Monday, 15 August 2011

Prepare for launch

I can still remember the heady mixture of exhilaration, excitement, anticipation and, let's face it, pure terror, in the days leading up to my book launch for Caligula in 2008. It was a venture into the complete unknown, like walking blindfold down a busy street filled with pitfalls and possibilities. On the one hand, there were no worries about success or failure, because having a book published was success enough. On the other, it's the nearest thing to putting your newborn up in a fairground coconut shy.

Imagine what it's like doing it with twins.

Defender of Rome, the second in my Valerius Verrens series, and The Doomsday Testament, my first venture into thriller writing as James Douglas, will be launched on Wednesday at a party in Edinburgh (6.30pm at Blackwell's, 53 South Bridge if you can make it). To be honest, I've been so busy finishing the first draught of my next book and shamelessly plugging these ones that I haven't had time to think about it. But with three days to go the adrenalin is kicking in. The terror has been replaced by a mild case of nerves. Apart from that it's much the same.

Experience has taught me to keep my expectations low and my hopes high. With Caligula anything seemed possible. I know now that being an author is about patience: about building an audience and always striving to make the next book better than the ones that went before. And yet ...

For a debut book Doomsday has created quite a stir. It's already into its third printing and it'll be on sale in all the big supermarkets - a first for me and one which opens up a lot of interesting possibilities. Ask me what I'd hope for Defender and I'd say enough advance sales (it takes about two thousand) to get into the hardback Top Ten for the first time.

It doesn't matter how much you try to keep your feet on the ground, a writer always has his head in the clouds.


applegarth said...

Hi doug, i hope you have a good launch on the 17th,unfortunately i am not able to get to Edinburgh as much as i would love to,but i hear that you might be coming to History in the Court in September ,if that is true i catch up with you then,it sould be a good evening if the Crime in the Court was anything to go by.I just received my copy of Doomsday and i am looking forward to starting it this weekend, i am sure it will not disappoint and it will not be long before people will be asking who is James Douglas and when is his next book due.You know how much i enjoyed Defender of Rome, i just posted my review on Amazon,would the draught of the next book be a Valerius one! any way have a really good evening and i am sure they will both ride high in the charts.

Doug said...

Thanks very much Jim and for the excellent review. Hope you enjoy Doomsday. I have plans for at least another two Valerius books covering the Year of the Four Emperors and possibly a third which would take him on Agricola's campaign to Mons Graupius. It will depend whether my editor reckons he's a strong enough character to go all that way, but I have no doubts myself. He grows with every book.

Wet Dark and Wild said...

I wish I could be there, Doug, for the launch. I'll be thinking of you. I loved Defender of Rome, loved it (just put my review on Amazon), and I have no doubt Doomsday Testament will do well. I'll look forward to seeing it on the supermarket shelves! I started reading it late last night and already a third through :)

Have a fantastic Double Launch Day!


applegarth said...

Hi Doug,it is good to hear that we have more of Valerius to come,it was interesting about what you say about the editor saying that the character may not be strong enough to go all the way,I can only say what I as a book buyer look for in my main character in the books that I read and as of the second novel of Valerius he ticks most of the boxes for me.with his loss of a hand and loss of his love Maeve,it set him up as lucky in battle but not in love and now he seems to be able to cope with the treachery of the political arena.The one area where I think he might need strengthening is not so much Valerius himself but in the fact that we do not have established side-kicks,I know we did have Marcus and Serpentius and with Serpentius looking as the one who could step up to the marrk and be Patrick Harper to Sharpe or Macro to Cato or 352 Jenkins to Simon Fonthill,I know these are well establish characters and.have many adventures behind them,but if one or both progress with Valerius in the future,I think he will be even stronger than he is now. I know editors are important to the writer,but as a book buyer I would urge the editor that Valerius is indeed strong enough to go another 3 books and I for one would buy them all ,in hardback of course. Have a good launch tonight all the best Jim