“It Was All So Different Before Everything Changed.”
Last night I was scanning through the posts written last spring and in the early summer. At that point, I was deeply focused on edits–doing them myself, waiting for the results of someone else doing them, blogging about the importance of submitting our work to professional editors, reviewing the edited proofs, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera–for both Separation of Faith and the re-edited version of The Truth About Cinnamon (which is still in the final proofing stage, by the way). And my words were directed a few times to the fact that I was growing tired of that part of the writing process and feeling anxious to move on to the next stage.
Well, here I am, in that next stage. And with my book launch party less than a week away (Thursday, September 23), this is what I’ve been doing this week:
- On Monday, I met with the printer about the T-shirts and shopping bags I’m having made for the book launch party and subsequent book events currently being scheduled in the area. The shopping/book bags (canvas) will have Separation of Faith‘s cover printed on one side. The T-shirts will have the cover on the front and the following excerpt on the back (except the paragraphs will be properly formatted, single spaced, indents on first line, no extra line space between paragraphs, none of which can be done in this blog format):
… “Chronological order, huh? Well, that might not be as easy as you’d think. But I guess the front end musta been on Saturday, October 23, 1948.”
Isaiah put his fork down on his plate and studied Zeke’s face. “You remember the date and the day of the week?”
“That’s what I said. You got a hearing problem?”
“Is that when you met Abby?”
“Yup. Everybody’s got a fork-in-the-road story, you know. And that was mine. Got up that morning, just like always. Ate breakfast just like always too. Didn’t wear my overalls, though, ‘cause we was going into Charlotte. Put on my go-to-meeting jeans and a clean shirt that I even ironed. Guess I should a seen it coming, but I didn’t. All I know is that nothing ‘bout my life—and I mean nothing, not even the color of the damn sky—was ever the same after that day.”
- The T-shirts and bags will be for sale at a very nominal fee, but I’ll also be giving a number of them away in raffles at the book launch party. And anyone who buys three or more books will automatically get a book bag. (I’ll also be giving away a lunch with me, so we’ll have to see whether or not that’s a particularly exciting prospect for anyone. 🙂 …)
- At the local Party City store, I bought rolls of raffle/50-50 tickets. In addition to the T-shirt/book bag/lunch giveaways, I’ll also be holding a special 50-50 at my book launch party to benefit my Rotary club’s scholarship fund.
- While at Party City, I picked up a helium canister to fill the 50 balloons that will be anchored at each table. So, of course, I also had to buy the balloons and balloon anchors. The anchors are sort of a sea blue, shiny with ribbon fringe on top. The balloons are powder blue, cobalt blue, and white, all of which coordinate with the book’s cover. Three balloons (one of each color and secured with white ribbon) will be tied to the anchors on the eleven round tables plus the reception table, the book sales table, the T-shirt/bag table, and the table where I’ll sign autographs. (There will also be a podium where I’ll do a couple of quick readings at some point.)
- I picked up a big container of glitter too, to sprinkle over the white tablecloths. At the book launch party, which will be from 4:00-7:00 on the 23rd, we’ll be serving cocktail appetizers. There will be a cash bar, but every book purchase will get a free drink. The video book trailer (www.YouTube.com/cherilaser) will be playing in a loop on a huge laptop screen at the book sales table. There will be other music as well throughout the room. My current music phase is doo wop, but we’ll see how I’m feeling on the 23rd. 🙂 Pictures and videos of the event will be posted on this blog by the 25th or 26th.
- About seven hours this week were spent sending out announcement emails containing links to the video trailer and this blog. Because I’ve lived and worked all over the country and have only been here in the New York Metro area of New Jersey for ten years, the majority of people that I know personally all live somewhere else. And they’re all getting their own announcement emails, because that’s what the “experts” suggest is the best and most appropriate approach (versus a blanket email that goes out to everyone at once). Guess we’ll learn eventually if that approach turns out to be the most effective. But I must admit that it’s been giving me an opportunity to say hi to lots of folks I don’t get to talk with very often.
- Today I have to meet with a new client about an editing job (oh yeah, that make-a-living thing too) that I’ll be doing for her, and then I’ll come back to my home office to do more emails. I also need to make several signs and posters for the book launch party–and I want to make them generic enough to use at other book events. Then there will be a few phone calls to managers/proprietors of various local establishments where I want to hold events over the next month. And, finally, I’ll need to start booking my travel arrangements for the trip to San Francisco and Kettle Falls, Washington that I’ll be making in October (the first stop for an IBM reunion, and the second tied in for a book event, because Kettle Falls is a key locale in Separation of Faith).
So, last spring I’d grown itchy about moving on into the promotional elements of publishing a book, impatient with the seemingly endless process of shepherding a book through production and into print. But you know what? I haven’t even held my first event yet, and my next book is clamoring to get out of me.
True, as writers in this new age of publishing, we are all responsible for promoting our own books whether we publish traditionally or not. But, in the end, the process of writing–the nuts and bolts of our craft where we pull ideas from our imaginations and weave them into stories that bring hours of reading pleasure (hopefully) to those who take a chance on us–simply will not accept second billing beneath promotion for very long.
The next challenge will be figuring out how to create a balance than enables me to create a brand new book from scratch while selling another (actually, while selling two others) at the same time. And you’ll be in the front row while we see how all of that works out. 🙂
Have a terrific weekend!