This country’s crazy in terms of fame and what people think it means. They expect a writer to be something between a Hollywood starlet and the village idiot.
- Kent Haruf
Beyond Blood and Dead Wrong received a big send-off last Sunday October 19 at our mutual book launch at Paintbox Bistro in Toronto, Canada. It was a lot of work – for my publisher Blue Denim Press to set it all up and for my author colleague Klaus Jakelski and I to invite (and persuade) people to show up. The two guest authors reading – Rosemary McCracken (author of the Pat Tierney mysteries http://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/ and Nate Hendley (true crime author who writes about the baddies and Stephen Truscott http://www.natehendley.com/books.html also were a draw. See the Blue Denim Press website www.bluedenimpress.com for photos.
But there are stories behind a book launch – the before, during and after and maybe some lessons to be learned, especially as this was my second book launch.
Not everyone invited will come. I emailed out around 200 invitations but didn’t expect that many to attend – they would have been out on the street if they had. One thing that bugged me at my first launch two years ago and again this go-round is people not letting you know if they can attend or not, but more so if they say they are coming and then don’t show up – unless they have emailed at the last minute that they can’t because of whatever. The last is acceptable. Things happen.
The upside is people invited showing up unexpectedly.
This time round none of my cousins could make it, but my son, Martin and his girlfriend, Juni (bless them) did. I was thrilled when they walked in and Martin handed me a big bouquet of flowers. I was determined to keep it close and when I left it at the restaurant where we ate after the launch, I got off the bus (one stop after boarding) and raced back to the restaurant to collect it. If I hadn’t have done that I would be so upset. How did I miss grabbing it? I guess my mind and hands couldn’t take in more than a big shoulder bag, purse and doggie bag of leftover dinner. I also had stood the bouquet up on the wall behind where I sat to keep it safe. Safe from whom? Me?
I had also tried to get plenty of sleep the nights before so I could avoid being in a daze like the previous book launch. The enough sleep part didn’t work out but no daze. My wits were in place and I made a point of moving around, jumping up from where I was sitting to talk to everyone who came to the launch.
The readings went well, although I stumbled up the stairs and Sarah the publisher had to grab me. Note: I was not drunk. Hadn’t had anything stronger than water to drink. But my very short intro to Beyond Blood and the short excerpt I read went very well. One of my writing colleagues says I read like audio. True, I channel my characters as I read and got the chance to do that at the end of the launch presentations when Klaus and I did a short humorous skit where my main character PI Dana Bowman interviews his main character Dr. Peter Martins. Klaus was lucky as he could appear in his dress suit. I had to alter my appearance. I have long brown-grey hair and wear glasses. Dana has short black hair and doesn’t wear glasses. At least we are both short in height.
I pulled my hair into a ponytail and shoved it under a cap. The glasses went and I buttoned up my sweater and made it look like a sweat shirt – one of Dana’s wardrobe items. I kept my black slacks and black shoes but carried that big shoulder bag mentioned earlier and a sketch pad. Dana sketches while interviewing people. I can’t draw to save my life.
But I could see without the glasses and didn’t trip going up or down the stage stairs this time.
Afterwards the spontaneous dinner arrangements got a little hectic. Paintbox Bistro was closing for the day, so we decided on a Thai restaurant nearby. Shane and Sarah from Blue Denim Press were packing up everything and going to drive to meet us there. Another couple of friends, Sheila and Rod drove. My friend Bob, Martin, Juni and I walked there.
The restaurant was closed on Sundays. We made another choice. But couldn’t text Shane or Sarah to let them know because I didn’t bring their cell phone numbers with me. So the frantic activity began with Martin rushing back to Paintbox and texting Juni back that it was closed and no one was there. Meantime Sheila and Rob had arrived. So when Martin returned we devised a plan. Sheila and Rob would drive to the other restaurant; Bob wanted to walk, and Martin, Juni and I would wait outside the closed restaurant for Shane and Sarah. We waited and waited. Then Juni and I walked to the new restaurant and Martin waited.
Bob, Sheila and Rob were seated in the restaurant when we arrived. A couple of minutes later the other three walked in.
Really, my organization skills are better than this. They have to be because the book launch is only a part of promoting your book.
And more on that in future posts. Meantime click on my book cover above – it will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at www.bluedenimpress.com.
And check my website www.samcraw.com – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.
Sharon A. Crawford