This blog was featured on 08/01/2018
A Book Launch is Not Just a Party
Contributor

For some authors, a book launch is party time, an opportunity for you to celebrate with family and friends the ending to your drafts, edits and rewrites—a final book. For these folks, a book launch is a coming-out event where the books, the star of the show, are held up and gladly displayed for all to see.

But for a first-time author like me, a book launch on the horizon appeared daunting. A party? I didn’t have time or the gusto to plan a party when I was amid an all-consuming publication process. My memoir, Under the Birch Tree was released in June, however, months prior, in March, I had neither a launch date nor a venue. I felt the pressure when fellow authors gladly revealed their launch details, six months or more before their book’s release.

Don’t get me wrong. For me, throwing a party after working on a manuscript for over ten years, studying the craft of memoir, and reading copious books about the subject definitely warranted a celebration as would any acts of diligence and commitment to a project. Celebrations are bursts of fun and laughter and can be windows of validation for authors; you wrote a book, damn it, now celebrate.

I questioned if a book launch was necessary; the book was going to be released to the public, launch or no launch.

Why was I so hesitant? Social media posts of fellow authors and even my publisher commented that a launch was not required; I could do whatever I wanted. Was this my excuse for giving myself a pass for not having an event? 

Yes, I wanted to celebrate with others who had been with me on my publication journey. The celebration would give me permission to enjoy the moments and reward myself for an accomplishment I, at times, could not envision.  But fear crept into my mind as quickly as did the time to schedule my launch. I would no longer be talking about my book, covertly through social media and blog posts. I would stand with book in hand, not as an introvert, but cast out and vulnerable.  Fear of rejection—of me and my book—was at stake.

I needed to look at my launch with a different perspective. With my book in hand while reciting my words, I was extending an invitation for others to connect not only to the book but also to the writer of those words. I had a story, discovering connections to a good place to be in our lives despite disconnections, and I believed others shared this hope with me. Our connection of commonality was an affirmation that my book and I would be received just fine. I was ready to have a book launch.

I celebrated my launch a month after the book’s release and I not only enjoyed the celebration but also viewed the event as something more. When I read passages, it was as if I was reading the words for the first time, like an eager reader who quickly identifies with the writer because of what she is saying. I was learning my story again. I could also see how far I had come since its early days of gestation.

A book launch is more than just a celebration. It's a continuation of self-discovery that didn’t end with the last page of my memoir, but carried on when I gazed at the book I held up. I saw a tenacity never seen before when I connected with others in sharing similar life stories.

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