A Guest Post by Katarina West, PhD

How to Organise a Book Launch Without Losing Your Family, Waistline and Sanity –

A Diary of Joy, Madness and Chaos


Friday 11 September 2015

Start the engine, get the machine into motion! Today I start to prepare my December book launch! First, I contact all the reviewers and bloggers who worked with me on my debut novel Witchcraft Couture. I ask them if they’d like to review my next novel, Absolute Truth, For Beginners, a love story between two women, set in the world of science. I feel the flush of butterflies in my stomach every time I click send.

I also contact some blogs I’d like to cooperate with, and leave an online assignment request. After that I sit in my study, staring at my computer. I feel it in my bones that a countdown timer has started to tick, even if there are still three months left.

12 Saturday September 2015

I’m seated in a train to Naples, together with my husband and son. Still, every now and then I must peek at my emails.

And I can’t believe this. I just can’t. It’s beyond unbelievable. My email inbox is bursting with messages from old and new bloggers. My wonderful, wonderful old reviewers are so excited about my new book that it is almost humbling. Some want to organise other book assignments so that my launch takes priority. They say they must read my new book, because after Witchcraft Couture they’d read whatever I write next.

I look out of the train window, blithely happy, feeling like the luckiest person in the world.

14 Saturday September 2015

No, this really is incredible. My book launch has turned into a force of its own. Like an avalanche, or a tidal wave. The numbers of reviewers and bloggers keep growing… Twenty… Thirty… Oh my god… Forty… Fifty. Fifty! I take down names and URL addresses, but what with my limited secretarial skills, my head feels dizzy. Already.

Monday 28 September 2015

I have sixty-four bloggers in my book launch. Sixty-four people wanting to review my book, or interview me, or having my guest post. Now how amazing is that? No… it’s almost scary. How will I handle all this?

Friday 2 October 2015

I send the ARC of Absolute Truth, For Beginners to all those bloggers who want to review it. Another milestone. I’m sending my baby out into the Big World. Hurrah!

Monday 5 October 2015

Two reviewers say that they can’t read the PDF, and could they have a MOBI instead? Another four want to know when the print copy will be ready. I write everything down.

But when I look at my notes, they’re just a merry chaos of interview requests, print copy orders, question marks and dates. I feel so nervous that I eat a little bit of chocolate.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

OK, Katarina, OK, don’t panic. You can handle this. I print out the book launch list, and make as many handwritten notes as I can. In the end the list looks even more incomprehensible than before. I give up, and escape into the world of writing. Again, I eat chocolate.

Monday 12 October 2015

My December book launch now includes 17 interviews, 9 guest blogs, 21 reviews, 5 spotlights. But I still haven’t sorted out who is doing what, and when. The book launch looms on the horizon of my mind, like a dark storm cloud.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

A dear reviewer friend emails me asking when I’m going to send the media kit and the book launch banner. And BTW, am I going to hyperlink my book launch bloggers?

At that, I literally stop breathing. BOOK LAUNCH BANNER? MEDIA KIT? I thought that only five star hotels send out media kits! Well, never mind. Because from now on I’m going to send out one as well. Now more panicky than ever before, I call my graphic designer and tell her that we need to have a banner. Then I eat chocolate.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

I send my first newsletter to all my reviewers and bloggers, talking smoothly about dates, and media kits, and book launch banners, just as if I had known all along what they were all about. Afterwards I sit in my study, organising my book launch list into sections and categories.

I can do this! I really can!

Chocolate is calling me, but I bravely ignore it.

Thursday 22 October 2015

My book launch list is ready. I’ve got Reviews Only in yellow, and Interviews in green, and Spotlights in blue, and Guest Posts in Orange. I feel like Carl Linnaeus, classifying plants.

And for the first time I actually understand what must be done and when.

Friday 23 October 2015

There are some technical problems with the print version of Absolute Truth, For Beginners, and the cover designer hasn’t received the print templates. Emails, emails, emails. I wish I could be writing my third novel. Chocolate is calling me.

Monday 26 October 2015

Word count with my new novel: 3,900. I know I should start writing the guest blogs. But this novel is coming along so well!

Wednesday 28 October 2015

The Witchcraft Couture ad in the last pages of Absolute Truth, For Beginners doesn’t work well in the eBook version. And eBook formatting has changed some line spaces. Checking, checking, checking. And eating chocolate.

I wish I was writing my new novel instead.

Friday 30 October 2015

Word count with my new novel: 2,200. Another eBook version of Absolute Truth arrives for a check. Still problems.

I eat chocolate.

Saturday 31 October 2015

It’s All Saints in Italy. My husband and I drive to the mountains to place flowers on his parents’ grave. But before leaving I receive a message from a reviewer. She can’t stop reading Absolute Truth, she writes, and she is just so happy to be a part of this launch.

All my stress fades away. This is what it’s all about, I remind myself. This is it.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Deleted some 9,000 words out of my new novel. And I really must start writing those guest blogs.

Late in the evening, I eat chocolate.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Today I wrote four guest blogs. I’m so full of adrenalin that I hardly sleep at all. I lie in bed, eyes wide open, wondering if I should go into my study and write another four.

