Four Must Haves for a Book Launch
(Keeping the Launch Spooks Away)
by Jennifer Slattery
Making it through final edits, with all the insecurities that come with them, is hard enough. Surviving a book launch while managing a substantive-edit deadline? That calls for an extreme amount of chocolate, tissue, ever-flowing caffeine and lots of duct tape. Bonus need -- a Gumby man able to withstand all of one’s frustrations. (Please note, a Gumby that bounces is immensely more satisfying, able to stave off frequent bouts of hysterics, especially if it bounces off one’s well-intentioned spouse who, in an effort to encourage said writer, suggests she try spell check. Don’t ask.)
During my first ever book launch, having teetered dangerously close to insanity on more than one occasion, I decided to make note of a few things I—and my poor, slightly-terrified family—would need to survive my second launch.
I’ve already mentioned the first and most important item, but it is of such importance, redundancy is warranted.
To achieve the proper stores, you’ll want to begin shopping for this item at least six months in advanced. If you’re living on a writer’s salary and therefore must budget for every food item, I suggest you add on an additional three months. Of course, take into account the pre-launch daily nibbles and gorges.
On second thought, you may want to open a direct account to your local chocolate factory. Make sure to thoroughly explain your impeding emergency. You may wish to visit them personally with a map to your residence. One can never be too prepared.
Make sure to have plenty of tissue paper handy. You’ll want to purchase this in bulk.
Because unless your Karen Kingsbury, you’re going to get an unpleasant, maybe even hateful, review. And though you’ve tried to prepare for it, with post-it note affirmations stuck on every surface in your home, the mascara-streaking tears are bound to come. Especially when a reader sends you an email listing every mistake they discovered while reading your novel and you begin to wonder if you have more typos than pages. Actually, there’s no need to wonder. You know you do, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do about that now. Except cry, grab another hunk of chocolate, and your most potent cup of Jo.
This leads me to necessary item number three: coffee, preferably available through intravenous drip.
You do know sleep and book launches don’t coexist, right? Although it is true some unusual and exceptionally gifted authors are able to set and meet daily goals, allowing them, in theory, to catch a few hours of sleep each night. But even those rare and nauseating breeds aren’t immune to the night tremors that come once they realize people will soon actually be reading the drivel they created.
And asking questions.
Like, “Your main character wears a pair of faded green shoes. Who from your past do these shoes represent? What inner longing do these loafers reveal?”
This of course initiates numerous nightmares that begin the moment your heavy eyes slam shut, nightmares that awaken you with family-scaring shrieks able to turn the most patient of husbands into sleep-deprived monsters.
Monsters who soon decide to enter into your editing attempts (if only to help you finish in this century so they, too, can begin to catch up on their sleep. These conniving beasts begin offering all sorts of strange advice like:
"Maybe if you printed the document out, you’d be able to stay focused—and off Facebook—for more than ten minutes at a time. Surely Words With Friends is not the most effective dictionary option available to you."
"You should really cut back on the caffeine. You’re beginning to twitch. And while you’re at it, do you think it’s time you jump into the shower? I’ve begun to notice a strange smell."
"Can one person really eat that much chocolate? How about I get you a salad? You’ll write better."
Remember when I said you’d need duct tape?
This will come in handy whenever you need to silence those oh-so-helpful family members and friends. If that doesn’t work, you can always use this wonderful tool as earplugs, or you could tape yourself to your chair to keep from doing something you regret.
Considering my launch and edits (for my second novel, releasing this winter) are still underway, my must-have list is continuing to grow. Do you know of any other items I should add? How do you maintain your—and your family’s—sanity during a book launch? Please share your ideas here, because I’m in desperate need!
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for a great price! You can find it here:
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here: http://wordsthatkeep.wordpress.com/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.