For our next discussion of Firsts, let’s talk about the launch of your first published book. It’s been a few years for all of us. Which book was it? Did you throw a party? Celebrate at home on release day? Have you ever gone back and reread it? Dish, Wickeds. And I, Edith, will give away an ebook copy of Speaking of Murder, my first mystery, now re-released with fresh editing and a new cover!
Julie: Edith, I remember being at the launch of Speaking of Murder! That feels like yesterday, but SO much has happened since. My first published book was Just Killing Time, which I wrote as Julianne Holmes. It was published in 2015, and I did have a party, at the New England Mobile Book Fair. The party was glorious. My friend Courtney made me a clock cookie cake, and so many people from all parts of my life came. My folks sat in the front row, beaming. My niece ran up to me when I came in and said “Aunt Julie, one of the ladies on your bookmark is here!”. Sure enough, Edith was laying out bookmarks on chairs. I haven’t had a launch party since, mostly because I don’t think that one could be topped.
Liz: Kneading to Die was released in 2013, and it was so exciting to see my first book in print and hold it in my hands. I had a lovely party at The Big Biscuit, the pet food bakery in Massachusetts from which I was getting recipes for the book. There were dogs, treats, and my Shaggy even got her own special cake for being part of the book. It was such a great time.
Barb: My first mystery novel, The Death of an Ambitious Woman, was published in 2010. I had a big party at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA. It seemed like every person I had ever told I was writing a book came. Porter Square sold out of books and then sold through the carton I had in the back of my car. It was glorious. I’ve never done a party since. It’s not something I enjoy, generically, and I always worry about my ability to draw a crowd. It feels like a shower for a second baby.
Edith/Maddie: I loved both Julie and Barb’s first-book parties. I remember Julie being at my first launch party, and Barb too? Like at Barb’s launch, the Book Rack in Newburyport sold out of Speaking of Murder, but I knew from friends like her that I should have a box in the car – they sold all those, too. The store had set up about ten chairs. I kept telling them, “I think you’re going to need more chairs.” Some dozens more, as it turned out! Friends from my writing, Quaker, local, tech-writing, farming, and childbirth worlds all came. As Barb said, it was glorious. I’ve had launch parties since, not for every book, but the walking tour for Delivering the Truth, my first Quaker Midwife Mystery, was memorable, with over sixty people walking, listening, and helping me celebrate a new series.
Jessie: I love to throw all sort of parties but my first launch was extra special! I held it at the local library and since the novel featured a protagonist that was as firefighter I themed the food around things that were smiked, melted and charred. I was so touched by all the people who came out to celebrate with me!
Sherry: So interesting that you asked this question this week because I’ve had all kinds of memories popping up on Facebook about the launch for Tagged for Death. I had a big launch at the local Barnes and Noble followed by a signing at a Barnes and Noble in Rockville, Maryland. When I got there two men from Germany were waiting for me to sign books. It was so exciting!
Readers: Have you been to a book launch party, in person or virtual? Writers, share about your first.