Hands down, meeting readers on tour has been the highlight of the entire memoir publishing and launching business.
But first, the launch party in Jacksonville, Florida! Hosted by my trusty Southern Friends, Judy Davis and Carolyn Stoner at Deerwood Country Club, the party kicked off the celebration.
I told my family, “You can’t go to Bali or have a bellyache on September 14!” A host of friends came, including my colleagues at FSCJ, church friends, Pilates mates from the gym, relatives and neighbors.
Click below for the 30-second video
Then the bookmobile, loaded with books and display paraphernalia, headed for Lancaster County, the setting at the heart of my girlhood story.
Susan Weidener, founder of the Women’s Writing Circle, invited me to speak to writers near Exton, Pennsylvania, west of Philadelphia.
Then, the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, hosted my second event at Landis Homes near Lititz, PA. The lively group represented a cross-section of my youth, along with residents at the Home.
During the Q & A, Miriam Book, one former student from my teaching days at Lancaster Mennonite School (now a pastor herself) piped up to say, “I remember you as very posh!” Of course I was fooling myself back then when I thought my tiny touches of fancy on my plain, caped dresses would go undetected.
First in line to buy my book was Barbara Hershey Becker, author Shirley Showalter’s mother!
My cousin Erma Metzler surprised me at the signing table!
Then came Kiki Davis, my niece from Elizabethtown, PA:
Three former high school classmates also appeared at the signing: Charlie Ricedorf, Linda Joy Eshleman, and Jean Miller Shelly.
The next stop was Aaron’s bookstore in Lititz, PA.
There I met more high school friends, Lois Herr and Carol Hall Reighter, the ones I envied for wearing cashmere twinsets, charm bracelets, and saddle shoes, as my memoir suggests!
I was tickled to meet again LaVon Nolt Kolb, whom I’ve known since first grade. My memoir notes that when we printed our names on the blackboard, I mimicked the capital letter in the middle of her name, writing my own as MaRian.
With Todd Robinson, Aaron’s book store owner
Hosted by Ruth Ann Heisey, my cousins gathered to enjoy lunch and another book signing.
The Book Launch and Tour were a learning experience! So, what have I learned?
- Books build a bridge for renewal: old friendship rekindled, new ones begin forming
- The shift from writer to speaker occurs too. Years ago I had done training for the college, so I was not new to speaking, but I had to polish my “presenting” skills.
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer,” says Psalm 45:1, KJV
- Reading my writing sparks conversation:
“I wonder how much your story mirrors my own.”
“I grew up in farm country too!”
“You know, I have an almost identical bike story!”
Paul and Betty Mumma near Landisville, hosted our stay in Lancaster County: “Chef” Paul (whose family owned Clearview Diner) and Betty, a soloist. Both taught languages, he German at Manheim Central High School, and she Spanish at Kraybill Mennonite School. Most importantly, they figure prominently in my memoir Chapter 39, “Flying the Coop.”
After an intense week, we drove south to Blue Ridge, GA to relax for a few days. On the train, I met a new friend, sparky 80-something Nancy Ackerley, who bought my book on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad train.
After nearly two weeks, we logged over 2300 miles, almost the distance between Jacksonville, FL and Los Angeles, CA, chauffeur Cliff, driving Miss Marian most of those miles. Navigating traffic around Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia was especially challenging.
*** Announcing the winner of last week’s giveaway: Sarah Buller Fenton. Congratulations!
Thank you to all who commented.
Congratulations MaRian (love that touch). I’m curious how you’re feeling, now that it’s over. Relieved, empty, accomplished, antsy, exhausted?? So many possibilities. You are a force of nature and have shown in this post so much of what happens after the book comes out. What’s next?
Long ago, I remember you said, “Marian, you’ll feel a little sad after the book is published. It’ll leave a void.” Well, in a way you’re right, but I am setting up engagements in Jacksonville, more leisurely and with less pressure. Mostly, I’m just tired and in need of days without much of an agenda.
Readers are asking, “What will you write next?” Really? Don’t they know I need a rest. Rest is next, Janet! Ha!
Good thinking. It’s in those rests that the new seeds sprout. How many metaphors can you mix on one sentence?
