbled and lacking in expression (well that's what Vivi said but her comments might have been more general). The second practice (on my own) ironed out the remaining stumblings in the flow of words and I felt much better about delivery on the night.


This brought to mind the oft quoted maxim that the best form of editing any passage of fiction is to read out aloud your words and see what they sound like. It really does make a difference - but then who has the time to read aloud all 95000 words of a novel? Must do better in book two of the trilogy!


So when people ask me how was the launch I don't have many incisive comments. Fortunately however the event was recorded for posterity and there should soon be a You Tube version available so that everyone can see for themselves and make their own judgement. So many book launches have been postponed during the pandemic and many have been rescheduled for September so that the art of virtual launches is fast evolving. Maybe the 50 minutes clip will become better known for how you should and/or shouldn't conduct a virtual book launch.

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