Anatomy of a Book Launch: 1. Just Do It
“Do it badly; do it slowly; do it fearfully; do it any way you have to, but do it.”
― Steve Chandler
I really didn’t want to do a book launch for Terminally Ill. I thought nobody cared about my writing, really (except my Unfeeling Doctor series, a little). I thought, Why bother people. I’ll just crawl in my hole and write more books.
But a librarian changed my mind.
The Cornwall Public Library hosts a Christmas party for its volunteers. I didn’t make it the year before, but this past Christmas, I realized, library volunteers=book readers. My kind of people. I HAVE to go.
Dawn Kiddell, the CEO/Chief Librarian, was taking people’s coats when I arrived. I’m sorry, how many CEOs do the coat check? Amazing. If they did, I bet we’d have fewer Wall Street buyouts.
Of course, I didn’t know anyone. But the food, catered by Dish, was excellent. So I ate and chatted a little with Dawn when she got off coat duty.
“I don’t know about a book launch,” I said. My pre-orders for Terminally Ill were lacklustre. As in, zero online. Five people in the Cornwall emerg had signed up for a paper copy. Woo.
Dawn smiled. “Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s kind of fun. We provide a room upstairs. We don’t charge authors. You try to bring in your people, and we try to bring in our people, and we see how it goes.”
I realized that part of the reason I was shying away from a book launch was not just because I’m busy and need to write more books, but because I was scared. Scared that no one would show up. Scared that no one would buy my books. Scared that I’d fall flat on my face.
That goes against my motto, ever since I was 16 years old and read Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do what you are afraid to do.”
Okay. I’d have a book launch.
Look at that gorgeous photo by Emily Cole. And reflect on this: you wrote a book. Now it’s time to party.
If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.—Cynthia Ozick
“Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.” ―William Shakespeare
Spoiler alert: the book launch succeeded! In fact, it was the best book launch of my life. Not as glitzy as Writers of the Future, of course, but satisfying nonetheless. So I’m starting this Anatomy of a Book Launch series to pass on tips that I learned. If you want to support this series, please consider buying Terminally Ill in a format of your choice.
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