What a night! For the past two months I’ve been preparing for the celebration of me completing my second manuscript for my novel titled BEAUTY SCARS. No it wasn’t a book launch. Beauty Scars isn’t even published yet. I literally just brought people together around the idea that just finishing a manuscript is an amazing accomplishment.
And it is. But I knew I wanted to make this night special. Special meaning that I wanted to create moments that people can take with them even after the night was over. And to do that, I knew it would take some work.
My thinking was simple, though. The theme of the night was expression. Yes this was celebrating my writing, but writing is just another form of creative expression and so I wanted to put as many forms of creative expression on display as possible.
The first thing I did was decide to hold the event inside of an art gallery. That would instantly set the mood and give people the first impression I wanted to create. I also had a bunch of pieces from the BEAUTY SCARS Book Cover Contest that I ran back in December. I went back to those same high school students for the originals and displayed them throughout the gallery.
And I didn’t just put them up any old way. I actually had a professional installation artist named Robert Young to come and do it for me. I have an amazing network of friends, so when I told Robert of my idea, he actually volunteered to do it.
Then I did something that most writers would probably consider sacrilege. I shared excerpts from BEAUTY SCARS with whoever was in attendance, and I didn’t just want to do a standard book reading. I decided to have an actor read the excerpts for me. Writing a book is one thing, but truly bringing a story to life through voice is an entirely different gift.
So I tapped into my network and reached out to someone from my writing group. His name is Shomee and he is a trained actor and playwright that I knew he would do an amazing job at bringing my book to life. And that is he exactly what he did.
Shomee didn’t read those excerpts as much as he performed them. And having him perform in theatre like style captivated everyone and turned a typical, banal book reading into a mesmerizing experience that was the most memorable of the evening.
And isn’t that what it’s really about? As writers, we always need to keep people engaged. We need them to connect with us on a whole different level because we aren’t selling a product that people necessarily need.
Especially when you’re a novelist, books are a luxury for your audience. Something they read in their spare time. So we must be able to offer more, and I believe that’s what I did on this night.
The reactions on people’s faces allowed me to see that I’d done something special. The enormous amount of praise I received for creating this scene let me know I’d done something special. And although the night is over, I’ve forever etched something in the memory of everyone who came to celebrate BEAUTY SCARS.