“So,” said a friend, “When’s the party?”
“You know, your book launch party. Like you did last year. That was a great night…all that beer and wine and those chocolate teacakes…”
“And books,” I added, in case the point of the night had slipped his mind.
“Oh yes, books. Yes, of course. Books too. So…when is it, when’s the big knees-up this time?”
“Well, due to these unprecedented circumstances…”
“Oh, don’t give me that! You mean there’s to be no booze-up?”
“Sorry. Not allowed. Against the law, actually.”
My friend was quiet for a moment. Sullen, even. I tried to appeal to his better nature.
“So, I’ll be relying on pals like you to spread the word. You know, share all those lovely promos my publishers are putting on Facebook and Twitter and so on.”
He didn’t seem enthusiastic.
“What’s in it for us?” he asked.
“Well, nothing…except you’ll have my eternal gratitude.”
“Ha! How about a free teacake? You know, for those of us that do the best social media sharing.”
I considered this and decided it might be impractical.
“They’d get squashed in the post.”
My friend agreed that might be a problem.
“OK, how about a bag of sweeties. Like those ones you always talk about then you tell a story about your childhood. I bet your book is littered with mentions of Caramac bars and Opal Fruits.”
“Well yes, but…”
“Or a promotional mug. Or even a mug filled with jelly tots or sherbet fountains.”
“That might be going a bit far,” I said.
“Well, think about it,” he said, “A little random reward for friends who help spread the word about your book.”
“I’ll discuss it with my publishers,” I said, “But no promises.”
“And you’re sure a party is out of the question? Even a secret one? I wont tell anyone, I swear.”
“I hate this virus malarkey,” he said.
“Me too,” I said.