Ah, the book launch. When somebody first said the words, I immediately thought of somebody strapping a rocket to my novel and sending it into space. I’m not dumb enough to think that’s what it actually was, but I did have to ask my editor to define it. She explained that it’s a party for my friends and family to celebrate the debut of my book, and that some authors choose to have it in a public place where strangers can attend. And, apparently, there are sometimes theme-related snacks and activities.
My first instinct was to skip the whole thing. Seriously. I’m an odd duck for many reasons, but here’s a biggie: while I relish the idea of attention, when it comes time to plan a party centered around myself, I get a little uneasy. For my own wedding, I mentioned hiring someone to wear a gorilla suit so no one would see me walking down the aisle. It’s ironic because I can talk to anyone on a movie line, I make speeches, I teach, and I direct theater. But this kind of thing? Yikes.
Both Alvina (my editor) and my husband encouraged me to do it, saying that celebrating this moment is important and I would regret not doing it. Probably true. The book was years in the making and my friends and family are super charged up about the whole thing. So I’ll get past my butterflies and throw a party.
Now for the theme. See, my awesome agency (Erin Murphy Literary) has a bulletin board where authors post questions, great news, and bad news. We chatter and offer support. So I asked the group for suggestions. They’re children’s book writers, and many of them write adorable stories. This means their themes have involved decorated cookies, coloring contests, thematically colored punch, and fun music. Sounds sweet, BUT . . .
My book is based on Hamlet, which it’s about revenge, madness, and murder. I don’t see any theme cakes that wouldn’t terrify my children.
And then Jeannie Mobley (author of the upcoming Magic Carp and fellow EMU Debut-er) sent me a list of ideas that still has me laughing:
1. You have to serve Danishes
2. All the other food has to be rotten
2. ONE goblet of punch has poison in it–which one is it? We will know
by the end of the book launch.
3. I know you have given Ophelia a better story line, but all the same
you could walk around among your guests singing snippets of song and
handing out flowers with weird meanings (be sure to practice your vacant
4. You can play a variation of pin the tail on the donkey, only using
rapiers instead of pins, and an old man behind a curtain instead of a donkey
And of course,
5. You can give a prize to the most inappropriately short skirt worn to
See how easy this is to plan?
My husband and my guy friends were especially keen on the short skirt contest. I think we might go with Danishes and coffee (who doesn’t like pastry?), a little reading aloud (my heart stops at the thought), book signing (yay), and hanging out with people I love (very good).
Maybe inspiration will hit before July and I’ll still come up with something fun. Or I could just stab everyone and go home. I’ll keep you posted!