Snapshots of a Book Launch: Part 1
What's launching your book really like?
By Katrin Schumann
Your first event is with a panel of authors in front of a crowd of 200 people. You buy new lipstick and pray your voice doesn’t quiver.
The alarm rings at 5am. The Uber doesn’t turn up. On the road late!
Within three days of your book launch, you catch a cold and lose your voice. It's so bad that you have to postpone your big radio interview.
You begin getting messages from the contact form on your website. They are so nice they make you cry.
At a library, you read aloud from your novel and notice a man in the second row. He has his arms crossed, propped up on his belly: he’s sleeping.
You feel sincere love for the people in the audience who are nodding along as you talk.
You read your first terrible review. That review goes on to get almost 300 likes and remains at the top of all your reviews for the next few months.
It’s after midnight and you’re buzzing with adrenaline. No way you can sleep.
The alarm rings at 4:45am. The cab driver loves books. On time this time!
You’re on a Facebook author group that makes you feel either either really, really psyched about marketing or like you want to commit suicide.
During an interview, the host keeps saying “That’s great, that’s great…” and talking about your Amazon reviews. He hasn’t read the book.
You’ve promised to deliver a blog post, and you just can’t write it; too raw. You decide that sometimes you can’t deliver what you promise.
During another interview, you get into it so deeply that you talk for an extra half hour.
You do a reading with three friends (see picture) and it's a highlight of your book tour.
You forget to turn on the air conditioning during a Skype interview. It takes everything you’ve got not to wipe off the sweat that’s trickling down your face.
You feel a deep bond with other debut novelists. There’s a lot of love going around.
The bookstore where you’re reading one night doesn’t have copies of your book to sell.
You obsess over another author who has more reviews, more interviews, more respect than you. For the millionth time you tell yourself: Comparison is the thief of joy.
You are not writing.
You love doing events with other authors; you feel like they have your back.
Old friends you haven’t seen in decades reach out to tell you how much they loved your book.
Some of your closest friends don’t read it, and don’t mention it.
You have never worked so hard in your life. You get your second cold in six weeks.
Your daughter texts you that she just saw someone walking through Grand Central Station during rush hour while reading your book.
You’re not a New York Times Bestseller.
A stranger tells you she stayed up all night reading your book. She is sobbing. She hugs you. “I will always, always be your fan,” she says.
You have fans!
Launch is over.
You get back to writing.
Katrins's book is an Amazon Charts and Washington Post Bestseller--find out more here.
Katrin Schumann is the author of The Forgotten Hours (Lake Union, 2019), a Washington Post bestseller; This Terrible Beauty, a novel about the collision of love, art and politics in 1950s East Germany (March, 2020); and numerous nonfiction titles. She is the program coordinator of the Key West Literary Seminar. For the past ten years she has been teaching writing, most recently at GrubStreet and in the MA prison system, through PEN New England. Before going freelance, she worked at NPR, where she won the Kogan Media Award. Katrin has been granted multiple fiction residencies. Her work has been featured on TODAY, Talk of the Nation, and in The London Times, as well as other national and international media outlets, and she has a regular column on GrubWrites. Katrin can also be found at katrinschumann.com, and on Twitter and Instagram: @katrinschumann.See other articles by Katrin Schumann