If you know me, then you know I’m an introvert.
As such, you also know that when it comes to celebrating I don’t do big, over-the-top parties with crowds of people. Instead, I prefer quiet, intimate settings with my closest family and friends. That’s just my personality. So when it came time to toast the release of my debut novel, Perfectly Arranged, I found myself in a bit of a quandary: What kind of launch party would I have?
Any publicist, agent, or veteran author will tell you a launch party for a new book is a big deal. It’s what drives sales and helps get the word out about your novel. If you don’t promote and spotlight your book, how will they ever know to read it? Thus, a grand ceremony is necessary—a must in the industry.
Weeks before my October 26th release, I debated what to do. While I wanted people to know about the book, I didn’t feel comfortable showing up at a location, sitting behind a table stacked with my books and a giant poster, and announcing myself to the world. It just wasn’t me. But if that was the publishing world’s ‘status quo,’ then that’s what I would do. Like it or not.
So I bought the poster (two, actually) and reached out to local independent bookstores in the area about hosting an event. However, since I had procrastinated in making the arrangements, they weren’t able to accommodate me. With no backup plan in place, I began to panic. I HAD to have a launch party! To not have one meant: a.) I wasn’t a real author, and b.) no one would want my book.
What was I going to do?
I did it my way
With the clock ticking towards my release, I had to make a decision. I could do an event at some other book-related location (like a library), plaster it across social media, and pray that people showed up, or I could do something completely different.
In the end, I chose the latter and did it my way..
With the help of my husband and a few friends, we came up with a celebration that not only made me comfortable but was also reflective of the book itself. We invited 25 of my closest family and friends – people who had been on the publishing journey with me and who supported me along the way – and made it a weekend to remember.
First we picked an out-of-town location. Since Perfectly Arranged takes place in China (partly), we thought it would be fitting to go somewhere different than where we lived which was not too far, but far enough. In the end, we decided on New Braunfels, Texas a short three-hour drive from our home in Houston.
Next, we replicated some of the activities that my main character, Nicki, took part in. That included lunch at a local Hot Pot restaurant and an afternoon expedition at Natural Bridge Caverns (it’s as close as the Great Wall as we could get in Texas). Later in the evening, we gathered together in a private room of a popular restaurant for the “official” party where we dined on great food and drinks, played a Perfectly Arranged trivia game, and I shared with each person there how much their part in my writing/publishing journey meant to me.
For me, it was the perfect way to send Perfectly Arranged out into the world.
I know that for many people, however, it might not have been what was expected for a novel’s release. In the end, I’m glad it wasn’t. Even though I didn’t follow the normal launch party route, I still accomplished what you’re supposed to at these events: I autographed copies of Perfectly Arranged, sold over 30 paperbacks, and created excitement for the novel itself and the ones yet to come! A win-win for everyone!
I’m not saying I will do something like this with every future book release (Perfectly Placed comes out in July 2022 and Perfectly Matched in April 2023), because it was quite an endeavor both financially and logistically. But you only release your first book once and for me, it was worth the time, money, and effort.
Launching Perfectly Arranged was a labor of love and while doing it my way didn’t fit the mold, it was a celebration I’ll cherish forever. And that’s all that really matters.