On Saturday, I had my UK launch for Aberdeen in the Waterstones on Union Street. I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve been able to launch my book in both of my hometowns – in California in January (past posts here, here, and here), and now in Aberdeen, my new home town. Like last year’s Aberdeen launch, so many people came. This time there were a few more strangers, which was cool as well, and it was when the store was open so some more strangers ended up congregating too.
I babbled a bit about what’s happened with Pantomime over the past year, read the first chapter of Shadowplay, answered some questions, and then did the signing. Since Shadowplay was released, between my events so far this year I’ve now signed 195 copies of the second book. As I reached 500 signed copies of Pantomime and am no longer numbering copies, I’m not sure how many of those I signed – perhaps 40 or 50? Signing books is still such a surreal experience – people want me to scribble in books!
A huge thank you to Waterstones, who did an excellent job organising the launch. Everything went so smoothly and they were a pleasure to work with. And, of course, thank you so much to all of you that came. I moved to Aberdeen 4 and a half years ago, and the fact that 60ish people I knew would be willing to give up their Saturday afternoon to come see me launch my second book is really, really awesome. There were people from my current job, my past job, three of my writing groups, my family, and my friends. Some people even travelled from Glasgow (thank you Lisa, especially for the brownies!), Inverness (Emma & David), and Edinburgh (Elizabeth May). You are all wonderful, and I’m so thankful to have such a support group of friends and family and readers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Yesterday I had another event at California State University East Bay (CSUEB) as part of the English Department’s Distinguished Writers’ Series. I graduated from there with a BA in English with a Creative Writing option in 2009. And it was so, so, so cool. I’m still buzzing from it today. I thought there’d maybe be around the same amount of people as the SF launch, or a few more – maybe 35, 40 tops. There were over 75 people and it was even standing room only at the back. Just before going up I was understandably freaked out. It was so many more faces to stand in front of, and because two classes met there, it wasn’t mostly people I knew like the previous event.
But it went really well, or so I hope. Because I’d gone through the steps at Borderlands, I expanded on that, also reading from the start of Pantomime, putting both books in context, explaining my path to publication, and reading from Shadowplay. I opened it to questions as usual, and since it was a lot of English majors there were some really good questions. There were a few familiar faces of students because on Monday I went to one of my former professor’s senior seminar class to talk about the professional side of being a writer (and urging them not to quit their day jobs right out of university, heh):
After the event, there was a reception at my mom’s house. My mom teaches at the university I went to, so I met a lot of her colleagues that I hadn’t had classes with when I went through the programme. Overall, I sold around 45 books yesterday. I felt so thankful to my alma mater and how supportive so many people were. It was such a great night.
Yesterday was my launch at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. If you haven’t been to this lovely independent store, I highly recommend visiting if you’re ever in the area. It’s beautiful, bright and airy, with a brilliant selection, a lovely cafe, and really wonderful staff.
There was a good amount of people, and it was so nice to see some familiar faces after several years. I always feel so thankful standing up there in front of people who gave up their time to come see me. I read from the start of Shadowplay and then answered questions before signing copies. An especially huge thank you to Jude from Borderlands for organising such a fantastic event.
Launching the second book in a series is interesting. I’m still excited, but I also know more what to expect. It’s more fun and less scary. Fly, little Shadowplay!
Friday the 15th was my Aberdeen launch at the local Waterstones, for my friends and family who understandably couldn’t make it out to London. And wow. I moved to Aberdeen three and a bit years ago, knowing only Craig’s immediate family and friends. About 80 people showed up to my launch. I stood in front of them and felt so overwhelmed and blessed. I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but it’s still true. The support I’ve received for the launch of my baby book has been extraordinary and I’m so touched.
So this launch went similarly to the London one, except this time I had a normal microphone as opposed to a Madonna headset. I read from a different section and opened it up for questions again, and I actually got about 10 questions! Whoohoo. And then the signing. Unfortunately, Waterstones didn’t anticipate 80 people coming (I sent them the FB event page which showed at least 70, but in retrospect I should have confirmed numbers! But I was a little distracted by London), and so there weren’t enough books for everyone.
In any case, they’re going to order more stock and perhaps hold another signing, so I’ll announce that when I know more. It felt pretty rockstar to sell out in about 2 minutes though. It was nice to chat with people and sign more books (I’ve signed 139 at the time of writing in total!). Craig bought me a fancy fountain pen for signing, though it might not be the best choice when signing more than one or two at a time as bits of the paper kept getting stuck in the nib.
Afterwards, it was a lot of flitting around between groups and speaking with people. My Aberdeen worlds collided–in the same room were: Craig’s family, people from my current job, people from my old job at the library, two of my writing groups, people from nights out, and others. I was on a nerves and adrenaline high the whole time but overall I was just so happy. My book is out there and people came to launch it in style. Thank you, everyone, and I hope you all come back for launch 2.5! ❤
The Forbidden Planet launch at London’s megastore on the 7th was wonderful. I flew down Wednesday night, and the journey ended up being rather farcical as I took: a car to the airport, the plane down to London, a bus, a train I had to wait 25 minutes for, an overground that I had to wait 20 minutes for, and then a cabbie who first couldn’t find me and then got lost twice on the way to where I was staying. Oy ve. Luckily, when I was stranded waiting for the taxi with a dying phone at freezing Willesden Junction in the middle of the night, I met a nice girl and boy who walked around with me a bit.
