The Terrible Wonder of Launching a Book (with lots of pictures)

Signing a book for author Fonda Lee and her daughter Photo by Kelly Garrett

Signing a book for author Fonda Lee and her daughter
Photo by Kelly Garrett

I am woefully late in posting this update. I’ve had an Add New Post window open on my laptop for well over a week, but every time I actually went to add said post, I allowed myself to get distracted. I’m finding it hard to explain how great and terrible launching a book is.

The night before Hook’s Revenge was released into the wild,  just after turning out the light, my husband asked, “Are you excited? Tomorrow is the big day!” and I promptly burst into tears. There weren’t words to express how not-excited I was. I was, in a word, overwhelmed.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t all that afraid of how Hook’s Revenge would be received; I was simply exhausted. I was in the midst of a grueling round of edits for Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code. I had been experiencing some health problems and was working to sort them out. And I had been ticking item after item off a never ending Back to School list (my book was set to release on the same day my daughter would start a new year at her homeschool co-op).

I explained to a friend that every part of me was stretched thin, that I felt like I was making a peanut butter sandwich with my life, but the peanut butter was almost out and furiously scraping the sides of the jar still wasn’t giving me enough to spread to the edges of the bread.

So I cried. I cried because I felt like the day I had waited my whole life for would be ruined. I cried because I didn’t know if I had enough metaphorical peanut butter in me to make it through the congrats and the parties. I cried because it just felt so big and I didn’t know how else to express it. I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I awoke a published author. You know what? Other than the puffy eyes, I didn’t look or feel all that different from the day before. But throughout that day and the days to come, you, dear reader, brought about a change in me. You congratulated me on Facebook and Twitter, via text and email. You sent me pictures of my book in bookstores and in the hands of eager young readers. You filled up all my empty spaces and gave me the energy, the excitement, and the joy I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find.

Today I’m sharing pictures of my launch parties. Tomorrow I’ll drop back in with pictures from my book tour.

Take a look at my face. That smile is genuine. You put it there. I can’t thank you enough.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day Hook’s Revenge Launch Party at Powell’s Books

Launch at Powell's

Full house! More than 100 people attended my party, many in pirate costume!
Photo by Walt Schulz


My lovely niece Ashley
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Me and my adorable great-nieces. Photo by Kelly Garrett

Me and my adorable great-nieces
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Author Kiersi Burkhart and her young pirate friend. Photo by Kelly Garrett

Author Kiersi Burkhart and young pirate friend
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Author Susan Hill Long and her daughter
Photo by Kelly Garrett

My husband, Walt, as Mr. Smee Photo by Kelly Garrett

My husband, Walt as Mr. Smee
Photo by Kelly Garrett

My daughter, Hannah, in full pirate dress. Photo by Kelly Garrett

My daughter, Hannah, in full pirate dress 
Photo by Kelly Garrett

Ticktock. Photo by Kelly Garrett

Photo by Kelly Garrett

Pirate Party and Hook’s Revenge Celebration at the Salem Public Library

Salem, OR Launch Party, Heidi Schulz and Landon Springer, Photo by Brittany Springer

Peter Pan and me Photo by Brittany Springer

Launch Party Grog, photo by Heidi Schulz

Walt, Hannah, and I spent a couple Sunday afternoons affixing labels to our “grog.”

Cupcakes and pixie dust, photo by Heidi Schulz

Cupcakes, chocolate gold coins, and Pixie Sticks (pilfered pixie dust). Sorry parents!


Thank you to my sister, Julie, for so beautifully setting up the food!


Even my mom dressed up!

Thank you to Powell’s, the Salem Public Library, everyone who attended, and each one of you. You brought the peanut butter!



  1. Now I’m crying! Loved you before, love you still! Its always awesome to be your friend!

    • Oh, Deon, I love you too! <3

  2. They both looked like so much fun! And that ppl came in costume just adds that extra touch. And the food table did look wonderful! I love to get to set up tables like that, and it all went so well w/the theme. Love the croc w/the clock in his mouth.

    • Thank you! They were so much fun! And I couldn’t believe how many people attended and wore costumes and got into it.

  3. This is 100% delightful. Well, not the crying part. You sound like a bride or a soon-to-be sixteen-year-old in that part. But the rest? Magnificent!

    Is it weird to have other authors attending your events? Probably not. When I go do library things, there are usually authors and librarians so…but still. Did you ever think authors would be sitting in an audience, listening to you??

    Congratulations again. You are amazing!

    • Thank you! Ha! It was like being a bride to be! I just didn’t know if I was quite ready. I didn’t really think about audience members begin authors because they are all my friends, but if I had thought about it, I might have been nervous.

  4. Oh, my gosh. Scraped peanut butter jar. You couldn’t have put it more perfectly. Yesterday was my release for LOOP, and I’ve been on this amazing roller-coaster.

    Side note: that is one rockin’ pirate get-up you have. I am SO JEALOUS!


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