There’s a huge difference between your first book launch and your (no idea which) later ones. The first noticeable difference is that you’re no longer nervous. You’re also not worried about how many people will turn up and will it just be family and friends like last time. Or the time before that. Because it’s taken me all these books to realise that a book launch maybe many things but it’s above all, a celebration of a book. In the midst of coordinating with various celebrity guests and other such hassles, one tends to forget that and focusing on these things creates a situation where the author is tense and worried.
So here’s the thing. The very fact that the book exists is nothing short of miraculous. You conjure up the book based on just an idea in your head. You write all fifty thousand words (or more) and then if you’re lucky, you land publishers like Duckbill who give their everything to your book. And by that, I mean everything.
They work with you on the book, they make it probably two hundred times better, and they come up with a book cover that completely wows you and everyone else. And it doesn’t stop there.
Anyway, so the book is ready, but doesn’t reach until the very last minute thanks to courier glitches. Your publishers move heaven and earth to make sure you get at least three copies before the launch. They even send off twenty copies through a friend who’s flying to Bangalore from Delhi! You manage to make sure the book reaches the other very sweet author (Jane D’Souza Gopalakrishnan) and your English Literature teacher (Dr. Shantha from college) two days before the launch and hope they have time to go through it.
You call up your family and invite them to attend. This part is very important because I have to make sure I’m inviting them as I would, to a wedding. So you can imagine how I’ve had to invite everyone for all the book launches every single time. Yeah, but the nice thing is that almost everyone turns up. Because like I said, it’s a celebration of the book.
I’ve never been this *unstressed* over a launch and it probably had a lot to do because it was at Atta Galatta, an independent bookstore which is one of my all time favourite stores here in Bangalore. Of course, Lakshmi and Subodh Sankar, the gracious hosts and owners of AG have a lot to do with that feeling of comfort.
So, on 18th October, we all got together at AG for a celebration of my 8th novel, When she Went Away. Friends, family and colleagues turned up in full force! My mother surprised me by bringing a Shahi tukda sweet, all packed into small cups for all the guests and everyone loved it. The book was launched and the three of us got into a spirited discussion about the book. The audience got involved and we went on for quite a bit. The theme of the book was intriguing (after all, how often does a mother leave her perfectly all right family and go away without any reason?) and a lot of people asked questions, not just about the book but about my writing process as well.
Jane had some interesting questions to ask while Dr. Shantha offered some sharp insight into the character of the protagonist and her mother as well. All of us at the launch felt like we were in a classroom (not any class but the Optional English classes she took for us) once again, listening to her speak so eloquently. And magnificently!
We ended the day by taking plenty of selfies and pictures and the best part was the potluck dinner at my aunt’s house after the launch. Much yummy in the tummy happened!
What better way to bring a book into the world than with family and friends, all with you to celebrate?
Some pictures of the event.