Or is it?
One of the strangest realities of publishing is how lonely your book launch experience can be. It’s something you’ve worked toward for years, it’s such a thrill, and then… what? You sit by the phone on pub day, on your own. You wait for the call from TODAY or the New York Times Book Review. Or Holly wood. And? Silence.
Who do you commiserate with? Your launch community.
One of the best outcomes of helping to run Launch Lab at Grub Street was the tight knit, supportive community that was created by bringing these first time authors together. You can do it too: If you have a book coming out, find some local authors you can team up with and create your own community. There’s real power in being alone together.
We have a Facebook page going where our Launch Labbers keep in touch with questions, helpful links, high-fives, and conversation about the state of the industry. Here’s what they have to say about finding their peeps:
1. A launch community has your back
“Even within an already great organization like Grub Street, Launch Labbers are unique because they have weathered a pivotal professional time with you and that creates a lasting bond.” Marjan Kamali, Together Tea
“There’s an incredible well of kindness in this group and it’s so nice to feel that support and also to give it.” Susan Kaplan Carlton, Love and Haight
2. A launch community gives you permission to gloat
“There for you when you want to brag a little and even more so when you’re feeling insecure as hell and need some support.” ML Nichols, The Parent Backpack
3. A launch community gives you permission to bitch
“Sometimes it’s hard to complain to non-authors. They think, “You should be grateful, your book has come out, your dream has come true,” etc. And while they’re correct… it’s not quite the same as hanging out with people who really, really, understand how frustrating it can be when a blogger or reviewer tells niggling fibs about your book because they’ve (clearly) only skimmed it; and all of the little snubs and slights we put up with all the time, which somehow sting, even though they’re largely beyond our control.” Ilan Mochari, Zinsky the Obscure
“So true– if you dare utter a word of frustration about the publishing world to non authors, you can practically see their eyeballs rolling backwards.” ML Nichols, The Parent Backpack
4. A launch community answers questions you’re too embarrassed to ask anyone else
“I CANNOT imagine having to go through a launch without Launch Lab or my compatriots and their wisdom (also their questions and insecurities that tell me it’s really normal to go through nine emotions in five seconds or to be unsure of what markings to use when correcting a proof). The publishing industry, when faced alone, seems hard and prickly and capricious–and much less so when you have a community and “well of kindness” from which to draw.” Maria Mutch, Know the Night
“There’s great comfort in being able to hive-mind questions both mundane and profound (where to print bookmarks, what can I expect of a publicist; how to build a ‘brand’ and how to decide whether you’re even the brand-type). For mock-interview/one-liner purposes, it was great to have a beta group to try (and try) out different ideas.” Susan Kaplan Carlton, Love and Haight
As we enter another exciting Launch Lab this year with a fascinating and talented–and somewhat overwhelmed–group of debut authors, we wish you all the best with your own launches, too. Just know that it is possible to feel more in control of the process, to be more proactive and less uncertain, and to have some great fun along the way.