How to throw a book release party: Part 3

We’ve gone over the steps to creating a signature drink and constructing miniature book party favors. But it occurred to me, as I was planning my book release  party (which occurred Aug. 30 at Linnaea’s Cafe in San Luis Obispo), that it was important to give people a feel for the language of the book, for my personal writing style and tone. I realize that different people feel attracted to certain books for their own unique reasons. For my part, I tend to pay less attention to a plot overview than to the style of writing, which really determines the extent to which I’m engaged by a book.

I decided to start off with a half-dozen sets of blank prayer flags and see how far those would get me. Prayer PaBlog Photos_2 flags serve an essential function in Scourge of the Righteous Haddock. They serve as a tool that allows the students at Trundlewood to broadcast their words to the world, thereby becoming an important visual symbol not just for writing, but for the very important act of sharing that writing. The part that I tend to struggle with, and that I think tends to confound a lot of writers (maybe I’m just projecting here).

I then scoured my book for the 30 or so best quotes and asked my coworkers to rank their favorites to make sure I used the quotes with the greatest emotional impact. Of course, asking my coworkers to vote on anything always somehow results in an even split so I had to decide for myself which quotes I liked best and wanted to use. As I’ve said before, writing by democracy simply is not feasible, and neither is editing by democracy (this was kind of the latter).

A word of warning: buying transparency sheets is like buying a basilisk fang, especially if you need to buy them in bulk (as I did for this particular project). Damn expensive. And yes, I just used a supermodel-thin excuse to throw in a Harry Potter reference. But I figured that I was already committed to the project—in my overachieving worldview, a handful of prayer flags can make or break a book release party and even if I logically know this isn’t factually correct, well, tell that to whoever is at the controls of my brain because it usually isn’t the logical side—so I printed upPainterest-Blog Photos_3 the quotes, ironed the transfers onto the prayer flags, and voila! I had lines of prayer flags with quotes from my book lining the walls of Linnaea’s for my party. And all it took was about eight hours of ironing in a July heatwave, cursing and muttering over an iron I’d borrowed from a friend because I’m just not grown up enough to actually own an iron.

Sadly, the quality of the quotes was not what I would have wanted. There must be some secret accessible only to Martha Stewart and maybe people who own stock in Michael’s or Beverly’s to explain how to successfully peel the entire transfer without any smudging or rips. But I didn’t really mind that my prayer flags weren’t as polished as I’d originally expected. The flags in the book are situated in a mountain pass where wind and inclement weather wreak havoc on them on a regular basis. Plus, polished has never really been my style. Detail oriented, yes. But polished implies, to me, a degree of perfection not terribly human. It implies that presentation is of equal or greater importance than content. And I just don’t agree. Then again, I might just be arming myself with philosophical babble to get around the fact that I can’t iron.


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