Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Debut Author Series--Book Launch Part One

First sighting of my book baby!
Today's post is going to be about the actual day my book launched.  The day was absolutely crazy (in a good way!) I woke up early and as soon as breakfast was over, my husband and I drove to our local bookstore to see the book "in the wild".  (Yes, I made my husband take the day off work.  I was a basket of crazy.  There's no way I could deal with the stress of the day and the kids by myself.  Luckily, he's a very tolerant man!) 

After visiting my book and snapping a few pictures, we went to Kroger's for a very special reason.  I needed a pen.  You know how governor's use special pens when they sign bills into law?  I was going to be signing my book that night so I decided I needed a special pen. So off to Kroger's we went.  (Yes, I'm a writer.  I have plenty of pens at home, but this one needed to be special.)  I stood in the school supplies aisle and agonized over pens for twenty minutes.  Not. Even. Kidding.  The pen tip couldn't be too sharp--it might rip the pages.  It couldn't smear.  And the ink couldn't fade.  After much debate I settled on a Sharpie retractable pen.  I bought two.  Just in case the entire city of Cincinnati turned out and my first pen ran out of ink before I had signed all of the books. 

So armed with my pens and snapshots of my book "in the wild", I returned home to wait.  The signing was at 7pm and the day as agonizingly slow.  I spent the time checking my Amazon sales numbers.  (Just kidding.  Maybe.) 
There's my book.  Right on the front table!!

Finally it was time to go to the bookstore for the signing.  My husband and I loaded all of the kids in the van--that's right, we were crazy enough to bring them all--and drove to the store.  As soon as we walked in, we saw a giant banner with a picture of my book.  I started to feel important, but then I realized I didn't know what to do so I walked up to a cashier, pointed at the sign, and said, "Um, that's me?  Do you have something or someplace you want me to be?" 

Yes, everything I said came out like a question.  My moment of coolness was gone. 

With Grace, the inspiration behind Antionette
The cashier was lovely, and showed me where to go.  Because I hate being late, we were thirty minutes early.  That's okay.  It gave me time to corral all of the kids into the bathroom and give them my "Mom Lecture" about behaving. 

I want to stop here for a second.  I had spent a lot of years dreaming about the day I finally had a book published.  In all of them, I was incredibly calm about the entire process and never once did I have to wrestle a pack of kids in the bathroom. 

The Sunday before the launch I had been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer (of course I bought ten copies of the paper), and that article combined with the fact that most of my friends and family were around Cincinnati, meant there was a great turn.  I spoke about the inspiration behind the book and then read a small excerpt.  After that I took questions and then signed several books.  Aside from my youngest daughter, Gabrielle, raising her hand every time I asked if anyone had questions and yelling out things like, "Banana costume!" or "Can I sign the books, Mom?" things went smoothly. 

In fact, I had a great time.  And the thing that I want to tell you all is that the reason I had such a great time despite my nerves and despite my obvious non-coolness, had nothing to do with achieving a long-standing dream of mine and everything to do with the people who turned out to celebrate with me. 

You see until then, whenever I pictured the my book launch day I always imagined that I'd feel such a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  In my mind, I had made it.  But that's not how I felt.  Instead, I felt very much like the new kid at school who doesn't know anyone. 

That is until all of these people I love showed up to support me. You all, it wasn't the feeling of accomplishment that I took home that night, it was the feeling of love and of family.  And that is so much better than anything I could have imagined. 

Debut authors and future debut authors, I want to share something with you.  It's not about the book.  (Ok, it's a little about the book.)  It's about the people who share the journey with you.  Who cheer you on and celebrate your success.  I write because I'm fascinated by people, and I deeply love the people in my life.  Books have shaped me.  Given me rest when I was weary.  Given me hope that this world can be a better place.  They've challenged the way that I think and opened new worlds to me. 

But compared to the people I'm blessed to have in my life, everything else falls away.  So authors, when your book hits the shelves (because I believe in you and I know you'll get there) I hope sharing my story helps you leap over the crazy and go straight to embracing the experience and sharing it with people you love.  Because trust me, it's not always this rosy!  (More about that in the next post!)