OMG you were in my neighborhood and I didn’t even know it! Minutes from Exton 🙂
From the looks of so many smiling faces, I’d say the tour was a big success, Marian. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful photos with us. Aw…so happy your cousin Erma surprised you!
Erma said she couldn’t come to the cousins’ get-together, so I thought I’d miss seeing her. But there she was at Landis Homes, where she lives. Thanks for replying, Jill. (I hope you feel a little less pressure yourself these days.)
Good morning, Marian! Oh, this made me smile, Marian to see you–and Cliff and Shirley’s mother! I’d say you’re still posh (those red shoes!), and I don’t think you have trouble meeting people or speaking. I am not surprised that you made new friends and sold lots of books. It looks you had such a wonderful book launch and tour. Congratulations, my friend!
You knew I would love seeing my mother holding your book, Marian. I think she has finished it with her 92-year-old eyes. Macular degeneration makes reading harder, but she has been a reader all her life and is not quitting now! You are reaping the harvest and deserve a measure of success pressed down and flowing over!
Shirley, how impressed I was that your mother was sharp enough at 92 to be first in line to purchase my book. Of, course, I shouldn’t be surprised. She is your mother! I too have macular degeneration but am managing it with monthly injections. At the last visit, my doctor said I am slowly improving: I can read and drive and keep my cherished independence with treatment.
I am enjoying sharing my story and am surprised at who is relating to my experience, especially the dark ones: Sometimes those you’d least expect.
Yes, your assessment of the tour is right, Merril. I wore flats because I can’t wear heels anymore. I probably should have invested in a pair of red ones though. (You may have noticed one of my Southern Ladies brought her pair of red shoes and displayed them on a cake plate for the party.)
Congratulations! We’re wise (I think!) to not wear high heels anymore. I had to mostly quit those in my late 20s, on a podiatrist’s advice. But love them for your signing and all the photos here: I would say your work paid off in a very successful launch and renewed connections–the best part! As word of mouth spreads from these beginnings, I hope you sell many many more books. And readers/commenters who may be reading this, there’s another review and giveaway next week over on my blog, you can watch for that at http://www.findingharmonyblog.com
From the beginning, you have been supporting and promoting my work. When I had an opportunity, I returned the favor. I like reciprocity among writers, who generally don’t rank high on the salary scale.
Home from the tour, I’ll be able to catch up with other bloggers again. I look forward to your post and hope that those disappointed at not winning this giveaway will participate in yours. I’ll try to advertise your upcoming post on Facebook, etc. Thanks so much, Melodie! 🙂
Wonderful memories, Marian! Love the photos……..
I am do thrilled for you, MaRian! You deserve every success after all your hard work. I can imagine how wonderful it must have been to have so many old friends from your school days and family members come to the launch of your first book. You look so happy!
I finished reading your memoirs last night and now have nothing but admiration for you for having had the courage to break away from those stifling traditions and making those changes and adjustments in your life you needed in order to find yourself and, ultimately, happiness. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.
Thanks for your kind words, Fatima. I especially enjoyed, the “Châpeau!” at the end. One of my readers gave me a knitted cap, which may come in handy this winter. 🙂
What a lovely memento to remind you of this very special time!
I regret missing your book tour, especially since I frequently visit Landis Home where family members and friends now live. Your “blog tour” revived memories of past years at LMHS and the Historical Society.
All the best,
Thanks for your good wishes, Verna. Sorry you missed this too, but sometimes that happens. I wonder if your research has take you to the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society or whether you volunteered (or something else). A volunteer at LMSH helped me organize the Landis Homes event.
Oh MaRian! So nice to see these photos! Your book tour was as well organized as your book and your marketing. Congratulations to you. So lovely to see all of the places you traveled and to learn about your speaking engagements. You deserve a rest!
Thanks for your supportive note, L. Marie. Today I am lunching with some of my “Southern Ladies” with book-club conversation about my memoir, all organized by friend Carolyn (in the photos.) Then, off to the the Downton Abbey movie. So, yes, I’m taking time off. 🙂
Marian — I loved looking at your photos. Clearly, ff you were having any more FUN they’d have to issue you a ticket!
