Remember when hip big publishers used to have an open bar parties for book launches? I do. It was a glorious time, younglings. You can’t imagine the opulence: Steamwhistle everywhere and canapés as far as the eye could see. Then came the dark times: Booknet. That’s right, publishers found out their books weren’t selling shit and were like, Time to derail the gravy train. Sigh. It was fun while it lasted. Now the M.O, is throw the book out, wait two weeks to see if it sells, then abandon it to its fate (which is eventually the remainder bin.)
Anyway, this lady rebranded her launch as a book shower and people gave her a bunch of stuff instead of her giving free stuff to them. (Also, the first person to use the term “paper baby” when referring to their book gets throat punched. I’m already barely restraining myself on the “fur baby” types.)
It has been my experience that writing a novel requires commitment, compromise, endurance, vulnerability, patience, honesty, hope, and love, and invites Love’s shadow side, and heartbreak, and exhaustion. It is work, and it is a relationship, too. At some point during edits, my mom and I joked about throwing a baby shower for my book when the time finally came. I exhausted the joke by detailing a hypothetical gift registry: iMac, standing desk, cash funds to freeze my eggs, cash funds to pay my student debt, cash funds for health insurance, heaps of pencils, new hard drive, a bazillion copies of my novel.
Of course, a book is not a baby, and career isn’t family. Traditions are specific for good reasons. The more I joked about a traditional shower, however, the more I thought about its good reasons for specificity, is origins sunk in dowries, hope chests, coverture laws, salvation from the doom of spinsterhood.