book launch, John Campbell, media, writing

Ten Tips for Surviving Your Book Launch

His name is Campbell. Not Cameron. I knew that. I really did.

During the madness of launching my first book, I did five radio interviews, one gut wrenching press conference, six TV interviews, and gave newspaper interviews to buckets of different journalists and their papers. (And for someone who is a social recluse I think its a minor miracle I am still in full possesion of my sanity…or not!?) But I thought I would take a moment to share with you some nuggets of wisdom which I have accumulated as my very first book was thrust upon an unsuspecting public. Some DO’s and DON’Ts…

1. DON’T wear a wrap knit top to a tv interview. ( Even though those are the kind of tops that Queen Latifah wears and she always looks hot…big, bold and beautiful…and so you copy her because you know you cant fit in the beautiful bony Angelina Jolie category.) If you choose to wear such a top, you may end up being interviewed by John Campbell from TV3 NZ at a restaurant by the ocean on a particularly windy day. And the blasted wrap knit top will keep catching in the wind and gaping open, thus revealing your lack of bodacious Queen Latifah assets. Very difficult to focus on giving intelligent answers to Campbell Live questions when one is worried about one’s top blowing open in the breeze.

2. DO make sure before your interview that the book you have written has the correct spelling of the name of any tv interviewers in it. Otherwise, John Campbell will buy you lunch and have a lovely chat with you before he goes home, reads book and finds out that you have spelt his name…John CAMERON. DUH. And you will go home and cringe in shame and hope desperately that he doesn’t decide to pay you back by ripping you to shreds on air. (or zeroing in on your blasted blowy wrap knit top)

3. DO make sure you have a mother like mine. Who prepares platters of delectable appetizers, cream puffs, and walnut frosted cakes for your very first press conference. Reporters MUCH less likely to be mean to you when their mouths are full of cream puffs. And if nothing else, when conference is over and you feel crap about it – you can drown your angst in cupcakes and cheese scones and all will be right in the universe.

4. DON’T go to a press conference alone. Go with an assertive, confident friend. Ensure this friend is on a first name basis with all tv crew, comfortably chats with any and all reporters, sets up venue beforehand, stays to help clean up afterward, preps you for tricky questions, and gives you pointers for the next time.

5. DON’T speak with too much animation. Try your hardest to be boring and slow. Because otherwise you will look like a crack addict on hyperdrive when your interview screens. Why didn’t someone TELL me that I talk a hundred words a minute and that I keep throwing my head and hands around like Ive got a serious attention deficit disorder?

6. DO remember that you don’t have to do everything that reporters ask you. You don’t have to answer their stupid questions in Samoan – just because they are out to capitalize on your nervousness and make you look like an idiot. When they tell you to answer in Samoan and you don’t want to, say no.( And then use really big words they will need a dictionary and a Eng Lit degree to understand.) When they ask HOW OLD ARE YOU?! you don’t have to tell them – just because they are trying to rub in the ‘fact’ that maybe you were waaaaay too young and inexperienced to do this book. When they ask – tell them its none of their business and do they want to tell the world how old THEY are?

7.DON’T stand next to your 8 yr old supermodel daughter when its time to take photographs. Because she will outpose you every time. And then give you tips afterward…’Mum, you really shouldn’t smile like THAT…and you should stand like this…and put your shoulders like this..and blah blah blah. (Next time I will just send her to face the media alone. She’s poise perfect and totally doesn’t get it from me. Must be the music videos. Or Hannah Montana?)

8.DON’T get your hair done in some fantastically fabulous style on the day of an interview. Because you will come home from the hairdresser and your kids will stare at you horror-struck and say, “Mum what have you done?! You look weird. What’s that on your head?” And you will have to take all the pins out and brush out the transcendental style and just put it all in a ponytail. Like you usually do. Only without paying phenomenal amount to do so.

9.Do make sure that you go to a book launch with a super attentive husband who will notice when you stand up to say hello to someone, that your silky skirt has slipped halfway down your butt and you are flashing 300 plus people with a free show of your backside. He will then leap to stand behind you and warn you frantically of your mishap before too many people notice, thus ensuring you dont make headlines for all the wrong reasons.

10. And finally, don’t worry if you break all the rules because by tomorrow you will be yesterdays news and nobody will give a stuff about what you said, what you looked like or what you did. Thank goodness. ( They will probably still remember your mum’s exceptional baking though. Very difficult to forget heavenly delights like homemade rum balls, coconut clusters and caramel slice.)

6 thoughts on “Ten Tips for Surviving Your Book Launch”

  1. These are some fantastic tips. Some of the things you've done and experienced are amazing. No doubt you will do the same with Telesa. The excerpt is very cool. You seem to have taken the 'don't' in your stride. I can imagine I would be forever cringing at all the little things I did wrong Good on you Lani!

  2. Hahaha! I will definitely bookmark this page, so that someday when I find myself ready to launch a book, I won't make the same mistakes. Either that, or I'll just be laughing so hard whenever I think of your post, I won't be able to stop.

  3. LOL @ Campbell!! You did not!! Then I saw your grovelling Tweet to him…hahahahahaha … too funny. At least you had the guts to message/Tweet John Cambridge again :)So ummm, where can I get my hands on some rum balls and caramel slice?

  4. Yes the cream puffs, rum balls and caramel slice totally threw me off the rest of this post. Your mother is like THE Samoan version of Martha Stewart. And as for Campbell, I'm sure he was too engrossed in the book to notice the mistake. Love these tips…will keep them in mind when I launch my first book. In the year 3000. Coconut Girl

  5. Lan and Peggy – I am sure that neither of you will need my silly tips because you both have far too much finesse (and commonsense) to make my DUH mistakes.Bina and Coconut Girl, shame on you both for being distracted by the rum balls and caramel slice. This always happens to me – i keep getting upstaged by my Martha Stewart Mother in everything i do! She was so cool that day. She even gave me fancy elei printed tableclothes and napkins for tables and crystal punch bowl and frangipani, telling me to "artfully strew these around the table, rememebr that the eye eats first.." Those journalists didnt know what hit them. It was like morning tea at Buckingham Palace.

  6. Oh and can i please just announce to anyone who cares and who is still reading this far along down the comments page: the wonderful Mr John Campbell is NOT annoyed with me for my mistake. Neither does he hate me for kind of doggin on him in my blog ( refer to THAT post on "John Campbell and some Bloodthirsty Mosquitoes") I apologized to him via Twitter and he replied and was very nice. (whew) And for everyones information, I highly recommend that you watch Campbell Live on TV3. Everyday. All the time. Super wonderful stuff.The End.

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