Oddly enough, I didn’t put a lot of advance thought into how I would spend my launch day. At first, I thought I’d do the usual: go to a few bookstores, look for my book, take some pictures, maybe scream a little, get overwhelmed, and then maybe take my book out for a beer (as I did when I first got my ARCs).
But because I was lucky enough to have a soft launch at the amazing Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul a week and a half ago, I’d already seen a bunch of copies of my books on bookstore displays — and better yet, seen every copy of the book be sold by the end of the night. Amazing! (And thanks again to the dear Minnesotans who showed up that night!)
So then I thought: these last few weeks have been absolutely insane; I’ve been so incredibly busy I’ve been dealing with projects on a triage basis; I’m totally stressed and what I could really use is a nice long day of just focusing on my book and my launch stuff.
But then my intuition stepped forward and said, Honeychild, that is a dumb way to spend your launch day.
Ahhh, my intuition. I’ve been following it for years — it’s the voice that told me when it was time to move to Chicago, when the book was ready to find an agent, when I should fight for the book and when I should back off. My intuition doesn’t speak up all that often, but when it does, I generally listen.
And my intuition said that spending the day hunched over my laptop was a lame way to celebrate the launch of my debut novel!
So instead of taking a day to work even harder on launching the book, setting up events, and promoting myself, I gave myself permission to take the day OFF. And — as so frequently happens when your intuition starts guiding you — as soon as I made the decision I knew it was the right one.
Not only did I take the day off, but I went to the ZOO (the good zoo — Chicago has two: one’s fine, and the other is great) with my best friend from college, the one who read the very first chapters of this book as I wrote them, the one who kept emailing demanding MORE, who encouraged me to keep going and whose support helped me to finish the first draft.
You guys, it was a perfect spring day here in Chicago, sunny and green, the best possible zoo weather. I spent an hour checking email/facebook/twitter/etc when I got up, then threw on a tee-shirt & jeans (another perk of spending the day at the zoo — low stakes wardrobe) and went to pick up my BFF, who ambushed me with camera & copies of the book that had just arrived on the doorstep, so I signed some books, then we grabbed coffee & headed out to the burbs. Spent the drive talking about the book, managed to check my email only a few times at the zoo, and spent the rest of the time watching and learning about animals — feeding my inner writer — and having adventures. Then back home for more email, a third bouquet of flowers delivered to my door, and finally dinner (& cheesecake!) with friends.
All in all, a pretty sweet way to celebrate!
PLUS — all those email breaks? Tons of emails, FB messages, and Twitter notes of congratulations & support. SO GREAT.
I have nonstop events in the weeks to come, and I have a feeling I’m going to be drawing on the relaxation of my Zoo Day for quite a while! Thanks, intuition!
ps. We’re giving away a signed copy of The Princesses of Iowa to one lucky commenter this week? If you ask nicely, I’ll even draw a zoo animal in it!
M. Molly Backes
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