It’s easy to hold an audience’s attention when the first thing you say involves high-school students joking about hiding the body of someone who’s face has been chewed off by a dog.
Rob Brunet, accompanied by supportive fellow authors Liz Strange and Ryan Aldred, held a book launch for his first comedy-crime novel Stinking Rich on Tuesday.
The launch, hosted by The Brew Pub in downtown Kingston, kicked off with chapter readings from each author. Strange, a 10-time published author, and Aldred, who’s currently working on a series of fiction novels, each read samples from their work to the small gathering of people.
Brunet went last, exclusively reading a section from Stinking Rich — gathered from the segment he read, the book puts a light-hearted twist on the dark nature of murder. More specifically, the book is about what occurs when a backwoods biker gang in Kawartha hires a high-school dropout to take charge of a high-grade marijuana-growing operation.
From there, the book focuses on the problems that ensue when there’s a lot of drug money for the dropouts, but also a lot of people who are willing to go to any lengths to take it from them.
After the readings, there was a question period where the authors gave their thoughts on acquiring a publisher, the act of self-publishing and experiencing launches for the first time.
Aldred started off by comparing the concept of self-publishing to heroin users.
“I look at self-publishing the way a heroin addict looks like a needle — it’s very tempting,” he said. “Sometimes people are very successful with it, but I’m holding off partly because I’m writing a series, and I’m not convinced I can do that myself.”
Brunet went after this, emphasizing the fact that publishers play a significant role in getting the public interested and aware of new authors’ works.
“With publishers, they get more involved in the process,” Brunet said in reference to book launches. “We focused on booking independent book stores at first. When I landed a couple of bookings, I got a lot more traction after that.”
Although acquiring a publisher makes things easier, Brunet said, as the author it’s best to get involved with the process of booking appearances.
“For what it’s worth, I knew that getting involved is important. Whether the publisher is big or small, you’ve got to dig in and do it [yourself], as well,” he said. “I’ve got friends who are on their fourth novel, and left their appearances to the hands of the publicist without getting involved, and it didn’t end up working out.”
Brunet has been writing on and off for years. The process of writing Stinking Rich to being published, started a couple of years ago when he finally decided that writing wasn’t just going to be his hobby.
“It was the classic case of spending your life thinking you’re going to be a writer and not actually starting,” he said. “So I literally looked in the mirror one day and I told myself that this could either just be a hobby, or I could throw myself at it. And that’s what I decided to do — just go for it.”
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