Because my friends live all over the world, I knew only a handful would be able to attend my book launch no matter where it was held. So I decided to recreate the traditional launch party experience on the Web.

Entertainment for the October 1-3, 2008 event includes video welcomes from David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, James Rollins, and Douglas Preston, a reading by a professional voice actress who's also a New York Times author, standup comedy from one of my author friends - even testimony from a medical doctor regarding the science behind the story's premise. There are door prizes: a boxed set of the BBC's "Planet Earth" series on DVD, bottles of genuine iceberg water, and Penguin Gear from my publisher. And because a book launch party wouldn't be complete without, well, books, two independent booksellers are making signed copies available.

Compared to a real-world book launch, an online party has definite advantages. Where else but on the Internet could my mom hang out with Lee Child? There's no limit to the guest list, work schedules and time zones don't even factor, and perhaps best of all, guests can attend wearing their pajamas.

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