In the final days leading up to the launch of Dreams of the Red Phoenix, I’m busy writing. That seems logical, since I’m a writer. But now is not the time to work on another novel, but instead on short guest blog essays, literally hundreds of email invitations, Facebook and Twitter comments and shares. Writing as basic communication is needed at this time. Fielding invitations to do book events. Encouraging old friends and new to come to those events. Sharing whatever bits of wisdom I can offer about books and writing and life on the blogs of colleagues who I now consider friends. I am pedaling as fast as I can on the publicity bicycle that is this part of the writing life. Pedaling and peddling, so I can then enjoy the long coast down hill that will be the pleasure of sharing my second novel.
Because as soon as I finish all this communicating via email and social media, I will share Dreams of the Red Phoenix–in person! I have sixteen book events set up and more in the works. Most of them will take place between October 7-November 5. My launch happens in Richmond, VA, where I lived for seventeen years until quite recently. Followed by other launch events at Porter Square Books in Cambridge and at the Concord Bookshop in Concord, MA, where I currently live and grew up. I love how homecoming will be woven into each of these settings. I feel embraced already by old friends who I’d love to see and vice versa, whether I have a new book or not. In other words, this is going to be really fun!
But then I hit the towns where I know fewer people, but still hope to see some familiar faces: Providence, RI, New York and Brooklyn, Washington, DC, Asheville, NC, Greenville and Spartanburg, SC. I feel incredibly grateful to the bookstores and other venues that have invited me. They take a risk on a lesser known writer and I don’t want to let them down. I have my talk ready. My readings picked out. My slideshow in the works. I hope to welcome and entertain and connect with any readers willing to listen.
I hear some writers gripe about this public part of being an author. To me, it’s all gravy. I look forward to the events, even if only a two or three people show up. Those are two or three people who have given me an their time on a weeknight when they could be home watching TV. And if they buy the book, I’m even more grateful for their generosity.
In the last twelve days before the pub date for Dreams of the Red Phoenix, I’m delighted with my publisher and thankful for their publicist who has helped every step of the way. It’s almost time to fly. Or take the train. Time to meet and greet. Time to share. Not just the book, but myself, in a way that is real and honest and enjoyable.