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To Launch or Not to Launch


Grumpa 3 or more correctly Grumpa agus na Nàbaidhean Ùra is in print. I have some copies which means it is now elevated to its correct title. I should now be considering my next Grumpa book.

However, before I start the process officially, there is the not-so-little question of the launch of Grumpa agus na Nàbaidhean Ùra. Normally, this would consist of a wee get-together in the local library. Parents and children from the nearest Gaelic Unit would come down. Traditional music would be provided by, at least some of the very talented MacGillivrays. Courtesy, I have to say, of my brilliant illustrator who is one of their family.

I count myself very fortunate that my Gaelic children’s books have always had a successful and enjoyable launch. The children and parents all leave happily after a lovely afternoon. Myself, I meander home with a big smile on my face to partake of a celebratory tea.

It is a way to end the not inconsiderable work required to produce a Gaelic children’s picture book. To pay tribute to all the tasks undertaken by the writer, illustrator, creative editor, typesetter and printer. To say nothing of the help from Comhairle Nan Leabhraichean and their staff.

As the writer, it ends a project and makes way for another to start. In reality, before the last word is down, new stories are already developing in my mind. Some I have even started on paper. Not all will get into print.

Finishing a book is almost a relief. Time for something new, only we have to say goodbye to our creation first and send it on its way. That is where the launch comes in. We can fall in love with the project one last time before we let it go and present it to our readers.

But what do I do about a launch this time? We are still in lockdown. The local library is closed as are the schools, out with some pupils and staff.

I could do something online of course. Have people look in on a virtual event. This works well for adult books. But to me, the big part of the launch is the children. I feel safe with them there. The book after all is written for them and their parents to enjoy.

I have done virtual visits to schools so perhaps that is the way to go. Call out to a Gaelic School or Unit and see if they want a quick visit with the chance to buy some books.

The other option is just to let parents and readers know that the new Grumpa book is available. Social Media would have to do for that. I so miss the interaction of being with young readers though.

Whatever I decide I will have to get a move on. This year a never-ending winter seems to have run into spring and now, we race towards summer at a sprint. Before I know it, my new book will be old.

At least the puppet seemed happy to see the box of books. If only he could talk to me, maybe he could advise me on what to do. Should I wait for a few months which will impact when another book comes out, or should I go for it? This Grumpa book is already running 8 months late on my original calculations.

At least three, no make that four, Gaelic children’s stories are swirling around my brain at the moment, so I need to get another one down to clear my thoughts a little. And that doesn’t take into account Blàs 2 which right now I am supposed to be editing. But you can’t get a pile of your new book and not stop and take a moment, or at least a look.

It would appear there is the answer to my question then. I need to launch Grumpa agus na Nàbaidhean Ùra soon. Now all I have to decide is how, where and when?

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