A Successful, Grateful Book Launch for The Witch of Zal

After weeks of preparation and hours of angst, my book launch for The Witch of Zal passed in a flurry of pride, amazement, and celebration.

Author Kerry Gans signing books at the Doylestown Bookshop

Like almost everything on the publishing journey, the book launch was a team effort. The people at the Doylestown Bookshop effortlessly took care of getting my books logged in, setting up extra tables for food and the TV monitor, and even came up trumps with plates and napkins (which I forgot). Everything about the setup looked great. (Thanks Rachel, Krisy, and Daniel!)

Crystal ball, bookmarks, and business cards at the book launch for The Witch of Zal

Even the food came from many hands. My mother made chocolate chip cookies, my friend J. Thomas Ross made dog-shaped cookies, and I bought rainbow-iced cupcakes (which I was told by several people were very good) from my local Shoprite.

Rainbow cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and dog-shaped cookies at the book launch for The Witch of Zal

I hauled the books and my essential items with me to Pennsylvania early in the day (I had other errands to attend to), and my husband arrived at the Bookshop with the perishables—cupcakes, water, and flower arrangement. The lovely rainbow flowers were done by Christine Keefer of Vintage Oceans, and she captured my vision of color and magic perfectly.

Beautiful rainbow flowers by Vintage Oceans at Kerry Gans' book launch

I sold my first book before I had even set up shop. I had one book up on a bookstand while I unloaded the swag, and a woman walked past and said, “That looks like the yellow brick road.” I replied, “It is.” And a sale was made to a fan of all things Oz.

After that, my friends and family poured into the shop and I was soon swamped with hugs and congratulations. My 6-year-old daughter must have thought her mommy was famous!

Kerry Gans thanking all those who have supported herI kicked off my presentation with a speech thanking everyone who had helped me get to this place in my career—and the list was quite long. Getting published is a marathon of will, not just because the craft is so difficult, but because we live in a world that often does not value what writers do. We are so often told not to waste our time or some other version of “you shouldn’t bother.” I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who always told me “You can.” and I wanted to be sure to let them know how grateful I am that they are my tribe.

My book trailer played without a hitch, which was a minor miracle in itself. In fact, I played it several times throughout the night, as the crowd changed over, and the technology that had been giving me headaches for weeks performed like a champ. This reinforces the value of testing out the equipment beforehand. When I had tested it a few weeks prior, I was not happy with the result. This made me make two minor changes the day of the book launch, and those changes seem to have made all the difference. Always test the technology if you can!

22 - Kerry reading (with Katie), 3-19I did a reading from The Witch of Zal. I read chapter 8 because I felt it would speak to my audience of mostly adult readers and writers. I still have not decided if I will read the same chapter to an audience with more children in it. I may want something with a little more humor and fun. But the audience at the book launch enjoyed the chapter, which made me happy.

Then I signed books, chatted with people, and basically celebrated! For all the nerves I’d had leading up to the day, the launch flew by and surrounded me with people who have cared about me and supported me throughout my life. I had everyone from my parents, to people who knew me in high school, to my writing friends, to my husband and daughter all at my side. I think the warmest memory for me was having my daughter literally at my side while I gave my speech and read my excerpt. She stood there beaming, smelling the flowers, and occasionally hugging my leg. While that was certainly not the way I had rehearsed my speeches, sharing my launch with her was a special kind of sweet. After all, The Witch of Zal is dedicated to her!

Author Kerry Gans with fan Donna Galanti

Kerry with friend & author Donna Galanti

Author Kerry Gans and young fan Jimmy

Kerry and fan Jimmy

Author Kerry Gans signs a book for Ann Stolinski of Gemini Wordsmiths

Kerry and Ann Stolinsky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I packed up, a woman and her two daughters came by (thank you, Nancy Keim Comley, for sending them back as you were leaving), and I made my last sale of the night.

In a blink of an eye, this long-dreamed of moment had passed, but it is one I will cherish for a lifetime.

I am so grateful for everyone who came out and who sent good wishes from afar. Getting to this point in publishing is hard, and you have all made it a little easier—and a lot more fun. Thank you so much.

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Comments

  1. Kerry, what a wonderful event and post! I’m so glad I got to share in this with you and your daughter was adorable! Wishing you many more successful events – and books to be published!

  2. SO proud and happy for you, Kerry! You look beautiful in that blue,
    Love Katie staying right by your side, almost as if she knew her Mom needed
    special support.

  3. You did great, and I’m echoing Donna’s remarks. I’m so glad I was there to share the event with you. I loved when you rubbed your kindergirl’s head. So precious!

  4. Congratulations again! Jimmy and Dominic are enjoying the book!

Trackbacks

  1. […] with anxiety disorder, being a published author is a smorgasbord of panic-inducing moments. Book launch. Speeches. Group author events. Traveling to places unknown. Summer camp workshops—with real live […]

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