With my launch party for my debut mystery coming up in just one week, I wonder what kind of stories veteran authors have to tell. I've attended quite a few launches in my hometown, New York City, at the Mysterious Bookshop, where my own celebration will take place, at Partners & Crime, where I truly regret not being there the night Chris Grabenstein brought in a cotton candy machine, and at the sorely-missed Black Orchid, where I treasure a memory of Elizabeth Peters sitting on the stoop puffing on a cigarette and disclosing that (1) she didn't start making a living till her tenth book, and (2) she still enjoyed writing Amelia Peabody but was getting awfully tired of the children. So how about it, folks? What's the worst that could happen? What's the best?

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The worst that could happen... well, Woody Allen would have a field day here. Kids crying, no one attending, you name it.

But you don't need me to give you the willies on opening night.

The best? You'll knock their socks off, sell a million books and get a starred review.

Break a leg.
Thanks, K. :)
Best wishes, Elizabeth - nothing unfortunate could possibly happen. It'll be bigger than skyrockets and free beer.
The worst thing that happened to me during my first [and it was a charity book launch] was despite it being held in very grand surroundings -- a castle no less -- no one had thought to provide a table for the signing. But we got around that. We moved back some of the food from the buffet and I took a chair to the end of the table while people queued up to get their books signed.

I so wanted to get things right in front of the mayor, local press, friends and relatives. In the end, it all went very well, even my speech which I had been dreading!

The best was meeting so many people and feeling like a queen for the day. The proceeds from my book were donated to a local cancer charity and a young woman who had been waiting for ages in the queue explained to me that it was her grandmother who had started the charity I now work for. That was amazing.

My best advice would be not to sweat the small stuff and enjoy it! Oh, and improvise like I did if you have to!

Hope you have a good time.

Lynette
Elizabeth, the best thing for me about my latest launch was that it was a party, a celebration with family and friends who came along to support me. The first friend I made in Australia, who I worked with forty years ago, was there, and friends right up to the present, writing friends, teaching friends, neighbours. Children, grandchildren, in-laws. My son, a musician, entertained everyone on his guitar and had all the kids singing and dancing by the end. My daughter provided great food. Having fretted and spent sleepless nights about it beforehand, I really enjoyed it. My book became an incidental to the occasion.

Have a great time and enjoy your time in the spotlight.

Jackie
Actually, I've delegated the sleepless nights to my husband, who is charged with supplying food and a birthday cake. I hope that friends from every period in my life do show up, from those who have known me since I'm born to my current mystery buddies. I'm still looking for a good joke about death and taxes. Otherwise, I'm ready! Liz
Elizabeth,
My book launch is coming up in June, and I have no clue what to do-I think I picked a place, for afternoon coffee and sweets-but what if no one shows up- terrifying prospect. Good luck on yours.
Margot
Margot, I did my best to guarantee someone would show up by sending more than 1300 postcards and several hundred emails inviting everyone I've known for the past 30 or 40 years to the launch/birthday party on Tuesday. I did NOT harvest lists, but I did post the invitation to the various mystery e-lists I'm part of as well as here and MySpace. And I've invited everyone in my local chapters of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. That said, I was a practicing poet for 30 years and have plenty of experience in handling with aplomb the reading to which no one comes. ;) Today I got two great online reviews and two friends at opposite ends of the country told me Amazon had notified them it's shipped the books they pre-ordered. April 15 is my night to howl, and I'm gonna howl no matter how it goes. :) Liz
It was fantastic! More than 60 people showed up, sang Happy Birthday, bought a lot of books, and tasted the book-shaped chocolate birthday cake. And many who couldn't make it sent emails, voice messages, and flowers. I'm still floating. :)
Sounds wonderful, Elizabeth - I'm so glad it went well for you (I knew you'd enjoy it).

Jackie

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