Not true. Each novel is different. Each novel has come from a different part of me. And each novel has been its own journey. Just as no two journeys are exactly the same, neither are two launches.
A reader will see a novel as a complete book. No one but the author knows the time that goes into percolating an idea, writing and rewriting multiple manuscripts, and struggling to try to get it right. The reader never sees the false starts, the tossed pages, or the scrutiny over tiny details.
In writing historical fiction, research is key. I might spend a month or more trying to nail down a particular fact, a fact that might end up being one short sentence in the finished product. Sometimes I spend a great deal of time researching a certain detail that doesn’t even end up in the book.
In preparing for a launch, I have more to do than order bookmarks and arrange signings, more than write blurbs and answer interview questions. I also have to prepare a short talk to give at launch events and presentations to give at school visits. To do that, I take a look back at the book’s journey. This talk is where I might use one of those interesting facts that didn’t make it into the book.
Taking this look back is more difficult than you might think. Because of the nature of traditional publishing, the time between finishing a book and launching it can span the greater part of a year. Or more. (This is a good thing because it means the publisher is taking the time to make the final book the best it can be.) However, most writers will have embarked on a new project during that time, which means my focus has moved to a new place.
The characters from Not on Fifth Street have moved to the back of my mind, and new characters have filled that space. Not on Fifth Street takes place in January, 1937. My work in progress takes place in October, 1864. One takes place in Ohio and Kentucky, the other in North Carolina. My focus has changed seasons and centuries as well as locations.
What that means is I have to remind myself about the book that is launching, and recall my feelings about writing it, yet not lose the focus of my work in progress. A juggling act, for sure.
But I love the life of a published author and I love meeting readers. I hope I can tap into the right things to say to launch the new book. While we wait for the launch, read some early reviews.