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.
I have been to a couple virtual launch parties, with Tess Thompson and Brenda Novak.
Virtual ones can be fun, too.
I love reading about these first launches!
Yes, when Death by Blue Water launched I had a Facebook Launch Party. I was so excited when the book hit #1 in its category on Amazon during the launch!
That’s awesome, Kait!
I can’t remember if it was an official launch party or not, but I believe when Rhys Bowen and Lucy Burdette had books released on the same day, they had a signing event at Brookline Booksmith in Massachusetts. I think it was billed as a launch party. Edith was there as well as Hank Phillippi Ryan, Hallie Ephron and Julia Spencer-Fleming. Oh, and Kristopher Zgorski from Bolo Books was on hand too.
That’s right! I have been to a number of launches at Brookline Booksmith – but haven’t held one there yet.
I’ve been to book launch parties on line, but never had the opportunity to do so in person. Living in a very small town and one without a bookstore other than our very small library, sadly there’s not much hope of it either.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
I hope you can get to one sometime after the world opens up and your resume your travels, Kay.
I’ve attended several book launches in-person and I enjoy them. Being there to support the authors and buying their books. I like when the have the Q&A because you learn a little more about the book and the process.
Q&A is most of the fun!
I usually hold my events at Mystery Lovers because it’s a good way to support them (since they’ve been huge supporters of our Sisters in Crime chapter since its inception).
My first launch was for ROOT OF ALL EVIL in 2018. I had a cake with my book cover on it from a local bakery (friend Annette Dashofy picked it up for me and there’s a story there). I had red wine (the favorite beverage of Sally Castle) and Edmund Fitzgerald stout (Jim Duncan’s favorite beer). There was food. One of my best friends from college drove from Bradford, PA to surprise me. One of my co-workers showed up. The store was packed (I was nervous about that) and they sold out.
But the best part was walking into the store and seeing a display shelf with my book on it. That was a dream come true.
I know what you mean, Liz! Ya can’t beat it.
I have never been to a book launch, but it sounds fun! I love these stories about all things book-ish. I would love to see a blog post where you all talk about how you met and formed The Wickeds. As a newer subscriber, I’m very curious! Happy Hump Day 🙂
Great idea, Shanna! We are happy to have you.
Shanna, you are the lucky winner of Speaking of Murder! Please check your email, and congratulations.
My first book was FALLEN STAR, which came out in 2013. We reserved a room at a local restaurant and invited friends and family. Since it was an ebook only release, my wife ordered a cake with the book cover on it. We also had a framed print of the book cover that folks could sign. It is a precious keepsake from the event and I have it hanging in the room where I write. Great memories!
What a great way to celebrate!
I’ve only attended launch parties on Facebook. Never attended one in person.
I hope you can one day, Laurie. They are a lot of fun.
I have been to a number of book release parties, both for first books by authors I didn’t know and for books by authors who were already “friends” through previous books. I really enjoy author events, have attended some virtually over the past year and look forward to live events when things are safer.
I think we all look forward to in -person events again, Judith!
I’ve been to a number of book launch parties over the years. Sadly, they seemed to be dying out even before 2020 started. Either that, or I just don’t know the cool bookstores in the LA area any more since all of our mystery bookstores have closed down. 🙁 It was those mystery bookstores where I would attend launch parties and other book signings over the years, and where I found so many of the authors I would read.
Those in person events really do help readers find you.
I agree, Mark.
I’ve never been a book launching party, but I’ve gone to lots of book signings, including ones where the author spoke for a while giving a lot of background to the books. Thoroughly enjoyed them.
I would love to win your book, Edith. I think it is about the only one of all the Wickeds’ books I don’t have!
Sigings with comments are almost as fun!
The only launch party I’ve been privileged to attend, was for the final Harry Potter book. It was at the Borders (remember them?) near my home. I had a great time and was sorry I’d never attended before. I can’t imagine the thrill an author must feel with their 1st book. Congratulations to you all for reaching that milestone.
Wow, that must have been fun, Catherine. It IS a thrill!
I’ve never been to a launch party and have only met one author. Candace DeLong is a former FBI profiler whole does commentary on true crime and hosts some true crime shows. She gave a talk and had her book there with her, so I bought that and got it signed. They even made a Lifetime movie about her, played by Jean Smart. email@example.com
That’s so cool, Kara!
I’ve been to book launch parties online but never in person
I hope you can get to one someday.
I launched my first book at a small bookstore. It was so fun to see friends (even an old high school acquaintance) from different areas of my life attend.
Whenever asked, I do try to attend others’ book launches. I’ve attended one at a park and at a restaurant. Recently, I’ve participated in virtual ones via Instagram or Crowdcast or Zoom. I’m happy to lend support when I can!
That’s awesome, Jennifer.
I’ve been to probably a double-handful of author’s talks, but I cannot now remember which of them might have been a book launch. Chestertown, MD has a number of authors and poets and, pre-COVID, back in the day when I could still drive at night, if there was a book lecture in the area, I was there.
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