Here were my worries for the launch day of Human Remains.
2. Would anyone show up for my launch in Cornwall?
This dredges up bad memories, like being picked last for a baseball team, times a thousand. I never thought I’d play for the Major Leagues. However, I want to not suck at writing and getting my books into the hands of people who like to read them.
A few more problems. Last time I launched a Hope Sze book, Stockholm Syndrome, I got the flu and then, for the first time in my life, pneumonia. I didn’t want to go through that again.
The last two Hope books had hit the Kobo bestseller list of Top 25 e-books after a CBC interview—but I didn’t have a CBC interview lined up for launch day, although Murder in Common had posted a review, and the Standard Freeholder and the Review had shown their support.
I’m lucky to have readers buy my books in person, in print, at my hospitals, but that doesn’t register on Amazon or Kobo. To hit the bestseller list, I need people to buy online.
Luckily, they did. They had my back on Facebook and on my mailing list. I hit Kobo’s Top 10 and cracked the medical list on Amazon.ca. Thank you, thank you!
So that was hurdle #1. Yay, people bought my book around the world!
#2: I drove to Cornwall, quite exhausted, not knowing who would show up. I was pretty assertive about asking people, even handing flyers to both an American and a Canadian border agent (hi, T!). But you never know who will actually take the time to haul their carcass to the Cornwall Library on a Tuesday evening.
Hooray, people came!
I wasn’t late! Good thing, too, because the usual elevator was broken, and I had to come up the freight elevator to get set up.
My launch was part of DNA Day, the only Canadian place to celebrate the discovery of the double helix structure and completing the Human Genome Project. I have to say that, when asked, at least two people named not only Watson and Crick but also Rosalind Franklin. I handed out DNA origami and played my interview with Dr. Bill Stanford before reading from Human Remains, answering some creative questions, and making them do the wave.
It was fun. Every time I do a launch, different friends can or can’t come. It’s like throwing a party and seeing who shows up.
Some of my friends rarely do physical book launches anymore. They’d rather stay home and write. At most, they’ll have a Facebook party. But I can name two good things that came out of my Cornwall launch.
1. I met Troy and Robyn Guindon. He’s an acclaimed local author, and Robyn is the pharmacist and owner of Wholehealth Pharmacy, where she prides herself on one-on-one care with her patients.
We laughed about the fact that my family still has our Christmas tree up. Robyn said, “We did that, too! One year, we put up little balls for Easter.”
“Anastasia wanted to do that, but we didn’t get around to it!”
Robyn also has a collection of historical mortar and pestles. “Do you ever use a mortar and pestle?” I asked.
“Once in a while, to crush aspirin that we use in a salve.”
“Psoriasis, to reduce the scaling.”
I had never heard of it, but it makes sense that you might try to gently abrade the white scales of psoriasis. So I learned something from Robyn, and you can, too! Plus, if you go, you can pick up one of Troy’s or my books, because she has good taste like that.
My books are also now available at Henderson’s in Lancaster!
2. A teacher at Holy Trinity asked me to come to his English class. So I drove away from my first book launch with a school visit set for the following week.
But first I had to face my next challenge.
3. In two days, on April 27th, I would have my first Montreal launch, at a beautiful Old Montreal bookstore called Librairie Bertrand.
I haven’t lived in Montreal since I graduated from the emergency program. Most of my friends have moved away.