It's My Book Launch Party, and if I Cry, My Mascara will Run

For weeks before my book launch, I obsessed about the party I was giving. Maybe it was because it was a hard bricks and mortar thing—I was facing people in person—or maybe because it was easier to worry about facing an empty restaurant than worrying about reviews. Whatever the reasons, I had many (and conflicting) fears about my launch party:

Nobody will come.
Too many people will come.
I’ll choke when I try to read.

However, that night, like Goldilocks, I was lucky, and it turned out just right.

So here’s the thing about giving a book launch party. You gotta have friends. You gotta have family. And you gotta have food. (And to anyone who complains about spending money for this—would you EVER invite people to a party and then NOT serve food??? If so, take me off your invite list.)

Every moment of this party reminded me how lucky I am.

My sister, she didn’t just bring herself—from three hours away—and her incredible warmth, she brought two friends who took pictures, videotaped, and were (silently!) the party angels. (Thanks Linda & Diane!)

My daughter, she didn’t just keep everything on schedule, she moved through the room with smiles, hugs and love for each and every friend from our past and present. Plus, she looked so radiant that I could barely breathe. She even wore a dress that wasn’t black, that’s how much she loves me.

My husband, the best person in the world, who is as far from a party person as you can get, this man circled the room with love and conversation and welcomes for all – and somehow looked after me at the same time. He chatted with my ex-boyfriends AND made sure I had hot water with lemon.

My closest friends were willing to beon their own as I spent extra time with people newer to the group. They all looked beautiful, came early, and asked to be put to work. Those are friends. I love my friends. So much. And my agent came! Seeing her dazzling smile lit up my heart.

I think people dug deeper into their pockets because for every book purchased from the wonderful Newtonville Books, a matching amount went to the Home for Little Wanderers’ Harrington House—an organization working against all odds to provide a home for kids with no place in this world. When you’re lucky enough in this world to get a book published, you gotta remember to say thanks!

Yes, it was a wonderful party.

I read without choking.

I didn’t cry—and so I didn’t ruin all the make-up I applied in a desperate attempt to look as good as my author photo (thank you to my sister Jill and the miracle of Photoshop!).

In addition, my friends have told me, the launch didn’t make me look fat. Oh yes, that’s what friends are for.

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Comment by Randy Susan Meyers on February 8, 2010 at 4:42am
Michele--Have it at an art gallery! Much better than a bookstore (IMHO)
Mine was at an artsy back room of a restaurant--people could eat and drink and it was a party! Tell me how it goes--and I'll look for your book. Right now :)
Comment by Michele Young-Stone on February 7, 2010 at 11:35am
Thanks for a great post. My book launch party is in April, and despite publicist' expectations, I'm having my launch at an art gallery instead of at a book store. I am nervous, but like you, I keep thinking: This is my home town, my family and my friends, and it's my launch. I am going to try not to drink too much too early, to read without allowing my heart to beat out of my chest and to thank every single person for coming. I can do it. And I hope I don't look fat. With all the snow we're getting, I'm going to have to work on that one these next few weeks. XO Great post, Randy.
Comment by Randy Susan Meyers on February 7, 2010 at 6:12am
Dear Hope, thank you so much for those good words. Yes, it is imprinted on me!

And Tracy, you will be brave enough! I am certain you worked the heck out of yourself for MOMMY PRAYERS--now celebrate with your loved ones. They will be happy if you do.
Comment by Tracy Mayor on February 6, 2010 at 3:14pm
Hi, Randy, thanks so much for this post. Very inspiring. My modest little book (Mommy Prayers) is coming out in April and I am trying to find the courage to plan a party -- I've never hosted anything larger than dinner for six, out of a lifelong fear that nobody will come. Trying to overcome that by telling myself it's for the benefit of my book, not me. We shall see if I get brave enough...
Comment by Hope Edelman on February 5, 2010 at 7:53pm
So glad to hear it was a good night for you. You look absolutely radiant in the photo. My book release party in September 09 remains one of the highlights of my year. They should be all that an author hopes for, and more. Congratulations!!
Comment by Marwa Elnaggar on January 30, 2010 at 10:31am
Congratulations on your new book! It must be a blessing to have such wonderful family and friends.
Comment by Linda K. Sienkiewicz on January 29, 2010 at 8:16pm
Whoops, I deleted my two comments to make them one, and in the meantime, you responded. ha. Yes, I will let you know, because I'd love to know more about what your publicity agent did for you.
Comment by Linda K. Sienkiewicz on January 29, 2010 at 8:14pm
Hi Randy, remember me? I emailed you about your agent? Congratulations on your book release, and I'm glad your launch went so well. It will be a night you'll remember forever. I love that matching monies from book sales went to the Harrington House. Very cool, indeed. I just purchased and downloaded your book on my Sony Reader- I can't wait to start reading. I'll be in touch.

BTW, I went with Maria Carvainis Agency.Stephanie and I had a great phone conversation, though. She is a delightful person.
Comment by Randy Susan Meyers on January 29, 2010 at 7:55pm
Of course I remember you! I hope you like the book (argh, Amazon is all glitched up on my book at the moment--some computer problem.) Let me know when your book had gone from agent to editor!
Comment by Zoe FitzGerald Carter on January 29, 2010 at 5:01pm
Okay, thanks, I'll keep trying!


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