Ha, ha, Laurie. You always see the bright side of things, even when you are VERY, Very busy, like now. Thanks for pausing to comment here!
Sounds like a fabulous and successful book tour. I agree, meeting readers is the icing on the cake for an author. You have a great chauffeur as well. XO
WOW MaRian looks like you had a fabulous book tour! Love all the pictures which I know you will treasure.
Welcome, Julie. It’s great to see you here and thanks for your comment. Do visit again!
Yes, thank you, Darlene! You are in the thick of things now, especially enjoying presenting to children, a most enthusiastic audience. 🙂
My trusty chauffeur was essential. I could not have navigated the traffic through RIchmond, Baltimore, and Philadelphia without him. Because of all the cargo we thought necessary, we had to drive. On another tour, I will definitely choose an airlines with books sent ahead and no extra equipment.
So many people, so many places. And everyone is smiling. I think you’re doing this book tour thing right. How fun it is to follow along here.
You are the one with the special insight, Ally Bean. I’m glad this post helped re-create the experience, just wonderful. Now I’m home recuperating. Oh, yes!
I’m so happy that you are having a wonderful time reconnecting with so many people. Enjoy every minute, but yes, get that rest too!
Today was fun-with-girlfriends day. I enjoyed every minute and did NOT feel compelled to get back to that darn manuscript. You know that feeling, I’m sure, Joan! 🙂
So fun! Congratulations. Let me know when you get to Canada … 🙂
When the weather is hot here and cool in Canada, I’d love to visit Ontario, Quebec, and your neck of the woods again. Thanks for the good wishes, Arlene!
Thanks for sharing…….I enjoyed seeing the people you met on you “book signing trip” I enjoyed the video also. Hope to get your book in the near future.
Thanks, Bertha for checking in here. Melodie Miller Davis is running a guest post on her blog with a giveaway. Maybe you can watch for this: http://www.findingharmonyblog.com
Either way, I hope you get to read Mennonite Daughter.
Sorry I was not able to view the video 🙁 After making a comment I went back to watch it and couldn’t connect 🙁
Bertha, I’m sorry. I had the same experience with viewing the video: saw it once and couldn’t repeat. My website guy could fix it, but I don’t usually get a quick response from him. Thanks for letting me know on your end though. 🙂
So wonderful; thanks for including us in the excitement through your videos. I love that you met up with characters from your book, and I’m still cheering for you here on the west coast. Blessings on your ‘rest.’
Dolors from the West, thanks for wishing me rest. Self-care is certainly not over-rated! 😀
So wonderful to read this your journey Marian! It sounds so rich and worthwhile interacting with old and new friends. The photos are lovely. The video didn’t work so well for me – maybe when I get home to Plett next week it will work on my lap top.
Thanks, Susan, as you can tell from my lack of comments on your blog, I’ve been quite busy. The tour was wonderful in all the ways you suggest, but now it’s time to rest. Thanks for commenting here! 🙂
Marian, Your video played perfectly. I am happy for your successes!
Hi, Conrad. It’s good to see you here again. Some of the faces I saw in Lititz and at Landis Homes would be familiar to you. Thanks for your good wishes. I hope you have the opportunity to read my memoir; you could definitely relate to some scenes.
I believe you live in or near Spokane now – right? Maybe you got some snow recently, or so I heard. Again, thanks for reading and commenting here. 🙂
I especially enjoyed reading how you met someone on the train and she spontaneously bought your book! You are on quite an adventure, Marian, thanks for sharing about it!
Either Cliff or I mentioned to Nancy on the train that I was on a book tour, and she was immediately inquisitive. It’s refreshing to meet people in the “autumn” years, who are still in the game of life.
I’m glad you enjoyed reviewing the tour. Now, some rest after the adventure, Elfrieda!
Ahh! Marian such a joy to see you looking so happy to be sharing your baby with so many interesting people . The buzz is electic I can feel it from here . Could you possibly have believed from the first time you put your pen to paper it would have resulted in all this 🤗Do enjoy my lovely lady . ❤️❤️📚📚
Dear Cherry, did you see your comment appear magically as soon as you posted it? I fiddled with the settings, so that I don’t have to approve “repeat” readers’ replies.
