Launching a book

YouChoose_cover01A book launch is a common way of celebrating the publication of a new book. As well as being an excuse for the author’s friends and relatives to get together for a bit of congratulating, it can also be a good way to kick start the book’s promotions. Sometimes they are organised by publishers, sometimes by the author and sometimes by third parties. Oh yeah… and they’re usually a heap of fun!

It’s traditional, at a launch, to have a guest do the launch speech — another author, a celebrity relevant to the book, maybe even a politician. There’s often food and drink. And there’s always book selling and signing.

I’ve been to lots of book launches over the years — as author, guest launcher and spectator — and they’ve always been fun. Over the course of this and two other posts, I’m going to focus on a few particular launches. At two of those launches I was the guest speaker, and in the subsequent posts I’ll write up my launch speeches for those books — Michael Pryor’s Machine Wars and LynC’s Nil by Mouth. But in this post it’s my own launches that I’m going to write about.

April 2014 saw the publication of the first two books in my You Choose series — The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove and Mayhem at Magic School (there are more of them, now). Two launches were held to herald the arrival of these books. The first was organised by a bookstore. This is the one that my friends and family came along to. The second I organised myself to coincide with my author visit to Yarra Road Primary School. Since I was going to be at the school doing a series of writing workshops, the school offered to host a You Choose launch at their assembly. A launch in front of a massive audience — an entire school full of kids and teachers. Very cool!

At both events, fellow author Michael Pryor delivered the launch speech.

So, what actually happens at a launch? What does the guest speaker say? What does the author do? Well, I can show you. I have a vid of the launch at Yarra Road Primary School…

And, just in case you haven’t had enough, here are the launch vids for two of my three Gamers books. Carole Wilkinson launched Gamers’ Quest in 2009, but I neglected to video the event. 🙁 I made sure I was better prepared for the subsequent launches.

Michael Pryor (hmm… him again) launched Gamers’ Challenge in 2011…

And Meredith Costain launched Gamers’ Rebellion 2013…

Okay, so you’ve been overloaded with videos of my book launches. You can relax now… the next two launch-related blog posts will be about other people’s books. 🙂

Tune next time to read about the launch of Michael Pryor’s Machine Wars.

Catch ya later,  George

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Choose your own interactive adventure

YouChoose_cover01Interactive books! Remember reading them as a kid? Choose Your Own Adventure and Pick-a-Path are the two series I remember best. But there were lots of others, including Fighting Fantasy and Twistaplot. Although they’ve never completely gone out of vogue, they seem to be having a bit of a resurgence at the moment with series such as Lost in…, Choose Your Own Ever After and my own series, You Choose.

Interactive books (or game books, or branching path books) are often referred to as Choose Your Own Adventure books (or CYOA books). But Choose Your Own Adventure is actually the trade-marked name of the series which popularised this style of storytelling. Contrary to popular belief, these books did not invent the concept. It was predated by a series called The Adventures of You, and there are other earlier examples of individual stories playing around with this format.

The basic concept is that the story branches at various key points, where the reader gets to decide which path to follow. The other defining feature of this style of storytelling, is that they are written as second person narrative, placing the reader into the story.

I read the Choose Your Own Adventure series rather obsessively back in the 1980s. I loved the fact that decisions I made influenced the outcome of the story. As a kid, it gave me a sense of control and power that ordinary books did not provide. It was exciting! And I got to re-read the books… but with a different outcome each time. I got very good at marking pages with my fingers as I read — often reaching the end of a path with every available finger wedged between the pages — so that I could backtrack and rethink my decisions. A little awkward, but oh so much fun!

9781742977744Over the years, nothing has rivalled the popularly of the Choose Your Own Adventure series. But new books have continued to pop up every now and then, from interactive versions of RL Stine’s Goosebumps (Give Yourself Goosebumps), to those set in the Doctor Who universe (Doctor Who: Decide Your Destiny), from a history education series, to a couple of books written by John Marsden in the 1990s (Cool School and Creep Street).

Now, all of a sudden, there seems to be a resurgence of interest in the format. In the UK, Bloomsbury have released the first two books in a new series with a survival twist — Lost in… the Desert of Dread and Lost in… the Jungle of Doom. Meanwhile here in Australia, Hardie Grant have released a romance themed series called Choose Your Own Ever After.

And then there’s my new series — You Choose. 🙂

The first two books were released on 1 May — The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove and Mayhem at Magic School. The next two will be released on 1 July — Maze of Doom and The Haunting of Spook House.

YouChoose_cover02   YouChoose_book3   YouChoose_book4

My writing of this series has pretty much been an excuse for me to relive my childhood. And I cannot express just how much fun it has been plotting out all the different story paths for each of the books. I write each plot point onto a card, then stick it up onto a white board — lots of arrows and shifting around ensues, until things finally make sense. Here’s what the final plan of The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove looks like…

DeadMansCove_sm

The You Choose series is being marketed for middle to upper primary… but I reckon they’re fun for ‘kids’ of all ages. 😉 I’ve spoken to many parents who grew up reading the Choose Your Own Adventure books, and who are now excited about having a new interactive series to read to their kids. And that’s pretty cool!

Catch ya later,  George

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