Celebration: A Great Book Launch Party


After I had savored the appearance of the book — looking over and over again at page size, the colors of the cover, pagination, format and page counts — all came out as expected. Bravo! The publisher did a good job. Next, my attention turned to showing the new arrival to family members, friends and neighbors. They were all filled with excitement as they saw this new creation. After talking about it for years, the book was now real.

My daughter and son-in-law proposed a book launch party as a way to celebrate this accomplishment. For the nine books I had previously published, I had never thrown a party. This one was different and special. It was my very first novel, and for over four decades I had been longing for it. There was a hesitation at first. I don’t like attention being drawn to me. I also understood that lack of promotion had resulted in meager sales for my previous books. It was time to change from a shy writer to a fierce promoter. Easier said than done.
The support and encouragement my family offered was enough to get over a little of my shyness. My friends and neighbors had also generously encouraged me. Whenever I met them they inquired about the novel’s progress and I enthusiastically told them which stage it was at: reviewing, editing, formatting, and cover design. Also, the prospect of a dozen of my fans gathered in a place, showing them the book was making my stomach tight as a knot. Slowly the idea grew on me as I gained ground in my fight against shyness. The thought of being with those who care about this project diminished the anxiety though it was not totally gone. After some research, I developed a plan.

More prints: I ordered fifty more books and waited until they arrived before setting a date. One publicist warned how often orders did not arrive on time for release parties. That was a disaster I was keen on avoiding.

The press release: In preparation for the event, a press release was a must, especially if media was to be invited. Veronica Marmoreo, an editor and blogger who had organized book launch parties for many authors, kindly composed my press release. Once the date was set, I contacted two local papers and two television networks. I followed up on these conversations by emailing them press releases.

Place and time: Many suggested that I should have it at a public place like a restaurant, local community group, or cultural center. I broke that rule, instead holding it at my house. If you are planning to invite dignitaries and a number of guests that could not fit in a house, then a public place is a good option. The time was 2 pm on a Sunday afternoon.
Theme: I chose ‘Justice’ as the party’s theme. Lack of time prevented my family from filling the house with gavels and judges’ gowns. Instead we placed a scale on the piano.

The event: Around 1 pm a reporter and camera man from Asian Network Television arrived. Now, a butterflies were starting to form in my stomach. Soon after, guests filed in through the front door. Looking at their happy faces, my nervousness subsided a bit. Once the camera was set up, it was time for an interview, my very first of any kind. The reporter’s kind and comforting words were like soothing medicine. Knowing my situation, she made me feel comfortable and I answered all her questions as the camera was rolling. When it was over, a feeling of relief swept over me. By now, the house was filled with guests and they were helping themselves to food and were mingling. Around 2:30 pm, my daughter, Laila, asked everyone to be seated as the program was about to begin. Then she passed the mike on to me. Reading from a script I had prepared, I talked about how special it was to me to share this moment with people I have known for so many years. Next I read two excerpts from Tainted Justice. After my presentation, I invited my guests to the kitchen where a stack of books was for sale. With a copy in each of their hands, they returned to the living room where I was signing. Again it was an emotional moment, one of great gratitude for having so many in my life and who came to celebrate an important event in my life. The last time I felt these emotions was at my wedding. Of fifty invitees, about forty showed up. I felt very blessed.

Celebratory spirit: No doubt everyone was in a festive mood. Throughout the afternoon many more came, including a reporter from SNAP, a local paper. She quickly took some pictures of my family and guests and left, afterwards letting me know that a report (complete with photos) on the party would appear on the following month’s issue.

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