Friends! So sorry for the prolonged absence from this blog… it turns out launching a book takes up a fair amount of time. (Who knew?) But now, a week later, I’ve finally pulled my life back together enough to write about RED’s release into the world!
RED came out on October 8th. Knowing I would likely be a mess of a human being if left to my own devices, I scheduled a writers retreat in upstate New York with seven friends to coincide with launch week. We took off for the woods on Saturday morning, stayed through RED’s birthday on Tuesday, and came home on Wednesday. Having my writer friends around me was unbelievably helpful—I was so distracted by their general hilariousness that I didn’t even remember to freak out. For future reference, if you need to be calmed, you want Lindsay Ribar, Caela Carter, Mindy Raf, Jess Verdi, Jenna Scherer, Nicole Lisa, and Liz Whelan with you. Here we are, just outside the house:
This was our gorgeous house. It’s in Bearsville, NY, a few miles from Woodstock, and it’s the same one I rented for the retreat I organized last year. We were surprisingly productive during the days—I spent part of the time working on my middle grade WIP and the other part working on my YA option book—and evenings were for wine, cooking, games, and relaxing.
On RED’s birthday, I spent the entire morning lying in this hammock and reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Mindy sneaked this picture of me from the second-floor balcony.) Then we took a field trip to Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, NY, where I got my very first glimpse of RED on a shelf. It was RIDICULOUSLY EXCITING.
Oblong had kindly ordered ALL our books in preparation for our arrival, so Lindsay, Caela, Jess, Mindy, and I had a mini signing extravaganza. Here we are with our books!
That evening, a few of my college friends who live upstate joined us for dinner (which quickly degenerated into a fairly raucous sing-along… I don’t even know.) Then we made s’mores in our fire pit, during which we learned that the average stick will not support a flaming jumbo marshmallow. (RIP, Nicole’s shoe.) We ended our evening in the hot tub—YES, THERE WAS A HOT TUB—looking at the stars. I could not have asked for a more perfect day. When I told my agent about it, I got a one-line email back that said, “Pub day: you are doing it right.”
As if I hadn’t already had enough fun, I also had a launch party the following Friday at BookCourt, one of my favorite Brooklyn bookstores. Instead of reading alone, I turned my first chapter into a script, and five friends, my mom, and I read it aloud reader’s-theater-style. It was pretty hilarious, and my mom (who was playing… my mom) totally stole the show.
I did a brief Q&A and then gave away some raffle prizes—two copies of the book, a gift card to the store, a bottle of spray-in, wash-out red hair dye, and a massive red gummi bear with terrifying nutritional information on the back. Then my guests descended on the red cupcakes, red candy, strawberries, and red wine while I signed books for an hour and a half. Thank you so much if you came and bought a copy—RED was the number-one bestselling book for kids and teens at BookCourt last week!
I used a copy of my own book as a guest book, which resulted in two added bonuses: 1) I now have a record of who was at the party, and 2) people didn’t try to talk to me while I was signing their books, because they were too busy signing mine. Talking and writing at the same time is not my strong point—I probably would’ve ended up signing everyone’s book, “Hey! How was your day—oh crap,” so I had to put some sort of failsafe in place. I highly recommend this one.
But the very best part of the party was the photo booth, which I stocked with plenty of red wigs and props. Here’s are some sample photos for you:
Lindsay Ribar and me
Honestly, the only thing I wish had gone differently about the entire evening was that I didn’t get a cupcake. (Though I don’t really blame the people who scarfed them down… they looked delicious.) In the future, I will put someone in charge of guarding food for me while I sign.
Thanks so much to all of you for making my launch week so spectacular! A book is nothing without its readers, and I’m so excited to share Felicity’s story with you. Enjoy it!