To be honest, I am stretching the idea of a “launch”. My original idea of a launch was that you do it once, and your book is then launched, like a ship sailing for the first time. You cannot officially launch a ship more than once, but it seems that a book is different; it appears that it can be launched multiple times!
Saying that, the three events that I have planned are all different. The first one is in the British Council, which is the British government’s official cultural body in Lisbon. I chose it as it was always the Holy Grail for English Language teachers when I lived in the city; they run high quality courses there, and were always reputed to pay teachers well. They also have connections with English speaking communities and organizations in Lisbon, which will be useful in promoting the event.
The second event will be in a bookshop specialising in travel books and literature; Palavra de Viajante (Word of the Traveller), in Rua de São Bento. This will be a lot more informal, in a room at the back of the bookshop where events and readings are held. The space is small enough, and so people will be standing for the duration of the talk. The key difference here is that I will be talking about the book in Portuguese. I have been working on my language for the last couple of months, with this in mind, and have prepared an explanation of the book in Portuguese. This is very important to me; obviously it will be addressed to the locals in their own language, and I would like the book to appeal to the Portuguese as much as to ex-pats.
My final night there (the 18th), I will be in Bookshop Bivar, (near Arroios). This is a cool little English language bookshop that sells mainly second-hand books, run by a Finnish woman called Leena. It seems to be a lively place, with regular cultural events and readings and talks by writers.
There is actually an Irish writer called Peter Murphy living in Lisbon at the moment, and he did a reading in Bookshop Bivar recently. I met him on my last visit to the city – he had been living in Canada, and was published there. He hasn’t lived in Ireland for while, (said it was too cold and too expensive!) though he is involved in an Irish ex-pat group there in Portugal and gave me some useful ideas for promotion and selling the book.
It is a fairly hectic week, to be honest, though I don’t really have a choice, I have to start back to work properly on the 20th of September, after which time I won’t have a second to be going over to Lisbon and launching books. So if I want to get the book out into the Portuguese consciousness, it has to all be done in this short space of time. It is my Portuguese launch window, and I have to take advantage.
One thing I am going to try and do above all else, is to enjoy the experience. I semi-enjoyed the Irish launch, but I was so wracked with nerves, and so afraid that no-one would show up, that I really didn’t have the opportunity to do so properly. And my previous two visits to Lisbon were all work really, promoting and trying to sell the book, so I haven’t really had a chance to enjoy the wonderful city of Lisbon yet.
Well, I have a week, starting next Monday. Most of the work and promotion is done; I can do no more. I have spent most of the last week in Ireland sending emails and messages: to newspapers, language schools, ex-pat organizations, libraries, Facebook pages, publishers, literary agents, and bloggers. I now just have to hope that someone shows up.