I’ve been to a lot of book launches in the last few years, and from those, I think I’ve picked up on what makes a launch particularly great. One of the things I love most about book launches is feeling completely immersed in the bookish community. I enjoy being present online and talking to authors and other bloggers and readers on Twitter and Instagram, and even here on my blog, but there’s nothing quite like seeing all these people in real life and telling someone how much you adore their novel or their blog in person. I’ve met so many amazing people since I started attending book launches and other bookish events, and I’m so thankful for this welcoming, supportive community.
BOOK NERDS UNITE!
Having been to more book launches than I can count, including two in the past two days, I have some tips and suggestions I’d like to share, as well as things I love about them that can never be changed because I’m allergic to mixing things up. It’d be like releasing the second book in a series before the first. #NotHappening.
Things I love about book launches:
• Seeing all the people! Even though I feel like a hermit a lot of the time and I’d be quite content staying at home all day, reading and writing, I do love getting out to catch up with the friends I’ve made from other bookish events and to even see some new faces. I don’t think I’ve heard many introverts say the words ‘networking’ and ‘fun’ in the same sentence, BUT HEY! I love meeting new people and remembering that the human species does still exist outside of the novels I read.
• FOOD. If getting a new book wasn’t enough incentive for you to leave the house, consider the edible element of the night! Book launches — at least in Melbourne — are notorious for providing so much cake and drinks that people leave with a substantially larger stomach than when they arrived. The cakes always look phenomenal, and they either have the cover of the book on them or are themed. For the Nevernight launch, for instance, we had a massive cake with a sword sticking out of it! I’m pretty sure the sword was edible too. Who doesn’t want to eat a sword once in their life?
• Getting an author to deface sign my book. It honestly pleases me so much to have authors scrawl their signatures on the title page of their novel. I love looking back on all the books I’ve had signed and the authors I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and those books always have a special place in my heart. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many of my favourite authors, too many to list here, and I can’t wait to see who else I’ll get to meet in the near future.
Things book launches lack:
• Vegan cake. I know. I’m a disgrace. I’d just love to be able to try some of the amazing cake available at book launches one time. It’s tough taking photos of the goods and seeing everyone else eat when I’m just standing in the corner like LET VEGANS EAT CAKE! One day we will overcome this oppression.
• Cosplaying! I just want everyone to dress up as characters from the book so when I rock up in a sheet cosplaying as a ghost I don’t look weird, okay? Is that too much to ask? And we could have a costume contest and prizes and it would be AMAZING. Make this happen, Melbourne.
• YOU GET A BOOK! YOU GET A BOOK! EVERYBODY GETS A BOOK! I would really like to live that Oprah moment tbh — but with the one thing we all want. BOOKS. I’m not fussy. It could be that ARC we all want to get our hands on or a recent release that everyone’s salivating over. BOOKS, PEOPLE.
Gap Year in Ghost Town book launch
So the first book launch I went to last week was Gap Year in Ghost Town by the Melbourne author, Michael Pryor! There was cake and drinks and awesome bookish people and one heck of a speech, but the star of the night was without doubt Michael’s amazing purple jacket.
Let’s get this straight – ghosts are everywhere. I can see them. You can’t. And, see them or not, they’re dangerous. This is why my family has hunted ghosts for hundreds of years to protect people like you.
The Marin family are outcasts of the ghost hunting world. They run a two-man operation in inner city Melbourne. Anton has the Ghost-sight, but his father does not.
Rani Cross is supremely skilled in hand-to-hand combat, with enhanced speed and strength thanks to her magical initiation into the Company of the Righteous.
When it comes to ghost-hunting methodology, Anton and Rani don’t see eye to eye – Anton likes to ‘ease their passage’ to the next world, while Rani’s all about the slashing.
But Melbourne is under threat; with a massive spike in violent ghost manifestations, Anton and Rani must find a way to work together to keep supernatural forces at bay.
And what with all the blindingly terrifying brushes with death, Anton must decide if he really wants in on the whole ghost hunting biz anyway.
Gap Year in Ghost Town was the first book by Michael Pryor I’ve read, apart from his short story in the #LoveOzYA Anthology, and it certainly won’t be my last. Set in present-day Melbourne where there’s certain families that have the ability to see ghosts, this novel was adventurous and exciting. But my favourite thing about it was without a doubt the humour. This book was just so much fun! I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did, but it’s definitely one of the best novels I’ve read all year. Plus, it was set in Melbourne! With ghosts! Could anyone really ask for more?
I absolutely loved the banter between Anton and Rani. They both had very different approaches to ghost-hunting, and their differences made for a bit of tension at times, but their friendship was superbly written and both characters felt incredibly realistic. The one-liners were top notch and the amount of references to coffee made me feel just as at home as the talk of suburbs we’ve all heard of as Melbourne readers. Plus — cosplaying! Fandoms! This book was just one great big mash of everything I love. If you’re looking for a hilarious and nerdy urban fantasy novel, you definitely have to pick up a copy of Gap Year in Ghost Town.
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
No Limits book launch
The second of the two book launches I went to last week was for Ellie Marney’s latest release, No Limits! I was lucky enough to be officially launching her novel with The YA Room, a Melbourne YA book club that I co-host, and it was such a lovely night. There were themed cupcakes and gorgeous food platters, and so, so many people!
Boozer, brawler, ladies’ man – nineteen-year-old Harris Derwent is not a good guy.
His one attempt to play the hero – helping out his old flame, Rachel Watts – has landed him in hospital. Now injured, broke, and unemployed, he’s stuck back in the country, at his father’s mercy. Harris needs to pay off his dad’s debts, and fast. But working as a runner for a drug cartel is a dangerous path – especially if Harris agrees to narc…
Eighteen-year-old Amita Blunt is the perfect police sergeant’s daughter – practical, trustworthy, and oh-so responsible. Getting involved in Harris’s case was never part of the plan. But working at the hospital, she’s invisible – which makes her the ideal contact for a boy feeding information back to the police…
Harris and Amie’s connection is sizzling hot – but if the cartel finds out about them, things could get downright explosive. Backed into a corner, with everything at stake, it’s time for Harris and Amie to find out if love really has no limits…
I can’t even begin to explain how much I adored No Limits. I’ve loved Ellie Marney’s work ever since I discovered her Every series, which is a Sherlock retelling, and finally getting my hands on another one of her books was incredible. We first met Harris in the third and final book of the Every series, and I just absolutely loved getting to know him more in this novel. Harris could be a bit infuriating at times, but he had a heart old gold and he made my own heart melt. The romance between him and Amie was simultaneously slow-burning and electrifying, and I just loved every page.
No Limits wasn’t just a fun, exciting read, it was also one that dealt with some very heavy issues, such as domestic abuse and the drug trade in regional Australia. These issues were written about sensitively and with candour, and it was great to see the juxtaposition between the wit and romantic moments and the powerful nature of the more gritty side of rural life. It was a while since Every Move was released, but No Limits was well worth the wait. If you haven’t read the Every series yet, No Limits can be read as a standalone. You just need Harris in your life.
Thanks to Ellie Marney for providing me with an eARC of her novel!
Do you go to many book launches? What bookish events have you attended recently? What authors would you love to meet? Let’s chat all about the awesome bookish community!
Photos used in post sourced from Nicole Has Read and Fiona Wood.