What have I gotten myself into?

Being a nubie to the direct publishing world I decided to follow the advice of some marketing guru and have myself a booklaunch party. Little did I know what I was getting myself into and now I’m…I’m… Well, you see–I’m going out of my mind.

First of all, I made the mistake of setting a target date and oops, I think I announced it on Twitter…to a few people. I said I was launching THE HARVEST OF REASON on the 19th of April. Well, the 19th has come and gone and guess what? I’m still here, knee deep in the muck of booklaunch preparations.

What’s so complicated? My mind. That’s what’s complicated. Just ask my husband. Deep in the recesses of my disfunctional, perfectionistic brain I conceived a plan for the blow out of all blow outs, a virtual art gallery where all the fashionably groomed invitees from Facebook and Twitter and email lists (hundreds, nay thousands of them) would enter and mingle, drinking fake virtual champagne (’cause I don’t drink so I couldn’t serve the poison to others). Surrounded by the giant posters of the HARVEST OF REASON covergirl and some tastefully displayed pieces of art they would then choose to drift into various “experiential rooms.”

Yes, these rooms would showcase poetry readings (mine of course) and book readings and meet the author video interviews, and bonus gifts and culminate in a visit to the bookshop where the guests could, of course, buy the book.

Actually, I think that all sounds quite good. I started telling my kids and anybody who would listen about this strategy. I also talked my hubbie, who is the tecnical guy in our much travelled partnership, into helping me build this wonderful undertaking, because if you build it…

Right. He bought it. It sounded totally logical.

While I went to work feverishly on the BONUS GIFTS he started to figure out how we were going to offer them, how to embed various power points and video footage, and musical selections and…well I can’t give it all away now, or it wouldn’t be much fun when you come (if we ever do get this done).

Like I said — my part was the BONUS GIFTS. Well, I dusted off some old things (well, not so old) and started trying to package them. This one short story called “Maria” seemed just right but then I needed a cover for it. I went to look in my daughter’s room (she’s off at college) for some scrap of artwork I could con her out of and I found it! On the corner of this piece of cardboard was the face of a woman, with sultry red lips and a gaunt expression. Perfect for “Maria,” I thought! So I called up my daughter, and… She’s another perfectionist and she categorically refused to have one of her unfinished scribbles used in such a manner! So, I was back at square one. And I still had three other BONUS GIFTS to work on.

She did, however, suggest that I could use an old high school drawing that was lying around somewhere and I jumped at it. Turned out, I liked that one even better.

With the days ticking away I worked on the other BONUS GIFTS. I split off a piece of a paper I’d written and called it “Science in the Hands of Women: THE PARADIGM SHIFTERS,” spruced it up with lots of pictures of the five female scientists I so admire, who incidentally just happened to have changed the world thru their science. It turned out to be a pretty nice little booklet. Cool. But then, I needed a cover!

“Why do you need a cover?” my husband asked, “Just give them the article, that’s enough.”

Well, he’s a college professor, who spends all his time publishing, excuse me, ugly looking articles filled with graphs and charts. What does he know of the emotional/psychological impact of the faces of five pathbreaking women on the… What was I saying? I can’t remember.

Anyhow, I want to tell you, I’m now working on my last BONUS GIFT cover and also we have worked exhaustively on the four ROOMS which will come off of the MAIN GALLERY. My husband, whose back was out, spent all of Spring break doing the heavy lifting to get this BOOKLAUNCH site built. (I think he deserves to have his picture in my blog because he’s my hero).

During the next two weeks I will start my Twitter and Facebook campaigns leading up to the booklaunch. And just in case you feel like, um, throwing up after the one-thousandth time you see the promos, just remember all we went thru to build the BOOKLAUNCH and maybe retweet it once or twice.

Yes, I’m overwhelmed, but I’m also so excited now. Just wait till you see what I got myself into.

About rheaharmsen

Rhea Harmsen is a scientist, novelist and author of Language of the Spirit, a volume of selected poems. She has also released three novels, The Harvest of Reason, Intermarry, and God Created Women. Harmsen was born in a family with a black father and a white mother at a time when interracial marriage was still illegal in some states. Her parents gave her a vision of world citizenship that informs her writing and her lifestyle and has caused her to reject traditional views of race and gender. Harmsen's article "Science in the Hands of Women: Present Barriers, Future Promise" appeared in World Order in 1998 and provides the foundation for the story line for her novel The Harvest of Reason. She co-published the Monroeville Race Unity Forum Bulletin and authored many poems on racial topics, crystallizing the "conversation on race" in the novel Intermarry. Her work with domestic violence survivors in Puerto Rico inspired the novel God Created Women. Harmsen holds a doctorate in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She currently resides in Puerto Rico. Upcomming projects are described in her web page at rheaharmsen.com
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