I'm a Published Author!
So you've written a novel; now what? In this series, debut author-to-be Crystal King describes the traditional publication process from start to finish: the lead-up, what to expect along the way, and how building her social media platform has made a difference. In this installment of "On the Path to Publication" Crystal talks about the the launch of her debut novel, FEAST OF SORROW.
My agent gave me a gift on Tuesday night after my book launch. The card read, "To Crystal King, published author." A rush ran through me. That's me! I'm a published author! My debut novel, FEAST OF SORROW, is out in the world now, in bookstores across the country and online. It's crazy to see the photos from friends in far flung places with the book in their hands, having picked it up in Atlanta, in Seattle, in Buffalo, NY.
Over the last year I've read a lot from other authors about book launches, what type of pen to sign with (something archival), the length of time to read, etc. Plus I've been to many launches and readings in my lifetime. I thought that I would be prepared for what to expect. And I was, but only about the details of it all, the tactical pieces. It was everything else that blew me away, including:
- My Twitter and Facebook feeds blowing up. Every ten minutes I'd look up and see that I had another 50 notifications to look at.
- The number of far flung friends posting photos of my book that they had picked up in bookstores across the country.
- How many emails that start flying into my inbox.
- How many people would skip the launch because of the torential rain and ridiculous traffic snarl (but I still had an awesome turnout!)
- How setting up a phone to livestream on FB was not so easy with a big stage like they have at the library
- The questions asked that I wasn't prepared for (but fortunately had an answer to)
- How awesome the food that Strip-T's restaurant brought...well, maybe I had a good feeling it would be awesome but they went above and beyond.
- How long the lines were for me to sign my book.
- How I forgot to have someone give me cues to wrap up my speaking.
- How awesome the Porter Square books team was (ok, I also knew they were likely going to be awesome).
- How grateful I was for the little post it notes with people's names on them...even people I've known forever became a blur in my mind when it came to names after I signed so many.
- How hard it was to think of things to say beyond my stock phrases when someone I love dearly was standing in front of me having a book signed.
- How exhausted I would be the day after my book launch.
- How obsessed I would be with my Amazon reviews and rankings (ok, I expected that).
- How lucky I am that the reviews that come in have been so good. I am truly lucky to be able to move readers so much with my story.
- How well I was able to keep myself from crying.
- How glad I was that I have the time off to manage everything book related and only worry about the book.
Also, writing a book and pushing it out into the world isn't really a solitary thing. It's the culmination of a lot of hard work, networking, and the support of many many people around me. Over and over in the course of bringing this book out into the world I find that when I took risks, for the most part, they paid off. When I wrote famous, best-selling authors to see if they would donate a book to a giveaway I was doing, they all said yes. When I reached out to chefs, food historians and cookbook authors I've admired to see if they would contribute to the companion cookbook, most said yes.
And that means that the best part of this entire journey for me hasn't been about the book or the writing, but about all of the people that I have met along the way. Being part of debut groups like The Debutante Ball and 17 Scribes. All of my friends at Grub Street (where I met my agent and my writing partners). My editors and team at Touchstone. The authors that I have met, who have answered my questions and cheered me on. The bookstore owners, the festival organizers, librarians. The podcasters, the journalists, the article writers. I love getting to know these people and to widen my circle of friends. I love that all those people now they are part of my personal story and that I am part of theirs.
Champagne toast photo by Flickr photographer Hakee Chang.
Crystal King is a 20-year marketing, social media and communications veteran, freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. She is the author of the FEAST OF SORROW, about the ancient Roman gourmand, Apicius. Crystal has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet writing center. A former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in media res. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at her website: crystalking.comSee other articles by Crystal King