UK launch copies sell out
Today I thought I would follow the MaltaComicCon Blogs, which showcased my world launch of the Worlds End graphic novel with the UK launch a few days later.
No sooner had my feet touched the ground at Manchester airport than my good friend Derek was whisking me back home in his car. It was all exciting news to report as I regaled him with a shortened version of the previous four Blogs – thank heavens I hear some of you cry. Well it is only about a forty-minute drive, or so – so I had to keep it confined to that amount of time.
Once home I took my travel stuff out of the boot of Derek’s car and was greeted by my wife, Margaret, who was pleased as punch to learn that all had gone so well in Malta with the books. One cup of tea and a chat later and Derek left for home whilst I sat with Margaret making some final plans for the morning’s exploits in preparation for the planned UK launch at the new state-of-the-art academy, a few miles away from where we live.
The next day saw me speaking to the guys at the venue, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, checking that the refreshments were ordered, that the video was up and running and posters in place. Everything was a-okay and going exactly to plan – I had nothing to worry about, although I still did a little. I knew they would be, but have always worked on the assumption if you try to pre-empt things that could go wrong, you have a chance of avoiding them in the first place.
I made lots of phone calls ensuring everything was going to be as perfect as the launch in Malta had been the previous weekend.
I checked out the advance copies of the books and got all my things in order for the launch. Then it was just a matter of waiting for the next day and hoping that folks would turn up as they had at the convention.
The rest of that day is a blur as I made myself busy with all manner of things – organising myself for the post launch period when the rest of the books, already late in arriving were due to find their way to the Keep.
Friday arrived and I went over things once again, checking I had everything in place. Things were once again manic. Around mid-day I picked up Jon Haward from the train station. I was running a little late, but was managing to fit everything in. I took Jon to the local Premier Inn and he booked in. The advert on TV says that everything is premier, except the price – they should be done for false marketing.
Next I needed to set up at the venue, so I made my way along there. Then after going along to the venue and setting up the signing area with books and everything else that was needed, erecting the banners and posters, checking out the video on the huge screen and the refreshments area it was back home to get ready myself.
Moments after I arrived back at the house there was a knock at the door. So with the shower running I answered the door – everyone else was out. It was Worlds End editor, James Hill and his partner Denise. I left them the sky remote and continued to get ready. Shortly after this I could hear James letting in my Mum and Dad and then Margaret arrived back too.
No sooner was I ready than the minibus arrived to take my Mum and Dad, my neighbour Graham, his son, Jack, James, Denise and I to the venue, picking up Jon on the way. My wife Margaret was going along separately with my daughter, Joanne, her husband Toby and my son, Simon.
We arrived around 5:45 p.m. and everyone looked around the amazing atrium, especially the huge Pegasus sculpture made out of horseshoes – it has to be seen to be believed. It really is a great building. They looked at the books for the first time and I was so pleased with the reactions.
Local businessman, Mike Murray was there early due to a prior engagement with his daughter. He bought the first copy of the book of the evening, before many had arrived. He had been in touch since the inception of Wizards Keep and was indeed partly responsible for a small start up grant new businesses were entitled to back then. He was impressed and he admitted he was proud of my efforts in getting the book to print and the success of the launch in Malta, which pleased me no end.s
With about five to ten minutes left before the opening there were about six people there, other then the above members of my family and a few close friends. In the background the video played in a loop and seemed to impress folks, as there was always quite a crowd around it. My daughter Joanne sat beside me taking the payments and my neighbour’s son acted as my assistant handing me the accompanying limited edition prints, which I gave away with the initial books. It was amazing to see so many people there and I was glad I had dressed for the occasion in a suit.
Comic Legend John Ridgway arrived with his wife, Rita. My neighbour and good friend Chris arrived with his wife, Susan with all his camera equipment – he was the event photographer for the evening. Worlds End production designer, Rob and his partner, Carol arrived and came over to congratulate me – Rob was eager to check out the finished book.
Local art store owners, John and Ann arrived next and then it was like someone had opened the flood gates as the atrium seemed to fill up almost immediately and it is a very big area to fill. By the time it was 6:30 p.m. on the dot the place was heaving – I couldn’t believe it. The launch was scheduled from six thirty until nine p.m. and it was none stop throughout. I managed one trip to the refreshment area, really to say thanks and to speak to a few folks and the rest of the time saw me at the tables signing and discussing the books with the people there.
