Was it only January that the idea arose and February when we began to put our heads together to create a book launch that would become a behemoth which threatened the sanity of its members. I'm exaggerating (only a little!).
The printing was the easy part. Our wonderful local university campus did the most amazing job, on prices, quality and speed. All hail, the University of Chichester!
We started contacting the media. Not one local newspaper or magazine escaped our tentacles. When one wanted a group photo, we gathered on the promenade a Felpham, dodging the rain but not the wind. Phil Hewitt, the arts correspondent of the local newspapers began phoning us for interviews, which turned out to be a little scary at times. "What's interesting about your book?" Gulp! Waffle, waffle.
Among all this self-promotion was a tiny detail, lurking, not at the back but in the forefront of our brains. We had to finish editing our books and uploading them to our distributors. It is no hyperbole to describe the screams, the tears and the whacking of laptops as we battled with the technology. Everyone had a different problem, pictures would not load, a whole book would not load to CreateSpace, a cover would not load to Ingram Spark. Throughout it all we supported each other with calming emails. Thankfully, it's like childbirth and we quickly forgot the pain amidst the other things filling up our to do lists.
Not satisfied with pandering solely to print media, we decided on a multi-media approach (that sounds grand). Each of us had something up our sleeve to put to the group. The first was a radio broadcast. We offered to put together a half hour programme for a local radio show. Each of us would talk a little bit about ourselves and then read a passage from our book. The first problem was finding the studio. 'I'm sure it's somewhere at the back of Rustington Manor' as we trailed back and forth around the building. Eventually, we espied a footpath and a hut and a great welcome from, Peter Langelaan We were radio virgins, but with Peter's help we put together a very creditable broadcast and look forward to the next time.
Next on the list, a silent movie. Angela wrote an entertaining script and found a photographer /director, Ben Harvey, who was wonderful. We met on Worthing seafront on a bright but very cold Spring evening. We had a deadline, the filming had to be finished before the sun set. No pressure. An hour's rehearsal before Ben arrived and the whole thing was a wrap a further 90 minutes later. Although delighted with the result, we still ask ourselves if we have gone completely bonkers.
Next on the menu, a Facebook Launch Party. What? Rosemary had heard of one, never taken part in one but decided we should have a go. Thank goodness Angela found one that we could attend so we could see what went on. Angela designed an invitation, Rosemary got to work on the schedule and Patricia worried about what she'd let herself in for. The first practice session bombed. Tweaks were made, the second practice was marginally better. A third secret practice session followed, without Rosemary - if it hadn't gone well, I think they may have shot Rosemary for ever suggesting it. On the night, despite a couple of broadband crashes it went swimmingly. Along with guest authors, who all donated books we had a wonderful virtual party with actual music, virtual food, wine and competitions. At the end, we were on such a high that we all thought the alcohol had been real.
Then came the big day itself. Another member of Arun Scribes joined us for the launch. We arrived ready for what could have been a damp squib with us sat twiddling our thumbs. What we got was three hours of non stop lovely readers. The publicity had paid off. All the hard work came together and we sold our books non-stop.