Last night was the big night. It was time to see whether all the planning and preparation would result in a successful launch for Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform. In the run up to the event I found myself engaged in a number of tasks not traditionally associated with book launches: ironing tablecloths, baking (frankly mediocre) boobie fairy cakes and cutting out circles of fabric to top jars of chutney and jam. More WI than wafty literary-type stuff. (The cakes and jam were for the stall held at the event by BEARS, the breastfeeding peer supporters I volunteer for.) After that I finally sat down and finished my talk about the book. I certainly left it until the eleventh hour - I must work better under pressure.
The venue for the launch was the Strutt Centre in Belper, Derbyshire: it's an amazing place. A former school, it's been saved from being turned into flats and is now a community venue staffed entirely by volunteers. We had a large, airy room, with drinks and nibbles laid out along one side, and plenty of space for us to set up tables for BEARS and, most importantly, the books.
I'd found myself fretting about whether anyone would actually turn up: I needn't have worried. More than thirty guests soon arrived and things got underway: our lovely author Alison Blenkinsop was there to promote her own book, Fit to Bust; people got chatting to each other; a start was made on the food and drink, cakes and crafts were purchased. And we all cooed over the three nursing babies, without whom it wouldn't really have felt like a breastfeeding event. Then it was time for the talk. I'd been dreading it slightly, it having been some time since I had to stand up and address a room full of people, but I had practised in front of the mirror and I think I pulled it off, despite a tendency to say 'um' too much, and to laugh (or giggle nervously?) at my own jokes.
You can read what I had to say here.
After that I tried to get round to talk to people - it was great to have a wide range of people with a common interest in the room, and it was fascinating that so many people already knew each other in some capacity or another. I made some valuable new contacts and picked up a list of follow-up work that will keep me busy for the next few days, and I was immensely flattered by the number of people who asked me to sign their books. Like a real author! In the background my husband did a sterling job selling books, taking photographs and keeping people supplied with drinks.
All in all it went very well. Here's to the continued success of Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform! And watch this space, because some great future projects were discussed, including Twin Births: stories to inspire and inform, and Water Births: stories to inspire and inform. If you'd be interested in being involved with either of those, contact us.