Thank you, Heffers! What a wonderful shop, and a wonderful evening.

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It’s important to me to mark the occasion of  a new book. It’s too easy for the day itself to be nothing remarkable. Suddenly the book is there in the shops, and available online, and hopefully there are reviews popping up. But at home, the day is just as usual. Today my books came out in the UK, and I did laundry. That’s why I’m so glad I had a party earlier this week.

Launch parties have more value than just the evening itself. The process of inviting people is an opportunity to share what’s going on–the pre-release reviews, the excitement–without sounding braggy. You’re offering something (a party!), after all, not just announcing. Sharing an invitation is a lot more tactful than sharing buy links. I do go ahead and share good news and, yes, even reviews and buy links with my non-local friends, but with the party I feel more free.

The party has value after as well, even with those who weren’t able to come. “How did it go?” and “I’m so happy for you!” start lovely conversations that wouldn’t have existed without the party itself.

All that said, the organizing/inviting process is also stressful. I find it helps to send an early invitation 6-8 weeks in advance, then a reminder invitation about 2 weeks in advance. Some people are planners and need lead time; others won’t be able to consider RSVPing until much closer to the date. My preference would be to assume that few will come and then be happily surprised by big numbers, but that could leave the shop unprepared. So, I had to be brutally realistic in my expectations, risking feeling foolish if the numbers were way off. A week before, I was still chasing up RSVPs and feeling frustrated, but it turns out that many of the delayed replies were from friends trying to overcome schedule clashes, which was very kind of them. On the day itself, it turned out pretty much as I had guessed from the start: about 100 adults and 30 kids, which rocks by any standard (especially on a Tuesday night!). I’m very grateful to all who came to share the day.

Also grateful to delightful author Helen Moss, who kindly came to do a talk for the children while I talked to the adults. For my last book party, getting babysitters was a problem for guests. This way, the kids were themselves welcome guests.

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I loved talking about the books, and getting laughs and other reactions in all the right places.

I loved being introduced by my publisher and by my favorite bookseller.

I loved seeing all those books! I signed so many that I got a blister on my finger.

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Thanks, everyone. It was a good day.

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