My official ‘in person’ book launch took place nearly two weeks ago now, and I’m still reeling from the event. It was a dedicated time to shine a spotlight on my writing journey and celebrate being a children’s author, as well as introduce my three books to my guests. I planned a book launch with a difference, which certainly didn’t shy away from the subject of death and bereavement.
With the help of some trusted bereavement professionals, I held a funeral service for the main character in my book, Lizzie, the mum who died suddenly leaving behind her three children. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was an experienced celebrant and he led the impactful, yet respectful event. With the help of a local funeral home, I was able to use bereavement related props such as a hearse parked outside the venue, a teak coffin and a beautiful wreath of yellow flowers, as depicted in the book illustrations. It was an emotional and thought-provoking evening.
Thinking about the day beforehand definitely brought on the nerves, and I asked myself various questions. What will people think of the books? Will they share my passion to support bereaved children and young people? Will people become emotional during the service? I tried to counter all these questions by ensuring that the event was tasteful, and the messages being portrayed were essentially around the needs of bereaved children and young people.
I was delighted by the queue to purchase the books on the night, as I silently dreamed about each copy going to support a bereaved child. I was even more elated when I was approached by someone who worked in a school, who told me that the books were already being read and making a difference. I received a thank you card with this written within “Your brilliant books will help to demystify death, suggest norms around grief, explain process, while gently offering coping strategies and most of all HOPE.” It made me feel proud of what I had achieved.
During the writing and publishing process when life felt tough, I told myself if I could change the life of just one child with my books then it was all worthwhile. I was suddenly hearing this in real life, and it felt good. I genuinely hope to hear more feedback of how the books have helped others.
I cannot thank all my guests enough for coming along and being part of an emotionally sensitive yet productive and inspiring event. Their support continues to be invaluable, and I am very grateful.