More than a quaint ritual

A quaint old cultural ritual, a remnant from the days when books emerged less often and seemed correspondingly more significant? A bit of ego massage for the author? A custom that is disappearing anyway because its cost is no longer justified by the sales generated?

Previously I’ve posted some thoughts about ceremonial book launches, noting that even authors themselves are not unanimous about the value of these events. David Malouf (so successful that he can afford to be dismissive) shrugs them off as merely “exercises in vanity,” while Miriam Cosic regards them as a vanishing species, “one of the silent casualties of shrinking profits and digital publishing.”

Paul Genoni delivering his speech to launch A Thousand Tongues

Having had my new novel A Thousand Tongues launched at a cheerful event yesterday, I incline towards the more optimistic opinion that this traditional way of celebrating a book’s birth can still create ripples of publicity that reaffirm collectively the worth of literary creativity for readers as well as for writers and publishers.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself thoroughly and the crowd that filled Mattie Furphy House apparently did so too. I’m grateful to all who contributed to the afternoon’s success, especially  to Dr Paul Genoni for his eloquent appreciative speech (a version of which will later be published as a review), to my publisher Framework Press for all its support (particular thanks to Indeira William), to the Fellowship of Australian Writers (WA) for the use of its lovely heritage-listed venue, and to Olivia for a great sales job.

And by the way… I’m delighted that Amanda Curtin generously invited me to write a piece about my novel as a guest on her website. She posted it there today and you can read it here.

8 thoughts on “More than a quaint ritual

  1. A good choice of activity for a rainy afternoon. It was one of the best book launches I’ve attended. The review of the book by Dr Genoni was outstanding and the reading of the excerpt was great. So looking forward to reading the book now.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the event, Iris, and I hope the book pleases you too. I’ve had some very positive email messages about the launch and they also mention particularly Paul Genoni’s speech. Thanks for your support.

  3. I think those who dismiss book launches as just a vanity exercise seem to me to miss the point that they do provide good marketing and publicity opportunities as well as recognising how much work actually goes into writing a book! I was at Ian’s book launch and agree it was a very convivial occasion for a wet Sunday afternoon. The venue was great and most suitable for an historical novel.

  4. Congratulations, Ian. Brian and I will look forward to reading this one when we settle back in here in Port Fairy, having just got back from 10 weeks in the UK. If you and G get this way, you could always do a reading at the new gallery space in town. Very best, Robyn and Brian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *