Our theme this week is what we loved about our debut year.
There are so many wonderful moments in a debut year to choose from—from getting that first request for a full manuscript from an agent to the day your sale goes through, to seeing your cover for the first time to holding your book in your hand—but book launch is really hard to top.
The thing about your book launch day is that it is all about celebration. After months of work and striving, months of wrestling with fears about publicity and reviews and sales, your book launch day comes, and all of the anxiety lifts. It is a day to celebrate what you have made and to share it with others.
I spent the morning of my book launch having breakfast with some of my favorite people—my partner Elizabeth, my sister Brenda who had flown in from North Carolina, and two of my dearest friends who flew in from Texas—Chris and his sweetheart Shannon. Chris was sitting next to me in my first writing workshop, where I wrote the first words to The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living. It made my heart full to be with them on such a happy day.
We stopped by Harvard Bookstore on the way to the diner, and saw a copy of The City Baker in the window! Right in the middle! Thrilling!
I spent the afternoon responding to well wishes on Twitter and Facebook in my air conditioned bedroom, which was super cheery.
Then it was time to get ready. I actually hadn’t picked out what I was going to read yet. I couldn’t settle on something. Elizabeth offered several ideas, which I took and was grateful for.
My launch reading was held at Brookline Booksmith, my beloved bookstore of 25+ years. On top of the privilege of reading at Booksmith, I had the honor of writing on the men’s bathroom wall, an author tradition.
Before I went out into the bookstore, the events director had given me the heads up that it was standing room only. I haven’t graduated from college or had a wedding, so this was the first time I was ever at the center of a celebration. I had invited a lot of people. But nothing can prepare you for the incredible feeling of walking into a crowded bookstore full of people you love.
This is the view from the podium.
There are no words to describe how I felt standing in front of all of these people who are so dear to me, many who had helped me get to that very place, like my first writing instructor, J.G. Hayes.
After the reading and book signing, we went to the launch party!
We held the party at a bar around the corner from the bookstore. There was food and drinks and a fiddle player and four different kinds of pie. Somehow I ended up with two cocktails in my hands. The night was a blur of hugs and chatting and my face hurting from smiling. It was a magical night, one that I will never forget.