The Malta Book Festival which is held yearly, is the most important book event in the Maltese calendar. This year, the event will be held from the 8th to the 12th of November at the Mediterranean Conference Centre. Its cultural programme features over 50 events in book launches and presentations, poetry readings and meetings with authors. This festival sees an approximate 30,000 people attending and 40 exhibitors participating.
So what if you’re invited to one of the book launches?
Are you expected to buy the book before the launch? During the launch?
We’ve compiled a list to help you enjoy yourself if you’re invited and to avoid any signs of guilt that you may feel when it comes to deciding whether you should buy the book or not.
1. No, you do not need to buy the book before the book launch. A book launch is an opportunity for the author to introduce the book, say a few words about it and publicise the book during this social event.
2. What should you wear to a book launch? Smart is the best way to go. Don’t go overboard. No need to follow a corporate dress code unless it is specifically indicated on the invitation. Just remember that the author has worked hard to reach this milestone and the way one dresses is also a sign of respect.
3. Many ask whether a guest is expected to buy the book which is being launched. No, nobody should be expected to buy the book but one must appreciate that the author would be honoured if the guests buy it. After all, it’s also a way to support the author’s work.
4. If you do not feel compelled to buy the book, you can still compliment the author and help by spreading the word with family and friends.
5. Book signing – Yes, if you have decided to buy the book being launched, this is the right moment to have it signed and to ask the author for a personalised message.
6. Refreshments are usually served during book launches but this is not to replace your lunch or dinner. Eat and drink moderately.
7. Cell phones should be on silent mode during speeches and during the event in general. If you need to take a call, you can leave the room and continue the conversation there.
8. Writing a book is no mean feat. Never ask an author questions like “Can I pick your brain?” or even worse “How much do you make on each book?”. Apart from coming across as rude, it is insulting to expect someone to share such information and knowledge after all the hard work they’ve put in to launching their book. If you are interested in writing your own book, do your research first and then contact the author for some guidance.
9. Try not to leave early and when you do, find the time to personally thank the author for inviting you whilst also wishing them success.
10. If you have bought the book, it would be great if you find a few minutes to write to the author that you have read and enjoyed the book whilst also quoting the part which interested you most.