It’s Your Book; It’s Your Party

Well, our official topic this week is lauch parties and swag. I think I’m the only member of our 2020 class who got a launch party. Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes released on Feburary 2nd. Covid was front-page news at that point, but it still seemed awfully far away. No one here in Minneapolis fully grasped the threat.

Me on the left; Gretchen on the right!

At my launch, 150 people jammed into my local indie. Gretchen Anthony appeared with me. I requested the “in conversation” (100% recommend for anxious people who don’t want to be responsible for writing a 30-minute solo speech on one of the biggest nights of their lives).  I wore a fabulous new dress and  borrowed a statement necklace. I’d had my hair cut. One of my lifelong friends walked in, gestured at my whole person, and said, “There’s no way you dressed yourself.” She was right. My styist friend had designed the entire ensemble. At home, my suitcase was packed for a six-city tour, for which I left later that week.

It’s hard to believe that just six weeks later, everything around here changed so dramatically with no sign of recovery even six months later. When we started locking down, I thought we’d be counting quarantine in weeks. Now, disappointment is more routine, I guess. I don’t even expect things to happen anymore.

So, the long and the short of it is, I don’t have any great advice about launching and swag in 2020 or in 2021. Our circumstances are so different and more uncertain that in the previous years. One thing I’m really glad about is that I made a huge deal of the book release, which writers can still do even if the in-person party is an impossibility. It’s hard to write a book! It’s hard to get it published! And it’s a big deal. Whatever launches look like in the coming year, do yours big.

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Kathleen West

Kathleen West is the author of the forthcoming novel, Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes, out 2/4/20 from Berkley. She lives in Minneapolis with her family.