I enjoy dropping in at the blogsite Galleycat, to catch up on the latest publishing gossip. Often there’ll be photos of smilingÂ authors attending chic book parties, and I’m always left wondering: where are all these book parties?Â Who throws them?Â Â Who gets invited?
Why does everyone look so glamorous?
It must be a New York thing.Â Because up here where I live, in a small Maine town of 5,000, I just never hear about book parties.Â One summer, I did host a book party at my house, but it wasÂ in honor of a journalist friend,Â Nicholas Von Hoffman.Â And that turned out to be aÂ lot of fun, because a lot of surprise guests turned up whom I wasn’t expecting, including Jamaica Kincaid andÂ Paul Theroux.Â They just walked in my front door out of the blue and introduced themselves, and after I picked my jaw up off the floor, I think I said something stupid like, “Are you THE Jamaica Kincaid and THE Paul Theroux?Â Are you sure you’reÂ in the right house?”Â That’s the closest I ever came to feelingÂ as if I was cavorting with the truly glamorous.Â
But that’s a very rare exception.Â Most of the time,Â my life as a writer involves sitting at my desk with bare feet and uncombed hair, muttering as I crumple up bad pages andÂ toss them in the trash can.Â Â So I love looking at those book party photosÂ over at Galleycat, and imagining what it must be like to live theÂ party-goingÂ life of the glamorous author.Â Which seems to be every other author except me.Â
I’ve read in a blog somewhere thatÂ as part of promotingÂ your own book, you should throw yourself a book release party.Â Â You should reserve a place in some chic restaurant or bar, invite your friends,Â wear a little black dress, sip cocktails, give away free copies of your new book, and bask in the spotlight.Â That sounds like fun, doesn’t it?Â
No it doesn’t.Â It sounds like torture, being the center of attention.Â The crowd wouldÂ expect a speech, and then they’ll all noticeÂ that you have spinach in your teeth.Â Â Everyone will try very hard to be congratulatory, but meanwhile they’re off in the corner whispering:Â Â “You know what?Â Â I secretly hated her book.”Â
If I ever get even a whiff that there’s a party being thrown in my honor, IÂ swear I will run screamingÂ the other way.Â
Don’t get me wrong — like most writers, I love going to parties andÂ sipping cocktails and nibbling on tasty appetizers.Â I do enjoy cleaning up once in awhile and pulling on the appropriate undergarments.Â But I wantÂ the partyÂ to be in honor of the OTHER guy.Â