Wednesday, I hung out with Strange Chemistry author & friend Kim Curran and then went to collect my mother, who had flown out for my launch. On the way to collect said mother, as soon as I left the Royal Festival Hall, the first person I saw walking down the street was…the girl I’d walked around Willesden Junction with at midnight the previous night! What are the odds of that? So I gave her my card and invited her to my launch.
My mother and I checked into where we were staying and then went to stalk Forbidden Planet. My mom, the obligatory paparazzi, took these photos. She also might have cried a bit, and just barely refrained from spontaneously combusting with motherly pride.
I still couldn’t believe I was in the front window. So cool.
After that, we met up with editor extraordinaire Amanda Rutter for tea and then down to begin the actual launch! I think around 40 people showed up. I was both more nervous and not as nervous as I thought I’d be. So many faces!
I was originally going to read my first chapter but then Amanda rightly pointed out that a 3 minute reading might be a little short (darn it, she caught me out!), so I improvised another reading instead, and I think it went pretty well aside from the occasional stumble and my earrings clicking on my Madonna headphone set at the start.
Afterwards there was a Q&A but only one question (which my agent asked, hehe), and so next was the signing. As I’d only signed 4 books before that day, it was still weird to scrawl in books. I was writing in books! Wasn’t I ruining them? Did people really want my scribble? I also decided to number them as I signed because I’m geeky like that. I’ve now signed 77 Pantomimes.
It was lovely to see some bloggers I’d met at the Strange Chemistry launch back in August, except now they’d read the book (and liked it, whew), plus put faces to a few people I know from Twitter and meet a few strangers (!). As ever, it was great to see familiar faces like (cue namedropping): Juliet Mushens, Kim Curran, Adam Christopher, Amy McCulloch, Tom Pollock, Anne Lyle, Adrian Faulkner, Molly Ker Hawn, Will Hill, James Dawson, Paul Cornell, Liz de Jager, Jen Williams, & Laure Eve. One of my closest friends in Aberdeen traveled all the way down–yay Lorna! I also met an online friend for the first time, Imogen, and saw online friends again for the first time in a while (Susannah & Sandra), and my cousin Dylan and his lovely Rixt were there from Amsterdam. Also: the girl I met from the tube and then on the street showed up, though unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to say hello. Thank you for coming, Diana, if you see this!
A huge thank you to everyone at Forbidden Planet as well, who made my first launch smooth and seamless and helped put me at ease.
Afterwards we went to the Phoenix pub and though it was hard to grab enough seats and chairs, it was nice to be able to chat at length with people. I drank champagne and felt very blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful folks to launch Pantomime into the world.
We finished on a note of unhealthy food at Byron burgers, and by then the adrenaline was wearing off…so I had some sugar.
I’m still on a bit of a high from how amazing it all was…and then there’s still the Aberdeen launch next week!
I will also be having a book launch closer to home in Aberdeen: details to follow.
Please come, one and all! I won’t have the stage presence that R.H. Ragona, the Ringmaster of the Circus of Magic has, but I’ll do my best. If you’re London-based and free that day, please feel free to bring anyone you think might be interested, or pass along the relevant information to Londoners. Fun for all ages!
Second order of business: I provided my first blurb, for Amy McCulloch’s wonderful desert fantasy debut, The Oathbreaker’s Shadow. Think YA Dune meets Avatar: The Last Airbender, and that gives you a good flavour of this rich world.
InThe Oathbreaker’s Shadow, Amy McCulloch weaves an intricate coming-of-age tale of the consequences of broken promises and betrayal, set in a rich world of magic, desert sands, and hidden cities. A page-turning debut from a talented new author.
And lastly, I have a few Pantomime links to share (there’s been a fair amount of reviews as we get closer to release, so here’s a sampling. For more, see my Facebook author page:
Niko on about.com says: “Laura Lam makes the circus magical once more, and I was captivated from the first page.” (Note: this one has a spoiler in the last paragraph but it’s clearly marked)
The Twins Read say: “Pantomime is an impossible reality, it’s like watching every whimsical and eerily beautiful dream we’ve had about the circus come to life. Dreamlike and surreal, Pantomime manages to evoke visions and paint images in the reader’s mind that make it easy to believe that a world like this could actually exist.”
Becca @ Lost in Thought says: “Why did this book have to end? Seriously, why? As I came to the last page I felt as if I was coming to the end of a whirlwind romance and I would never feel the enjoyment and amazement that I experienced at first sight again. Pantomime blew me away, under, over and afar, and is most definitely a contender for my favourite book of the year.”
I have also featured on a few bloggers’ best of 2012 lists, even though I’m not out until 2013! I had to pinch myself a fair few times.