It’s a joy to welcome Cathy Mansell back to the blog to tell us about her recent book launch:
Sharon Black on her right and Mary Bradford
Since my last visit in January 2015, good things have been happening. Galway Girl and Where the Shamrocks Grow have come out in paperback with Tirgearr Publishing and Magna large print. All four books out in audio by the end of 2015. Tirgearr has contracted my fifth book, Dublin's Fair City, and Magna have said they want that too. I couldn't be happier.
My recent book launch in Dublin to promote the Cathy Mansell Brand and my most recently published book, Where the Shamrock's Grow, was a great success but not without a few eye-openers along the way. The event took place in the lecture room of Blanchardstown Library.
Hard work went into arranging the venue. It took weeks to have the details confirmed. This particular library, I can't speak for other Irish libraries, don't do commercial. However, everyone I spoke to at the library was courteous and helpful. Yet it took many emails/phone calls before it was finally agreed by the powers that be that I could do a talk and sell my books at the same time.
Deciding to launch in another country is expensive, not to mention time-consuming where advertising the event is concerned. I approached websites, sent out flyers to libraries, newspapers and to people who were kind enough to advertise the event for me. Because the event took place in Ireland, I didn't have the opportunity of speaking with the organizers face to face, so, had to rely on things being ok when I got there.
Each book launch I've done has been a learning curve. For example; last year my Dublin book launch took place at my nephew’s. Over forty people turned up. It was a typical Irish get-together with family and friends, where I met my publisher for the first time. It was a great experience, and I sold lots of books.
It never occurred to me that Irish library policies would be different to those of the UK. For instance; you can do a talk but are not allowed to sell books. No drinks or nibbles allowed. It would have been nice to have offered refreshments, as one lady travelled fifty miles from Cork.
I also discovered that, no matter how well prepared you are, you always need a plan 'B'. My original plan to cover a two hour event gave sufficient time to each speaker with enough time at the end to sell books. As it happened, my publisher, Tirgearr, was unable to attend. I had advance warning that this might happen and totally understood the situation. I still had my guest speaker as a backup. However, I was totally thrown when he didn't show. Due to heavy Saturday traffic, people arrived late, and the event started half an hour later than planned. Still my guest hadn't arrived. I found myself in the position of having to improvise by lengthening my talk. I spoke about the inspiration behind each book. With the extra time, it enabled me to read a teaser from my newly contracted book Dublin's Fair City.
My husband had prepared a fun quiz on an excerpt I read from Where the Shamrock's Grow. It went down a treat. People were laughing and appeared to be having fun. The winner received a copy of the book. My granddaughter handed out a ticket to each person as they arrived for a free draw later.
The warmth and friendliness of the twenty-five people who turned up to support me was wonderful. I sold twenty-three books. It was certainly worth doing and in spite of the set-backs I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Thank you for having me on the RNA Blog today.
Cathy Mansell is an experienced writer of romantic fiction. Her early work was stories and articles published in national magazines. She edited an anthology of works funded by Arts Council England and appeared on the TV show Food Glorious Food 2012. Nowadays, she writes novels set in 19s Ireland, depicting the lifestyle and hardships of families in those days. Some of her characters become wound up in intricate criminal plots. She lives in rural Leicestershire with her husband, where she writes daily in her ‘Loft Study’
Sounds like you had a wonderful experience, Cathy. Thank you for sharing.
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