Monday 9 November 2015

One of my greatest reviewers emails me, asking cautiously if I took artistic liberties when I wrote that one of my protagonists worked for British Rail in 1998, when in fact British Rail had already been privatized.

Total panic. I contact the publishing company and my mentor, declaring that there is a factual error in the manuscript. I spend the morning studying the history of British Rail, my heart heavy with horror. How come I didn’t know about this? Why didn’t anyone… tell me?

It’s like believing that the Earth was flat, when it was round all along.

I eat chocolate.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

The Pope is visiting Florence, and my son’s Catholic school attends a mass in the football stadium. I arrive there stressed, tired, hair disheveled. Some boys are mischievous during the mass, and my son is one of them. At the end of the ceremony he shows his new video camera to his friends. It falls down on to the cement floor, and stops working.

On our way back home I go berserk. I rant and rave. My son stares at me, stunned and a bit alarmed. Never, ever have I been this mad. Even I am astonished. Because I know this isn’t just about the video camera or bad behaviour. This is about stress and tiredness – and the fact that British Rail was privatized in the 1990s.

After the motorway exit I park my car and go to sit on the backseat with my son. I hug him really tight.

31 November 2015

On Monday I send out all the guest blogs and interview answers. Then I sit in front of my computer, thinking about the month just ending. I did it, I think. I have organised this book launch.

True, it took a considerable amount of chocolate and dark Italian espresso coffee to see it through. But still.

6 December 2015

On Sunday the first review comes out, from the lovely Rocksprings Craft blog. Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve caught a cold and am going through my second set of antibiotics, I feel a whoosh of energy going through my body when I read the first words. The launch campaign has started!

After that, life becomes a magnificent chaos of tweets, toasts, interviews, spotlights, guest blogs, and Facebook posts. Each of them is so clever – and encouraging – that I feel touched and honoured at the same time.

Yet my word count with the new novel has sunk down to almost zero. The workaholic in me is crying silently, but for the most part I manage to ignore it.

15 December 2015

OMG, the waiting is finally over! Today Absolute Truth, For Beginners will be published!

As it happens, it’s my husband’s birthday as well, and so we go and pick up our son at school early. Then we go to Rivoire, a posh café on piazza della Signoria, where all the good families of Florence go to have a cup of hot chocolate in the winter.

I order a big cup of chocolate with whipped cream. And a big slice of tiramisu. We raise our devilishly delicious hot chocolates, and make a toast. For birthdays and publication days and life in general.

That’s when I start to relax. My mission is accomplished; my second novel, published. And I’m celebrating it all with my dear boys.

That’s not bad. That’s not bad at all.

Plus, who could have known… that it takes this much chocolate to organise a book launch?




Elisa Mancini is a Nobody. Painfully insecure, more at ease with books than with people, at twenty-three she’s a university dropout living at her aunt’s, drifting from one day to another, and waiting for something big
to happen.

Judith Shapiro is a Somebody. Arrogant and eccentric, she’s a superstar of mathematics, the subject of scientific articles, and the undisputed ruler of the world around her.

In a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, Elisa falls madly in love with Judith Shapiro. For sixty-eight days she is the mistress of an internationally acclaimed mathematician.

But loving Judith Shapiro is like running a marathon in a war zone. As days pass, Elisa’s wild infatuation takes on a suicidal bent, and the world around her starts to go to pieces. Just as everything is about to blow up, the moment of truth comes.

Absolute Truth, For Beginners is a story about truth, time and love. Or about identity, positive nursing, degrees of happiness, Baroque art, scientific theories, homosexual lovemaking, arrogant television producers, and becoming who you really are.

About the Author:

Katarina West is the author of Witchcraft Couture, her debut novel. She was born in Helsinki, Finland, into a bilingual family that in addition to humans consisted of dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, canaries, rabbits and – thanks to her biology teacher mother – stuffed owls and squirrels.


She spent time travelling in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and went on to study at Queen Mary and Westfield College in London and the European University Institute in Florence, where she completed a PhD in political science and published a book based on it, Agents of Altruism. During those student years she started work as a journalist, and continued writing for various Finnish magazines and newspapers for over ten years, writing on various topics from current events and humanitarian issues to celebrity interviews and short stories. She also briefly worked as a university lecturer on humanitarian issues in Northern Italy.

Katarina lives in an old farmhouse in Chianti with her husband and son and when not writing, she is fully immersed in Tuscan country life, from jam-making and olive-picking to tractor maintenance.


You can find Katarina online at the links below:

Website  http://katarinawest.com

Blog  http://www.katarinawest.com/things_I_know_about_life

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/katarinawestwrites

Twitter @WestKatarina

Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1201091.Katarina_West

Amazon.com Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Katarina-West/e/B001KHHKNW

Amazon.co.uk Author Page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Katarina-West/e/B001KHHKNW

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/westkatarina/

Amazon.com Page http://www.amazon.com/Absolute-Truth-Beginners-Katarina-Westebook/dp/B0188FO1X0/

Amazon.co.uk Page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Absolute-Truth-Beginners-Katarina-Westebook/dp/B0188FO1X0/

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