Winchester is La Place

I appreciate that planning a book launch sounds like it’s a wonderfully glamorous activity, but it truly isn’t. It probably would be if I had access to approximately five thousand disposable pounds and about the same number of friends. No, I jest, I’m aspiring for my book launch to be a low-key, elite affair, not a scrum of people queueing four deep at the bar to drink Aftershock.

La Place Bistro

The Venue for my book launch

So I have a venue, this is the first thing. It is going to be held at La Place, a very lovely French restaurant in Winchester where I unexpectedly ate fish with bones in it for the first time. It was quite a step up from fishfingers, I can tell you. And the worst bit was that I was with someone who didn’t know that I had never eaten fish with bones in it before (I’m sure there’s a proper term for fish with bones in it) and I was keen to both keep this from him and simultaneously maintain my dignified air, which meant that I had to contain my shock when I discovered the bones. Swiftly followed by wondering how on earth I was going to remove them effectively and discreetly. It was my fault; I’d asked for the wretched fish specifically. There wasn’t anything on the menu that fitted my ideal so my friend asked if something could be found for me that was ideal – which it was, along with several hundred minute bones. But suffice to say that I managed with my dignity intact (I hope) and the fish was tremendous. I thoroughly recommend it. And bone debacle aside, La Place is the perfect venue for my book launch. It’s quite small which lends a nice, cosy air, the owners are French and therefore utterly charming and very accommodating, it has a fabulously well-stocked bar and there’s just an air of… ne sais quois about it. It has to be visited to be truly appreciated.

Having decided on the venue, the issue of cost became a concern. Some sums were mentioned during conversation between myself and my friend; I nodded and smiled to indicate ‘yes’ and only I knew that I meant ‘absolutely NOT’. If I thought it would make an important difference to the event I wouldn’t mind spending thousands of pounds on the evening (my husband probably would) but I genuinely don’t think it will. Ideally, what I envisage for my guests is to be able to come along for as long or as short a time as they wish, I want them to be comfortable, i.e. something to eat (and I promise there will be no unexpected bones) and more importantly something to drink. I want a relaxed, convivial atmosphere with my book being the focus of the evening, and I think a nice venue, French fare and a few bottles of wine are the way to achieve this.

My husband has come up with a staggeringly awful idea for the occasion, and this is that I should do a reading from my book. Apparently this is de rigueur for these events. And, perhaps, if I’d written a book about some amazing achievement like sailing a yacht single-handedly around the world or swimming in almost sub-zero temperatures up on Everest (just trust me on that one) then it might be nice to hear a particularly exciting excerpt read aloud. I can safely say this because the idea of me doing either of those things is so implausible as to be ridiculous. But my book is not about intrepid adventures. It’ll be bad enough that my guests will have no choice about buying it; I can’t imagine that they want to be forced to listen to it all evening as well.

So having found my venue and approved a menu I must now decide upon a guest list. I have a number in my head that I’m working to, considering the size of the bar, and I must allocate spaces carefully. If you are wildly influential or I particularly like you then you will probably be invited. If not, then the other thing I would suggest is just popping into Winchester on the evening of the 29th September because the idea of this thing is that people can wander in off the street; there will be plenty of publicity posters up to engender interest and you’ll be guaranteed a glass of the one of the splendid wines at La Place.

And finally, I am very grateful to everyone who makes the effort to come and read my blog and if you haven’t already then click ‘Like’ on my facebook page, and you’ll be notified instantly when a new blog is posted. Alternatively follow me on Twitter @SH_Writes and become my sixth follower! There will be a prize for the tenth. You can also ‘Like’ La Place on facebook – you’ll find the link on my facebook author page.

Next time: I SHOULD have received my review copies which means I can step up a promotion gear and start begging and pleading for shops to stock my book and to be allowed to come in and sign them for people. Time for my most charming self to make an appearance….

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