4 Surprising (And Gratifying) Book Release Party Moments

This this the Debs are talking about book launches.

I gotta say, the posts so far have been really informative.

Crystal gave 10 tips for the best launch ever

Amy hilariously listed out the dos and don’ts of a launch party

Lynn talks about keeping it simple at a hometown reading

And spoiler alert: Tiffany has 7 more tips for ya coming tomorrow.

So, I thought I’d talk about some of the things that surprised me from my launch party, with more of an emotional tilt. I had my event on the Saturday after my release, choosing a date/time that I hoped was convenient for friends and family. I didn’t think most of them would’ve been able to attend a weeknight outing, as my local indie is about an hour or more from most of them.

So what surprised me?

1. People genuinely wanted to hear what I had to say. I’ve always been hesitant to talk to family and friends about my book because I honestly didn’t think they’d be interested. I don’t mean that in a negative way toward my friends or family, but this dream of mine naturally means more to me than to them. And, since my IRL people didn’t typically ask about my book stuff, I typically didn’t offer. BUT, at my release party, everyone’s interest was insanely heartwarming. I had aunts and uncles there, friends I’ve had since 7th grade, college friends, my book bestie, neighbors, friends through my husband, my grandparents, my cousin, my parents, my husband and kiddos, and some surprises (see #2). Instead of getting up and doing this big ol’ presentation, I did a very casual Q&A. The questions kept coming and coming. Everyone wanted to know about my inspiration behind the book, what went into writing it, my journey to publication, what goes into publishing a book, information about the industry, what I’m working on next, when they can buy what I’m working on next, etc. It was almost as if all the questions I’ve ever wanted friends/family to ask about my book life happened on this one wonderful afternoon. And, they were genuinely impressed. It meant a lot. Thank you all for coming, and also braving the torrential downpour.

2. People I wasn’t expecting to see showed up. I will say that I invited a handful of friends/family who didn’t acknowledge my mailed invitation or the release of my book. That hurt. But, I had many moments that squashed those feelings of disappointment. One such moment began after my husband posted about my book release party on LinkedIn. Then, at my event, in walks our broker and our realtor from years ago. They didn’t tell us they were coming, but they just showed up. It made me smile because, years ago, when our realtor was showing us houses, he was doing his routine questions about our occupations and such, and I told him my aspirations of being published. At that point in time I was on submission, with everything crossed that I’d get a book deal. At my release party, my realtor said to me, “You did it. You spoke so passionately about this goal, and you did it. I hope you are immensely proud of yourself.” Best realtor ever. I also had a few people who happened to come into the shop who ended up sitting down and asking a question or two. That was cool.

3. My grandmother gave a speech. Right in the middle of me talking, my grandmother asked me to stop, she stood up, and she did her thang. It was very touching and I’m very fortunate my grandfather and her celebrated this milestone with me. Bless her heart, my grandmother is starting to lose her short-term memory, and she did her thang at least three times.

4. My kinds behaved. Especially, after eating a hoard of cookies. It’s funny, though, because my original goal was to have a book published before I ever had kids. Things didn’t quite go as planned (i.e. it took years and years longer than my Type A personality mapped out for myself). My daughter is nearly four and my son is a year old. But, having them at the event was sweet and I’m glad they’ll be part of those memories. My daughter was quick to point out, “That’s my mommy’s book.” And my son marched around the room, pausing when he heard my voice, waving and loudly saying, “Hi!”

It was a very emotionally rewarding and special day. I’m very thankful for such a great afternoon and the most welcoming Indie, Newtown Bookshop.


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Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years ​chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. BECOMING BONNIE (Tor Forge/Macmillan, 5/9/2017) is her debut novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. SIDE BY SIDE, telling Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree story, will be released in the summer of 2018. Please learn more about Jenni's books at jennilwalsh.com.