27th April 2012

Diary of a launch day

Yesterday, was the launch of ‘Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan’, published by Piccadilly Press and aimed at 6-9 year olds.  It felt like a triumph for me, my first mid-grade novel, and hopefully the first of a series.  Thought I’d write about the day – the highs and the lows and the middly bits… so here it is… as recorded ‘yesterday’!

9.30am: So much Twitter love out there that am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed – people are unbelievably supportive.  Facebook messages, texts from friends too!  Even if I make a complete hash of this, I know folk are willing me on – may have a little cry in a mo!

10am: Feeling a bit butterfly-y and have the need to write.  Have just realised that writing is one of my coping strategies – hadn’t really realised that before.  Have painted nails a kind of hematite colour – sort of metallic black.  Anyone would think I was launching a ‘goth horror’ not a cute book about magic and animals!  Listening to Linkin Park – it’s my ‘go get ’em’ music.  If I ever feel I need to summon up some extra zeal, or remind myself who I am, somehow, they do the trick!

10.30: Lips feel scratchy itchy – nerves I think. Good job dort has big tub of E45. Have whacked some of that on.  Have had a few tears.  Think I need to walk the hound!

11am: Lovely walk with hound in rain / hail. Was going to curl hair to soften my ‘dark angel’ look, but rain seems to have done it for me.  Not sure Gok Wan would be impressed with my lazy attitude towards me barnet, but then he’s not been invited… Mwahahahahaha!  Time for a warm up cuppa and one of those chocolate cornflake thingies.  Really should look at speech index card thingy, but every time I think about it I feel sick.  Dislike public speaking intently. I’m a teacher for God’s sake!!! I should be okay with this! ARGGGHHHHH! Get so cross with myself! Think I need some more Linkin Park!

12pm: Okay, thought I owed it to Gok to get curlers out – now look like a cross between Katie Melua and a poodle. Not sure it’s a good look.

12.50pm: Lunch had. Glad rags on. Time to be going… Argghhhhhhh!  Please dear God let there be people – am not fussy about what sort, just some would be good!

5pm: Home, shattered, happy, bit of a headache.  Kids were fantastic. Sold loads of books.  Need to unpack boxes and eat!

8pm:Well, what a blinking fab day! Now bathed and relaxed.  Headache gone.  Loved the

Me and Flopsy Bunny

day.  Had fifty kids from years 3 and 4 from the local school – Holmgate School – along with a few teachers and parents..  Read to them, did a powerpoint with bits about me, the books etc.  Took along a real-life ‘Flopsy Bunny’ and ‘Buttercup Coat’ (written into the book) and at the end the children did a ‘design your own Buttercup coat’ activity and lined up for books to be signed.  They also decided that it would be nice if I signed all their Buttercup coat designs – that’s a lot of signatures… but I love that bit!

Funny things – there are always funny things that make these days extra special.  At one point, I was reading a bit from the book where it starts to rain, and one of the library ladies shredded something.  One of the teachers yelled out “And look, you can even hear the rain” – very amusing.  Another highlight was that a little girl asked me if she could touch my hair… yes, MY hair… my Katie Melua / poodle hair… well, of course, I said YES!  And she did! Gok would’ve been proud!

Me reading to the kiddies

Of course, reading the book for the first time was wonderful , and selling so many was wonderful too.  Also, quite a few of the children had one of the ‘Ruby and Grub’ books and remembered me from a previous school visit, which is always a lovely thing!

So, now I am home… happy, relieved that I didn’t make a complete twonk of myself, relieved that people came, relieved that they all went away happy!  Hope you like the pics – these are just some from the day.  An especially big THANK YOU to Emma Pass, who works at the library, helped with local promotion, helped out on the day and did a lovely Buttercup Magic wall display.  Thanks also to Clay Cross Library for hosting the event, to

A few of the 50 school children

Julie Potten for arranging it, and to Holmgate School for taking part.  Thanks also to all my wonderful Twitter friends – you sent me off this morning in style and were all there for me to come home to!  You helped make my day truly special!  Thanks also to Vivienne Dacosta who has written a wonderful review of Buttercup Magic here and to Jayne Howarth, who has written another lovely review which appeared in the Birmingham Post this week.  Now, I think it’s time for a wee drinky!

About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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17 Responses to 27th April 2012

  1. jomcarroll says:

    Well done, Abi – glad it went so well. Just what you deserved, after all your hard work. You can relax now?

    • Thank you Jo. It was lovely. Relax… a little bit, but I have four events at the Derbyshire Lit Festival in two weeks so now have to plan for those… after that I will REST!!! 🙂

  2. Emma Pass says:

    Thank YOU, Abi, for being such a fantastic guest author! You were absolutely brilliant, and it was a real honour to host the launch at Clay Cross, and to help out. So glad you went away happy. 🙂 xx

  3. Jenny Alexander says:

    What a lovely launch! I’m so glad it went well 🙂

  4. Thanks Emma and Jenny. It was lovely – really enjoyed the day. 🙂

  5. Martin Day says:

    Sorry to have missed wishing you all the best, Abi, but it sounds like you didn’t need it. Thanks for the every human insight into you pre-match-tension. Sounds like you had a great day and, just as importantly all those kids di too.
    And my, my – you really are a proper author, aren’t you!? You never know; one day you might be the subject of an ‘Arena’ documentary ;o)

  6. Ha ha! Thanks Martin… I may have to spend a bit more time on my tresses if I’m gearing up for telly! 😉

  7. Ann Wright says:

    So glad it all went well, and you sound like you enjoyed it (underneath the nerves!) And thanks for sharing the day with those of us who couldn’t get there.

  8. Thanks Ann! I did enjoy it. I think the approach to it is the worst bit, wondering if anyone’s going to come! Phew!

  9. Sounds like an amazing launch and perfect day — and the kids look mesmerized! Beautiful pics! Congrats again xo

  10. Thanks Julia! It was great. Emma Pass took all the pics – some lovely ones aren’t there?

  11. Lari Don says:

    This is a brilliant blog post about an author’s nerves around a launch! I recognise so much of it (does my hair look ok? will anyone come? what should I say?) but I was amazed at your calm “glad rags on.” Three words about clothes! Only three words! Aaargh. I PANIC about launch clothes. Do I look fat? Do I look like a writer? Do I look like a REAL writer? Am I overdressed? Am I underdressed? Can people see down my top if I lean down to talk to a small child? Aaargh. I probably stress out about clothes for launches more, because I don’t care about my clothes the rest of the time! However, I’m delighted that’s one thing you clearly didn’t have to worry about this week, and I’m delighted the launch went so well. Congratulations!

  12. Ha ha! The looking down your top thing had never occurred to me… you see what I like? I have very little sense of how I look. I chuck on almost anything and drag a brush through my hair. The curls were really OTT for me! Have to say, I loved them though and even managed to get to the back bits! You are so right though, all these anxieties really build up – it’s such a relief when things go smoothly. Thanks ever so for commenting Lari.

  13. Martin Shone says:

    Wonderful, Abi, I’m happy it all went well for you 🙂

  14. Thank you Martin. Thanks for all your support too and all your RTs – it really does make a difference – thank you 🙂

  15. Sounds like you had a blast, well done! I hope the book is a fantastic success with loads more to come.

  16. Thanks Dan and thanks for the chat preceding it – it helped a lot!

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