During my days as publisher at M&S I took a jaundiced view of launch parties for individual books. It turned our hard-working publicity department people into almost full-time cocktail party organisers, and provided expensive free drinks for thirsty media types who couldn’t remember the name of the book they were supposedly celebrating, and writing or broadcasting about. To get away from this pattern, we held one big celebration, at the AGO (with all of our authors distinguished by a rose or corsage). It became a major attraction of the fall season, year after year, with a huge turn-out. It was so successful that Quill & Quire complained mildly about the company’s “Imperial style.”
Now that I’ve had the experience of attending a launch party for one single book, and one single author — me – it occurs to me that I underestimated the sheer selfish pleasure that an author experiences in that brief spell in the sun, as congratulations beam around. Certainly, the event at Ben McNally’s store (which in my brief speech of thanks I called “a beacon of enlightenment in the dark canyons of Bay Street”) was a very pleasant one, with friends popping up from all over. I was tied down at the signing desk from the start, and so wasn’t really at the party. But my friends played their part so nobly that we ran out of books to sign (with over 120 gone) and the ECW gang was pleased.
The next morning, like a sitcom character I was swinging my right arm and wondering aloud what was wrong with it. Jane pointed out that I’d just signed over 120 copies of my book. This is an occupational hazard I could learn to enjoy.
— Douglas Gibson