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Fair weather for 'To the Fair Land' book launch

Published: 10 Sep 2012  - updated: 9 Oct 2012

Historical novelist Lucienne Boyce reports on her book launch and offers some top tips for other authors...

Book launch day. It’s sunny. It’s cloudy. It’s sunny. And that’s how it was - one of those perfect, sunny evenings that make wine and canapés on a British lawn something very special indeed. And what a lawn! Eighteenth-century Goldney Hall in Clifton, Bristol was a breath-taking setting for the launch of my historical novel, To The Fair Land, on 5 September 2012.

Goldney was a particularly fitting venue, as it’s a location I mention in the novel. With its maritime connections - the Goldney family owed their wealth to trade in the South Seas - it was a perfect link to a tale based around the myth of the Great Southern Continent, and set partly in Bristol.

I did a short reading from the book - interrupted by a mobile phone going off - which turned out to be mine! After that we gave out little "goody" bags. Each contained a bookmark and, in keeping with the nautical element of the book, a recipe card for an eighteenth-century naval dish (anyone for burgoo?), and a small sea-themed gift - miniature ships in bottles, shell soaps, etc. There was also a "ship’s biscuit" to nibble on - though chocolate biscuits weren’t standard Navy rations in the Age of Sail.

It was a wonderful occasion and a great way to celebrate the publication of To The Fair Land.


My top tips for a successful book launch:


  • You’re nervous. Doesn’t matter. You’ve worked hard for this, you’ve produced a beautiful book (professionally edited, type set, proof read etc) and now is the time to celebrate. Believe me, you will enjoy it.
  • If possible, select a venue that has some connection with the book. A place mentioned in the book, or connected with one of the characters, or theme...a lot depends on your budget of course, but connecting your book to a special place can only be good for the book! If you can’t do that, take something along that has a connection - Julian Stockwin takes a length of ship’s rope to his talks & readings and it’s a great talking point/prop.
  • Take plenty of books to sell - 50 makes a nice display - any less could look a bit lost; book stands; a receipt book; paper bags; bookmarks and/or postcards; pens for people writing cheques and the appropriate cash float to give out change. And a good pen to sign with.
  • Timetable the evening in advance so you know when and how things are going to happen. What time will drinks and nibbles be served? When will you do your reading/talk/signing?

(I would have added an extra one - "turn off your phone" - but ran out of space...)

Find out more

You can read details about Lucienne's book and also order a copy in our online bookshop, or visit Lucienne's website here.

Stop Press 4 October 2012

Lucienne will be at this years Cheltenham Literary Festival, reading from To The Fair Land. She'll be in the Waterstones Book Tent, Montpellier Gardens, at 12 on Monday 8 October. It’s part of the Locally Sourced event when a number of local authors are invited to read from their books.

“If you’re thinking of self-publishing, I hope you don't go at it alone. With a team like SilverWood behind you, you have the support you need to publish the best work you believe in.”

J A Higgins