To answer your question: I wrote stories about my family one at a time on my blog. Then, at the urging of other readers like you, I began to imagine these collected stories as part of a book. So, now, five years later, Voila! It is my book baby out in the world, and sometimes I feel “exposed” sharing some of the tales, especially the bittersweet ones.
Still, I am happy that you think “The buzz is electric I can feel it from here!” Books can be written, but readers have to read them, for a book to succeed. For far, I am happy with the enthusiastic response, you among them, sweet friend! Huge thanks! 🙂
Wowza, that’s some fantastical tour Marian . Look at you already public speaking. I enjoyed the video and all the lovely photos. It seemed the place was hopping! Good on you! Almost makes you want to write another book huh? Lol 🙂
Well, Debby, it helped that I was a teacher in my other life and that I did PowerPoint presentations for the college. Still, I had to brush up on PPT. As you know, an enthusiastic audience sparks energy too.
Another book? Let me catch my breath!) 😀
Lol, of course I’ll give you time. And yes, your background in teaching is certainly advantageous! 🙂
Looks like a fabulous book tour!
It definitely was! Thank you, Lady Fi. 🙂
Dear MariAn ~ I am thoroughly and completely and devastatingly impressed with you (with the help of your chauffeur of course). What an amazing job you did in promoting your excellent memoir. I was so fortunate to read your book early and give it five thumbs up. Your book sits proudly on my living room table (in which our Saturday guests oohed and ahhed over it as I explained the contents and that I “know” the author!!). But I was not lucky enough to see you during your book tour. You are generous to share much of it here on your proud post. You have done everything with such grace and charm and insight and courage in getting your book “out there’ to the public. Bravos galore.
Uh, oh, Pam, “proud post”.” I have sinned . . . Gasp! Mennonite hate pride. It comes before a fall. :-O
Anyway, thanks for your effusive praise here as I know it comes from the heart! I embraced the tour, now I’m tired, so after a little rest, I’ll be back at it, in smaller doses though.
Thanks for your support, promotion, and encouragement all along the way, dear friend! 😀
Oh, dear. I mean “proud” in the best sense of the word. We should honor ourselves, I believe, in doing the work we believe in and love, and sharing our humanness and stories and Light with all. <3
My dear Pam, I was being tongue-in-cheek. (Non-verbal stuff doesn’t translate well online.) I am truly honored!
Love you and your whole being. xo
🙂 ((( )))
Wow, Marian, you’re a book tour pro! It looks like you had a great time. I agree totally that meeting readers is the best part of these events and how wonderful that you have such a strong community of supporters. I wish you the best of luck with your book. 🙂
Thank you, Diana.
You probably noticed that I’ve visited your website this morning. Lots of great tips, especially the book trailer ideas. Yes, I’m doing things backwards, but maybe a book trailer after the launch will change things up a bit. And thanks for visiting here with a comment. 🙂
I did the trailer 8 years after my launch. Ha! I’m still learning. So much to do and so little time. But all fun. 🙂
Ha! Very reassuring, Diana.
I had a smile on my face the entire blog post long, Marian! And, still, as I’m writing this comment. What an experience. What a success. What a learning curve. And, again, I’m so impressed with the professionalism, organization, and execution of your book tour. And, your supporting materials are awesome as well. And the interest and commitment of your family and friends… Glorious!
I feel your exuberance here. Connections with readers, whether a blog or book, that’s what it’s all about. Thank you, Liesbet!
Great photos, good vibes, and meeting readers–and so much energy to pull a book tour off. Looking through the photos a second time brought tears to me eyes. So much love! It looked like a complete success and I hope you’re unpacked and have time to rest a while.
Yes, I’ve unpacked, but after a short breather, I’m marketing in Jacksonville. It’s tempting to jump right in again because I am so close to many outlets in a big city. I’m thinking the space between Thanksgiving and New Year’s may be my “down” time. I know I need it because there are signs: I lose things, forget important stuff, and collect lots of typos.
Why don’t I simply practice what I preach about moving to the slow lane? Truth is, I still like making connections. Plus, I probably won’t write another book, so it makes sense to focus on this one. Thanks for your kind and caring thoughts, Elaine. 🙂