Bonnie Schroeder and I became friends when we were in the same writers group. This wasn't the kind of group that read and critiqued each others' work. We met to share our progress and our process. Here's Bonnie, to share what happens next:
SPEAKING OUT...IN PUBLIC
When my novel, Mending Dreams, was published, I realized I would be expected to go out into the world and talk about the book.
Oh, the horror!
I once read that people fear public speaking more than death. We'd rather die than give a speech in public.
One of the first things I did, and the smartest, was to join a Toastmasters club that focuses on writers. What a find! These people can make public speaking fun. Seriously.
My first chance to put those new skills to work came when Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse offered to host my book launch. I joined their Brown Bag Book Club years ago, but I never anticipated that my book would be on their radar!
So, how do you do a book launch, especially when you don't have the resources of a big publishing house? You do it with a lot of help, a lot of luck, and a visit to Costco.
My cousin Marilyn is a former event planner, and she jumped into this project and recruited her daughter-in-law Morgan to help. They advised me on the refreshment menu (simple things that guests could easily manage: cheese, crackers, white wine—so spills don't show up on the carpet—and of course plenty of water). The night of the launch, they set up the refreshment table and served up the food so I could be free to mingle and enjoy.
My pal Jayne is an accomplished photographer, and she signed on to photo-document the launch. The end result: a treasure trove of photos to savor—and to post on social media.
I promoted the launch shamelessly, handing out flyers everywhere. I posted it on my website, Facebook and Goodreads. I invited everyone I know: friends and family, members of my Tai Chi class and my dog club, my neighbors. I sent press releases to local newspapers, emphasizing the "local author" angle.
Then I drove myself nuts practicing my "speech," and finding just the right piece of the novel to read, then timing it all. I started to stress out, until this thought occurred: the people coming would be friends, even if I didn't know them. They'd be folks who like to read and would know or want to know about me and my book.
The launch itself was a crazy collision of all my different worlds, and I had the best time ever! I put my inner control freak on hold and looked out at all my friends in the audience. Then I took a deep breath and started talking about why I wrote the book, the challenges I overcame, my writing process.
I heard laughter and applause at the right places, and you know what? It was so much fun that I'm working like crazy to get another book published so I can do it all over again.
Bonnie signs my copy of Mending Dreams.