So, last Friday night (you'll know if you're a reader of Sherryl's blog) we celebrated the launch of her newest book Sixth grade style queen (not!) with a writer's party. Western Women Writers were there in force, of course, with some of Sherryl's other writer friends. I love catching up with people and talking writing. Most of us don't bring our spouses because our spouses, well, mine at least, aren't that interested in talking about writing. At home, we might talk about different aspects of writing, but it's usually a matter of my commenting about something, and everyone else listening and maybe putting forth an opinion or two. Not real discussion. Get a whole lot of writers together though, and it's a gabfest.
We talked about many different aspects of writing and publishing, particularly publicising your book and the trouble writers have to go to to get their book on the radar. I understand the logistics of a publishing company not being able to get behind every book they publish, but it seems ludicrous that they spend so much money on so few books, usually on books that need little publicity tp begin with. I find it scary when the big names in writing are people like Steve Waugh, though he's no doubt a very fine writer. It seems to me that if you want to have the publishing behemoth behind you, it pays to be famous in your own right first. Anyway, we had a long discussion about how writers have to take some of the responsibility for PR of their books themselves. Of course for some this will prove more difficult than for others. Some people are drawn to writing because of the whole writer in the garret thing, the solitariness. The whole idea of having to go out and promote yourself can seem akin to hell. But that's the reality of the writing life for most writers. It has to be done. Far better to do this than see your book remaindered (though this can happen anyway, but this is all about maximising your book's chances).
We also talked about Paul Collins's new foray into publishing. He passed around his first two titles, including one by Sean McMullen, and I must say they looked great. It's always exciting to see someone new (well, Paul's not new to writing or editing, of course!) taking that next step and opening up new avenues for the rest of us.
This party was of course on top of Sherryl's launch at Altona Primary School a couple of weeks back. The grade fives and sixes were a great group and plyed her with lots of questions. I know, because I was there. Again with Western Women Writers. Later we went for coffee with her editors and later again for lunch to celebrate. Mmm, seems like a lot of eating for one book, but it was worth it. Style queen's's well and truly launched now, with champagne at the party, so it should be smooth sailing from here.