Discover more from Brooke Lea Foster's Dear Fiction
Behind the Scenes at My Book Party
How and why I celebrated the paperback release of On Gin Lane.
The hardcover release of a novel is THE STAR: You go on tour. Media round-ups may include your novel on summer reading lists. But when the paperback releases, many times publishers (and authors) do so with a yawn. However, my novel On Gin Lane (as you know) has a new cover, a new book club guide, even new copy on the back cover, so there was something to celebrate. So I thought: Why not throw a paperback launch party?
To keep costs down, I planned something simple. I invited 50 of my closest neighbors and friends in the tight-knit community where I live — and I had the event at my house. Instead of overthinking decorations, I placed my novels in stacks all around the house as decor. After buying a couple of bundles of loose flowers (rather than pricey bouquets), I placed beautiful assortments of spring and summer blooms throughout. And since it’s summer, I offered everyone rose´ and put out a crudite´ and dessert platter. Here are a couple of pics before guests arrived. I was so happy to find sunflowers and hydrangeas.
I honestly think it was one of the best parties I ever had and it’s because I kept everything easy rather than fussing too much. These are all book people, too, so everyone had lots to say.
Of course, I stressed about which dress to wear and had to call my friend Kelsa to come do a wardrobe consult. The navy eyelet mini dress was chosen because it was confident, summery and would allow the book to pop against it when photos went up on social media. I think it was the best choice. Thank you, Kelsa! (That’s Kelsa with the short straight hair and stripes.)
About 45 minutes into the party, we gathered guests together to say a few words. My co-author at Dear Fiction Nancy Fann-Im (who just did a great post) introduced me with a lovely speech, although I don’t have pictures of it, while I nervously got ready to speak. Nancy said how she knew my writing before she knew me and how she’s read my books when they were nothing but Word documents and how cool it was to see them morph and grow. (Thank you, Nance!) Then it was my turn to talk. I said I was so grateful to everyone for coming.
I said I was thankful that they were all the people who I see at school drop-off and pick-up, the people who come up to me on the sidewalk to say they loved the book or have a copy of the book or they’re at a certain part in the book. They’re the ones who I run into reading the novel at the town pool. I said thank you to the friends in the group who read early terrible versions of my books — and friends who make a big deal out of any book signing or event that I do. The members of my book club are insanely supportive, choosing my book to read as a group and clapping and cheering upon hearing that ON GIN LANE was named a Best Summer Book by People Magazine or a “Must Read Book of Summer” by Town and Country. These are friends that snap photos of my books in airports or bookshops around the country as they travel. They are the people who are nothing but happy for you.
The night marched on with bookish chatter. One guest shared with me the stack of novels on her nightstand. Another told me how she just read Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld and how much she loved it. (I’m also loving it!) Our next book club pick is Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson, so some friends wanted to chat about that, too. (I’m also reading The Foundling by Ann Leary and The Half Moon by Mary-Beth Keane. I went to a Mary Beth Keane reading last night and I adore her as much as her writing. My daughter even drew her a replica of her new novel’s cover. But I digress…)
We did a book giveaway — my son walked around the party getting everyone to put their name in for the drawing, and he was so adorable getting everyone’s attention and announcing the winner. Then people bought several copies of the book, and I signed them, which is always a joy. As guests began to leave, people thanked me for including them. “I didn’t know what to expect at a book party,” one said, “and this was really fun.”
It was fun. And easy. And you know, we all need good news to celebrate sometimes. So if you have a reason to throw a party, do it. Just keep it simple!
Thanks for reading Dear Fiction! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.