I’m a worrier. As Sunday, July 8, the date of my book launch party for my novel Up Beaver Creek approached, I kept thinking about all the things that could go wrong. I’d get sick. My father would get sick. The notice wouldn’t get in the newspapers. The cake would not be ready. My copies of the book would not come in time. Nobody would come. It has happened before, and I was competing with the county fair, a rally to support justice for immigrants, and summer vacation.
I knew I was doomed when Sheryl from the library called me late Friday to tell me there had been a mistake and the meeting room had been double-booked. Oh no! But I had told everybody, what would I do? Panic! She said she would ask the other, smaller group to use the conference room. Still, as I approached the library yesterday, I prayed. “Please, please, please, God.” By then, I had the cake, I had the books, and I had assurances from friends that they were coming. But still . . .
I entered the library upstairs, said hello to the boy and girl sculpture by the door, waved to a friend, and hurried down the stairs, still praying the other group would not be in the room. What if . . . ?
Breathe out. The room was empty. Librarian Jan was ready for me with a sign-in form and a key to the storage room so I could get out the chairs and the coffee pot. Thank God.
What followed was the book party of my dreams. Friends and strangers poured in. We needed more chairs. They liked my talk. They laughed at my jokes. They praised my writing. They bought my book and lined up for autographs. I even got the flowers I had fantasized about, thanks to sweet friend Ashley. Friends stepped up to help with book sales, setting up chairs, and serving cake, which everyone said was delicious. Thank you, JC Market.
This might sound weird, but it was like getting all the acclaim the deceased might receive at a funeral but being alive to enjoy it. Writing is a lonely business in which rejections far outnumber acceptances for most of us. Bad reviews will come. Sales will slow to a trickle. But I’ll be feeding off the validation of this book launch for a long time.
Last night as Annie and I finished our short limp around the block, a friend called to tell me she had already read 100 pages and was loving the book. Wow. Something I wrote did that?
I’m so blessed. I just keep thanking God.
Up Beaver Creek is available at Amazon.com and should be available for order through your local bookstores via Ingram. (Somebody try it and see if it works.) I need to set up more talks and readings and spread the book far and wide. It will give me more to worry about, but publicity and marketing are part of the writing business these days. Your suggestions are welcome.
Thank you to everyone who helped, especially Pat, Trish, Sandy, Ashley, and Sheryl. You rock.