On Friday 19th November, I launched Million Eyes II: The Unraveller at Chandlers cafe and cocktail bar in Clanfield, Hampshire, very near mine and Katherine’s new house. It was a wonderful success and another of the best nights of my life.
This second launch almost didn’t happen. Originally scheduled to take place at Waterstones like the first launch, the venue was changed with about a month to go because Waterstones decided not to lift their Covid restrictions. My publishers, Elsewhen Press, said that a lot of venues could have the same attitude and that I might want to consider postponing the launch till the new year. I’m so glad I didn’t. I knew that there were people hankering after a copy of Million Eyes II and weren’t going to wait, and I suspected that launching a new book months after it has already come out might make for a slightly muted celebration.
The turnout was fantastic. Even though I changed the venue and, well, Covid, loads of friends and family came and I met some new people too. Sure, there were a few cancellations from people I would’ve loved to have been there, but there were also some very important friends and family who couldn’t make the first launch but came to this one.
It felt like Covid wasn’t a thing on Friday night. That was the first time I’ve socialised with that many of my friends and family all at once since my last book launch, a couple of weeks before the first UK lockdown. And even though the world has changed (a lot), it felt like normal. Even though Covid cases are high right now, and friends and family I know have had it recently, the situation’s not nearly as serious as it was thanks to the vaccination programme. That showed in how many people turned up, maskless and hugging and mingling like everything was back to normal. The vast majority of the people I know are double-vaccinated and some, like my dad, are triple-vaccinated. He was saying just yesterday that he doesn’t feel very vulnerable anymore.
At the launch, I did a 15-minute talk, starting by thanking all the people who’ve supported me. Although Elsewhen Press sadly couldn’t be there, they were there in spirit and I thanked them for continuing to believe in me by publishing another of my books. I said happy birthday to my dad, who was 65 the same day and whose thunder I totally stole! (Oops. But he had a great time too, so it’s okay.) I talked about Million Eyes and Million Eyes II and the free-to-download short story collection Million Eyes: Extra Time. I talked about conspiracy theories and the problems associated with taking them too seriously, and how Million Eyes is meant to be the antithesis of that: it’s a series that makes conspiracy theories into a bit of harmless fun. And I read an action scene from Million Eyes II, in which a character called Keiko has a dangerous encounter while transporting some bones from a highly unusual archaeological discovery.
I brought along copies of Million Eyes II and some of Million Eyes I. As it’s nearly Christmas, I also brought along copies of my self-published, illustrated, children’s book series, The East Pudding Chronicles (see my publications page for details) which are about the alternative origins of Christmas traditions. How Santa came to be, why we kiss under mistletoe, why we put up Christmas trees – that sort of thing. (If you have kids who like Roald Dahl or Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, they’ll like these.)
At the first launch, I sold 52 copies of the first Million Eyes. At the second launch, I sold 31 copies of Million Eyes II, 10 copies of Million Eyes I, and 8 sets of all five books in The East Pudding Chronicles. So in total I sold 81 books. Basically, I’m over the ruddy moon.
Thank you everyone who came, thank you Steph, Chandlers’ lovely owner, for hosting, and thank you Elsewhen Press for helping fund the night and, again, for publishing Million Eyes II.
I still have some copies of Million Eyes II, so if you’d like a signed one, let me know and I can get one posted out to you. You can otherwise get a copy of the ebook or the paperback here.
Time to get back to Million Eyes III: Ouroboros!