By Tracy Clark
I just launched my fifth book, Hide. Yay! It’s a busy time. Stuff’s happening fast and furious. But in a rare quiet moment, I got to wondering. Why book launch? Why not book introduction, or book premiere?
I’ll admit launch is snappier than book introduction, but it also sounds and feels very much like what the word suggests — like my book baby is being shot out of a circus cannon accompanied by a big brass band, rainbow-colored smoke, and glitter confetti. Hurled out into the ether, aiming for the top tier, like a clown cannon ball!
Launch day, launch week, launch month is hectic. There are blogs and podcasts, interviews and events, in-person and virtual. There are things I have to do, people I need to connect with, buzz to build, excitement to hope for. I like my book. I worked hard on it. I think it’s good. I want readers to find it and like it as much as I do. So, I get out there and launch it and talk it up and stand behind it. Readers won’t discover my book if I mosey it out. Nobody will pay attention to a book sashay.
So, book launch.
It sounds chaotic, and it is. It sounds exhausting, and it is. But it’s also delightful and validating, and heartwarming. My writing community showed up for me. There are no words.
My first in-person launch event for Hide was just a few days ago, and I had the best time ever. The wonderful Lori Rader-Day did me a solid and said yes when I asked if she’d partner with me at one of my favorite Indie bookstores here in Chicago, The Book Cellar. (If you’re ever in Chicago, do yourself a favor, check it out.)
Lori was there. I was there. Hide was there, and people showed up. It was a good crowd. We talked about my book. We talked about Lori’s book. Lori was great, as always, and, though, I was nervous and had worked myself up into a near wreck by the time the convo even started, convinced I’d botch the whole thing, I think I did okay. Afterward, I was secure in the knowledge that I had successfully launched my clown cannon ball like a true pro in training.
Here’s a fact. Writers write alone, but they cannot launch alone. A launch takes a village; it takes a writing community. A successful launch hinges on the support and advocacy you receive from others. Your writer friends talk your book up, they read it, they tell other people about it. You do the same for them when their books launch. Reviewers review. Bloggers blog. Both are kind enough to take the time. Readers who know your work and love it, say nice things that make you feel good, and then, if you’re lucky, they do that thing from that old Faberge shampoo commercial — “they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on and so on.” There are also wonderful publicists and editors and agents, who believe in your work as much as you do, who help you brand it and position it and get the word out. I am lucky and forever indebted to these fantastic people.
So, it’s book launch instead of book mosey, because the entire deal is all energy and propulsion and razzmatazz. It’s showbiz, kid. Only the curtain doesn’t come down when the cannon ball leaves the cannon. Oh no, that’s just the beginning. There’s more to come. Cool library visits, more interviews, conferences, panels. There will be airports and hotels and panel prep and wonderful chats in hotel bars with your writer peeps who are going through the same things you are. It’s wonderful and scary and exhilarating and tiring and I don’t think any writer would have it any other way.
I’m living the dream, even though I still worry about everything. I honor my community, hold fast to my excellent team. I’m blessed to have them all. So far launch is going gangbusters.
If you’re a published writer, what was your best launch experience?
If you’re a “pre-published” writer, what do you hope your first book launch will be like?