Friday, November 2, 2012

Birthdays & Book Launches

The dust has settled and life has regained it's facade of normalcy here in London.

Which includes sightings of last night's sickness at neighborhood bus stops.
Kenz and I went out last weekend in order to do a touch of Christmas, birthday, and Halloween shopping. We strolled around Brick Lane market, Spitalfields, and Covent Garden along with about one million other people.

This is a mashup of Shepard Fairey's Andre the Giant and The Misfits logo...Shepard just opened an 'Obey' store near Brick Lane, furthering the idea that he has 'sold out'.

The day went according to assumption: Lots of hipsters in east London and lots of tourists in central London...

Kenz wound up finding a mask for her Halloween party.

Tuesday was her 29th (!) birthday. I made her pancakes in the morning.

I also gave her a children's book, which was much more exciting in theory than in practicality. You can see the trailer for the book here. When I saw the book, I thought: it's got animals (Kenz loves animals), it's a book (Kenz loves books), and it's funny (Kenz loves funny). In my mind it was the perfect mixture for a great birthday gift. 

She didn't quite respond to it the way I had thought she would....

It's a good thing I had some nice jewelry up my sleeve for later that evening. She came home from school to find another gift - a necklace. I'm pretty slick with the fake-out gifts. 


Many of you know that I had been hired to edit a book about four months ago. The book is a memoir (a hybrid between the 'morbid memoir' and a 'tragicomedy memoir') commissioned by a well-known counsellor with a Harley Street practice in London named Mark Dempster

As it turns out, the ghostwriter and I have been commissioned to handle the first two months' worth of sales & marketing as well. Last night was the book launch event, which Matthew (the ghostwriter) and I were in charge of. It was the first time in a long time that I'd been a part of such a big event, organizing, planning, and executing what many would call a 'production'. 

I had to look 'smart'.
We had spent about a month prepping Mark for the event, coaching him on interviews, securing the right person to interview him for the evening, booking catering, a theatre, securing early shipping for the books to be sold at the venue, and writing all of the Q&A's for the evening. It brought back memories of both theatre productions and evening programs at Camp Pinnacle.

Prepping the theatre

Mark's hand got sore from signing copies
My friend, Joey Hall, of Deadman Productions, designed the book cover. Of course, you can't judge a book based on the cover - but it's a damn good cover if you ask me. Each image on the cover symbolizes a story from the book.

I'm saying 'we' in all of this, but Matthew was really the brain trust for the entire evening.

He's a published author and used to have a niche publishing business that also organized and produced academic conferences. He did most of the organizing, booking, and PR for the event. I took most of my direction from him. My responsibilities were (and continue to be) geared toward the Q&A, language in our press releases, copywriting for the book, etc. Essentially - he's admin/organization and I'm creative/copy. It works well for both of us; each of us could do the other's job but we're both self-aware enough to know the other is much faster/more experienced/better in their respective fields. It's a great working partnership - neither of us plays the 'one-up' game or has too much pride when it comes to getting the work done. We care more about the work getting done than we do who does what work.

Matthew running through the plans in his head

Not happy to be pictured

The empty theatre

Rehearsal - Tosca Jackson, left, Mark Dempster, right

I didn't get any photos of the reception before or after the event. We had a separate room in the theatre for cakes, teas, coffee, fruit, and such. All told, there were about 140 people in attendance. For a book launch of a non-celebrity, that's pretty freaking good.

Of course, there was a professional photographer at the event, but I don't have those pictures yet - the event was only last night. When those pictures become available, I may pop a few up on the blog. Hopefully I'll get them by next Friday.
Mark had the crowd's attention all evening - he's a damn good storyteller (and he has some crazy stories!)

Despite being a published author, Matthew has returned to school to continue his education in creative writing. One of his professors asks authors to come in and lecture a class, answer questions, talk about the process of writing books or short stories, etc. We had been asked to come in and talk about this book. So, early on the book launch day, Matthew and I presented for an hour and a half on Nothing to Declare: Confessions of an Unsuccessful Drug Smuggler, Dealer, and Addict. He talked about how he secured the commission, what the challenges of being a ghostwriter are, how that process works, and I talked about editing the book, grammatical conventions, retaining the author's 'voice' while still being an advocate for the 'reader', turning a series of anecdotes into a cohesive story, building in themes, characterization, humor, etc.

We had assumed the presentation would be about an hour, but the class was engaged with so many questions that it wound up being an extra thirty minutes. His entire class came to the book launch last night as well.

Matthew's classmates

I won't bore you with all the ins and outs of what it has been like to edit this book; if you have any questions about the editing process, feel free to email me. I think most people come here for the pictures anyway.

If you're interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so on Amazon. For the moment, it appears that has all of the reviews as well as the option to order paperback and Kindle versions. I'll try and figure out why only has Kindle and no reviews. If you have a problem ordering a paperback copy of the book from the US version of Amazon, feel free to email me and I can work out a different way to order the book.


It's a short update this week, but I guess that makes up for the extra-long one from last week. 

Happy Friday - have a great weekend! Thanks for reading.