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champagne celebration

magazine queries bookMagazine Queries That Worked released in print yesterday! My book launch party was held at The Durham Hotel last night. Although MQTW is my fifth book, this was my first book release party. There was no formal agenda for the evening. Everyone gathered, mingled, had cake and champagne, and I felt relieved and proud to have the book complete!


The release of MQTW also dovetails with my 7-year full-time freelanceiversary. I’ve worked for myself longer than I ever worked for anyone else!

rooftop party

I had to make a few decisions when planning the party. If you find yourself planning your first or fifteenth book launch, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Public or private? Being that MQTW is nonfiction, a reading didn’t feel appropriate. Since there would be no reading – there would be more eating! At a reading, you might get a fruit and cheese platter for people to nibble on. I didn’t want a public event where I would be uncertain of a head count and run out of food or space, so I opted for private. With the private event I could plan for food and beverage easily with RSVPs and I could cater to friends’ special dietary needs. A few friends have nut allergies, so I didn’t splurge for a peanut butter chocolate cake (went for chocolate-chocolate-mocha mousse instead). For gluten-free friends, I had a separate tray of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.book launch party
  2. Finger foods or utensils? I always find it awkward to be at parties where you’re trying to juggle a drink, a plate, fork, napkin, purse, and carry a conversation. I opted for a catered tray of pre-cut bite-sized wraps to help minimize the awkwardness. Forks were imperative for cake though (cupcakes were more expensive than a cake) so I had forks available for dessert time. Since I try to be eco-friendly whenever possible, I used these bleach-free, tree-free and compostable plates and these birchwood compostable forks.
    chocolate cake
  3. Home or away? I could have easily had a private party at home. We have plenty of outdoor space and I’m sure the chickens would have enjoyed all the commotion. However, if the weather didn’t cooperate it would be pretty cramped indoors. Entertaining at home is great because you can store everything you need right where you are, you don’t need to travel anywhere, and then you don’t have to lug anything home. I didn’t want to take a gamble on the weather though. I thought about the places that I like visiting in the area and The Durham Hotel came to mind. I love the interior design (very “Mad Men”) and the rooftop bar is the swanky side of Durham’s urban spirit. While exploring their website I noticed you can reserve The Penthouse for private events. I called, liked what I heard, and reserved the room. The space has French doors leading out to it’s own private rooftop terrace – a much different feel than our country plot. The weather cooperated for the evening and we spent a lot of time outside. It was a slight hassle packing and carrying everything to the hotel, but it was nice to get away and be in a special place.
    rooftop patiopenthouse suite

What have you learned from your book launch events? Any catastrophes?