During the evening I was joined by my best friend, Paul and his partner, Cyn as well as more members of my family. There were far more people there though over the night that I didn’t know, which was great – the interest from the local Radio and Internet coverage along with the reportage given by the library and venue itself through the video-link set up had worked a treat.
Chris Trickett, responsible for the Worlds End Video Trailer and Website was also there with his wife, Megan and he was getting lots of praise on the standard of his trailer from lots of folks.
On the night several hundred people turned up to the event, which was far better than I ever expected and I ran out of books too – I could have done with lots more. The self-proclaimed number one fan of Worlds End graced me with his presence too; young Joshua Waite – looking very smart for the occasion. He turned up in person along with his Grandma, as he said he would do via email, to pick up his own copy of the book. It was such a nice thing to experience for me and made all my promotion of the book as an all-ages saga worth while as not just adults, men and women alike, bought the books, so too did children; both boys and girls.
I was so pleased for my parents, Grace and Harry finally seeing their son realise his dream of creating books for a company of his making. I could tell they were really proud. Things had come a long way from the days as a child when I drew on anything I could get hold of and when I wrote stories in the same manner – all of which they kept, unbeknownst to me until a couple of years ago when they had their attic converted. They are in the first of the photos.
I was also so happy for my wife, Margaret and children Joanne and Simon that they could finally see the fruits of not just my labours, but the fruit of their support. They had lived with the roller coaster ride that has been my career in comics down the years and nowadays my new ventures with Wizards Keep. With Worlds End finally existing it suddenly all made sense to folks now, as the graphic novel had become a reality.
It was like being in Malta when I first opened the books over there and I re-quoted, from my favourite quotation in James Joyce’s book The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, once more that – “I had flown by those nets.”
The reaction from my peers in the comic book business on the night must have helped my family to realise how much their sacrifices and support had helped to make this happen, at least I hope so.
For most of the evening I had spent time speaking to lots of folks, apologising mostly towards the end of the night for the lack of books which were still due to arrive from Bosnia – sadly something that was not going to happen until the middle of January, although at the time I didn’t know that.
Around eight thirty it was time to pack up for the evening and make our way over to the nearby Italian restaurant, Mangiamo’s. almost forty of us were going to end the launch in party fashion with a meal at the best Italian around these parts.
No one was disappointed as the meal as always was gorgeous and it was amazing to see how quickly all the guests were served. It’s always a fun atmosphere there and it really did add the icing to an already wonderful cake.
I had Spicy Chicken Livers to start, Spaghetti Bolognese and Meatballs for my main course and a wonderful sweet, whose name escapes me at the moment. It was gorgeous and if you are ever in the area drop by this place – you will love its great food and atmosphere.
A lot of the folks there had never met directly but all thought they knew each other, because of the amount of times over the years that I had mentioned each to the other. John Ridgway was sat with Rita across from my Mum and Dad during the meal and had never met before that night; although they had heard such a lot about each other from me already it was like they had.
It never ceases to amaze me that events such as these remind me so much of other similar events in one’s life such as marriages and births and Christmas, which are a long while in the making and preparations, but go by so quickly.
It had been a little over a week, since I had flown out to Malta, but it had all gone by so fast and now the UK launch too had been and gone. But what a way to do so, as both saw me sell out of the graphic novels, something I had hoped for but wasn’t sure could happen.
With Christmas and my first Grandchild on the way the future was looking great for us here at the Keep. The New Year would see me working on the second volume and I was truly looking forward to it, especially with all the support from the fans the new work was gaining.
Below are some photos of the event towards the end of the evening, as we were almost sold out of books.
I would just like to take time before I leave you to wish everyone that turned up for either event, or that has offered their support and custom and then perhaps even taken the time to write, or call me to let me know what you think of the book my heartfelt gratitude.
Without you guys I couldn’t continue to create these books.
I look forward to sharing Worlds End – Volume 2 – A Hard Reign’s Gonna Fall with you all very soon.
Until next time, have fun!April 26th 2012