Is Publication Day fun?

I often send authors ‘Happy Publication day!’ messages on Facebook, Twitter or via forums. Until last week I’d done it without thinking, because a publication day is a day for celebration for me so I assumed it was for them.

I like publication day more than I like a birthday! On publication day for Dream a Little Dream I even went out for lunch with my gym bunny friends and we toasted the success of the book. I received champagne from Choc Lit, my publisher, and, just for good measure, went out to eat in the evening with family, too. (And I didn’t get a year added to my age – hence enjoying it more than a birthday.)

It was a surprise, then, when a successful author friend said that she felt anxious about publication day, about how the book would do and whether she’d repay her publisher’s faith in her. So I asked one or two others how they feel.

Elizabeth Chadwick:

For me it’s just an ordinary day. The books have usually been on sale for a couple of weeks before anyway, and the Americans will already have a blog tour going. I’m not the sort of person who does big days anyway. My ‘whoop de do’ moment on a new novel is when I’ve handed it in and received glowing feedback from my agent and editor. (Best case scenario!) It’s the best feeling in the world at that moment, especially when they tell you the bits they like best!

Anita Burgh:
Thinking about it the word mortification Is paramount. My first book launch was in the House of Lords. Publicity were beside themselves with happiness since it was the first time a book launch had been permitted there. The car which had been arranged to pick us up didn’t turn up and we were very late. My publishers weren’t allowed in until the Lord sponsoring us turned up and he was late too. I did not witness the scene between the porters and said publisher but I was told handbags swung. Said, Lord, trimming his beard with an electric strimmer sort of thing got carried away and cut a path through his hair; there was nothing for it to strim the lot making him look like an ex-con from the Scrubs! One photographer turned up and one journalist who didn’t speak to me but the canapes and champagne were lovely.

The next day the fact that the launch was of a commercial novel in such a hallowed place was duly reported and disapproved of, my book was not mentioned by name.

Jan Jones:

My next serial starts in Woman’s Weekly on Wednesday and I shall run around Waitrose beaming joyfully and thrusting it underneath people’s noses!

So, mixed associations! I’m just glad I’m one of those who enjoy it and I’ll continue to ensure that I do by doing very little work on that day and arranging lunches and dinners.


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13 responses to “Is Publication Day fun?

  1. I’m having a little launch on Saturday for ‘A Crowded Coffin’, just family and friends which will be fun, so publication day last Thursday was fairly staid. However, the previous book, ‘Murder Fortissimo’, was published on the day I had to have a metal plate inserted into my badly broken wrist, so champagne definitely wasn’t on the menu!


  2. I don’t usually do anything special to mark publication day. Sometimes I get flowers and a card from my publishers, but apart from that, it’s a normal working day. I don’t think the anxiety about earning back my advance ever goes away though. You want to do the best you can, right? I think being blase about publication comes from the family I grew up in though; it’s hard to get excited about your book being published when your mother did it over 150 times! I probably celebrate new contracts more than publication, perhaps because it’s a fresh start each time and it shows people are still prepared to take a punt on you as an author. That’s usually more exciting than the end product, to my mind.


  3. It would be nice to have a book publication day – on the other hand, the serials come round faster. So, more wine and cake 🙂


  4. Penny

    What an illuminating post! I can sympathise with the difficulties (wasn’t there an author once faced with promoting that other best-seller, The Bible, since her own books had been sent elsewhere?). But I do feel glad when others see it as all their birthdays come at once.
    And yes, I’ve done the ‘Here’s the Mag Story Wot I Wrote’ in local supermarkets. Who else will say it for you? Most look bemused, but some darlings will beam and look chuffed and you hope you’ve made their day as they’ve made yours!


    • I was once travelling with someone who looked at what the woman next to him was reading on the plane, a story in Woman, pointed at me and said, ‘She wrote that.’ The woman looked at him, looked at me, and sort of sniffed. After a few minutes she looked back at me and said, ‘Really?’ So I said yes. She said, ‘Oh. It’s not bad.’

      If my head had been swollen, it would have deflated!


  5. I’m such a brand new author, my wrapping paper’s still on, but I’m so looking forward to my publication day (1 March) and UK launch (12 March). My book friend here in France has insisted I also have a French launch so we’ve arranged it on publication day at the local bar where our book club meets.

    I’ve learned it’s a bit of work getting invitations out, telling people and more importantly getting the wine organised. But something instinctive says there should be some kind of marker. Friends who’ve supported me want to know when the party is (shows the sort of friends I have!). They want to celebrate with me, they say.

    Maybe the urge diminishes as you write more books, but you can only be a publication virgin once.


  6. I don’t get a launch or any kind of fanfare for my books. I’m lucky to get a mention in the local paper. Like some of the others my excitement comes on acceptance. There is always that little doubt in your mind that this one won’t make the grade. But the crossed fingers have worked again and my seventh novel has just been accepted. No publication date yet though.


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