I couldn’t think of a better image to illustrate this post in which I will inform all ye gentle readers that in a couple of days, my book will be in bookstores near you, provided you live in India. But you will not know that you should look for it because, unlike most books, this one will not have a launch party. Consequently, there will be no e-invites sent to friends and strange journalists, asking them to come over and drink cheap wine while listening to a poncy person read an extract from said book. The good part about this is that I don’t have to get out and pretend to be sociable. The bad part is that now I’m going to have to take friends (whom I could have fed free and cheap wine) out for a drink. The worst part is that everyone asks me, “So when is the launch?” To which I reply that there is no launch and they proceed to give me a confused smile that I imagine people proffer those who tried to qualify for the Special Olympics but failed. Some cluck sympathetically. A few friends are a little more blunt: “Dude, how bad is your book that your publisher can’t throw a single party for you? I mean, that Keep off The Grass guy got a launch party.” Or my other favourite, “What the f*&% is the point of you writing a book if there isn’t a big-ass opening that I can go to as the author’s friend?”
Frankly, I’m not sure. No one writes a book because they want a launch party (I hope) but suddenly, I feel jipped and in some weird way, that party has become indicator of how good a writer I am. It suddenly feels like I’m 25 again, with every aunty in the planet asking my mother if she’s found a “nice boy” for me. Just as there were no nice boys, there is no launch party. But the expectation is intense. Everyone reacts sharply, as though the whole point of writing and publishing a book is having it launched rather than having it read. I had no idea one catered event could mean so much but it apparently does and there are times when the fact that I don’t get one gets to me. Occasionally, I want to holler at my publisher, “I am worth a crate of cheap wine, dammit!” But I’m not and, considering all the people who have been considered worth it by their publishers, that’s pretty sad. The only thing more pathetic would be to follow an acquaintance’s suggestion and throw my own launch party and I’ll admit it, I did actually think about it. (No, I’m not going to do it; aside from being lame and expensive, it’s way too much work.)
So this is my launch, complete with the cheap whine. You now officially know that the book, like the truth in The X-Files, is out there. You are, naturally, stunned by my brilliance, eloquence and general awesomeness so you will rush to a bookstore near you and ask, nay demand, that my book be handed over to you right now. If you live outside India, you will either book yourself a holiday to India or you will go to my publisher’s website. In a matter of a few months, I’ll become rich and famous because the millions of you who clicked on my launch will have bought my book. Publishers with fantastic offers will bang at my door as will postmen bearing my fat royalty cheques. Malcolm Gladwell will pull at his hair and bemoan the fact that he hadn’t thought of DIY book launch on a random anonymous blog. Nassim Nicholas Taleb will cite this little post as a Black Swan Event that makes the others look grey. Generally, life will have altered forever, and all because I launched my book. Cheers!