Friday, January 11, 2013


Before I talk about the book launch, I just want to mention that I will be at Hooray for Books in Alexandria, VA tomorrow, January 12, at 3:30pm. I'm on a Feisty Females panel with Jessica  Spotswood and Alex Lidell. Please come by if you are in the area as I would love to meet more of my readers!

I can't believe it's already been a week since my book has gone out into the world! People keep asking me how I feel and the best way to describe it is this:

But the one thing I didn't realize about a book launch is how busy it makes you. How many little things you never think of that you need to do and keep on top of. How many people you need to thank! It's just endless and wonderful and also:

A little overwhelming...

Which is why I'm so late with my book launch post, but here it is!

This past Sunday, January 6th, 2013, was the book launch party date for PROPHECY. I had the incredibly great pleasure of working with the wonderful and most generous and amazing YA librarian, Kathie Weinberg. Not only is Kathie just about the nicest person I've ever met, she is the best librarian and handles all of the great and amazing YA events that happen at the Bethesda library. Kathie was also responsible for helping make this book launch better than I could have ever hoped for!

Having the launch at the Bethesda library held a lot of meaning for me because I wrote half of Prophecy at this library. Every Friday for three years, I would be at the library, sitting in a back study room with a writing buddy, writing and revising my book. 

This past Sunday, I was able to celebrate the release of that book at the library where it was partially created. It was perfect. The launch opened with Kathie introducing me and Prophecy.  Listening to Kathie tell the large crowd that I had written Prophecy at the library and so the library would like to lay some claim to its creation made me so happy. It made me so proud.

My oldest daughter's acapella group started things off by singin Don't Stop Believing and Titanium. It was so awesome and I was so proud of all of them!

Here's the beautiful and delicious Prophecy cake my wonderful sister and brother-in-law bought for me! Every single piece was eaten, btw! And I was told my book tastes really good! ;o)

 At the start of my presentation! 

I never realized how much I used my hands to speak until I saw the playback.  I'm not sure how long the entire presentation went, I think I talked quite a bit! But I also included a powerpoint presentation which clocked in at 11 minutes. I thought I would include a clip from the presentation where I answer the question "What is it like to be a writer" in a series of funny gifs. (I blame my best bud Elsie Chapman for my gif addiction!)

Sorry for the shaky quality of the video, my sister was taping and having to deal with my adorable little nephew trying to climb on to her at the same time. I know the audio isn't great so a quick recap of what the gifs are. They are 1. Trying to write a book, 2. How I brainstorm new ideas, 3. Writing the First Draft, 4. Reading the First Draft, 5. Furiously revising the terrible First Draft, 6. When I finish my Final Draft, 7. Waiting to hear from my Editor, 8. Revising Again, 9. When my book is finally ready to go to print, 10. Seeing my ARCs for the first time, 11. My first good review, 12. My first bad review, 13. And then another, 14. How I respond to bad reviews, 15. And then this happens, 16. I have a book out in the world and I couldn't be happier.

 I have no concept about how the signing line went. It was like I had blinders on. I was focused only on the person who came before me and the books they placed in front of me. I don't even remember having a chance to see how long the line was. All I know is that it was long. Very very long. And filled with wonderful, enthusiastic, excited supporters who made me feel like an Oscar winning movie star. I really love the above picture because you can see Kathie my wonderful librarian facing the camera to the right and in the foreground are my author friends Robin Talley and Sarah Brand who came out to support me. In the very back, the tall man in the center is the fabulous Alan More, a wonderful fellow professor from my department at George Mason U. In front of him are my lovely next door neighbors and the person on the far left is my best friend Sylvia who surprised me by driving down from NYC with her awesome husband Stu,  to help me survive the  launch. 

This is my dear friend Joy, one of my very first and longest writing buddies. She has been a super supportive friend from day one. She always believed in me! She used to write with me at the library and at Barnes and Nobles along with our other friend Lisa, who couldn't be at the event. Half of Prophecy was written at the Bethesda library, the other half at the Bethesda Barnes & Nobles, two places that will always be very dear to my heart.

I signed over 80 books. The reason I know this is my youngest was standing next to me with a silver bag filled with the Korean cell phone charms that I had as a thank you present for everyone who stood in line and bought a book. She was in charge of handing out charms and she did a great job, although I had to nudge her to give more than one out when someone bought multiple books. I had brought over 100 charms and by the end of the night I only had 20 left. And there were still people who came over to tell me that they couldn't buy a book because the library had run out. I'm still amazed and so very grateful for that!

There were so many kids that came and that made me so happy! I want to include some of their pictures but need to get their parents permission first. But when they came over and gave me hugs and took pictures with me and were so excited about Prophecy, I felt like I had achieved my ultimate success. This was all I had ever hoped for. I set out a goal to write a book for my girls and then hoped that it would be one that would resonate with other kids. To hear from these young fans was the highlight of my career to date. It made my heart happy.

It was a wonderful event! I had food and cookies and cake and there was not a crumb of anything edible left! It was due to Sylvia, Stu, Kathie, my sister Janet, my brother-in-law Laurent, my parents, my kids, my husband Sonny, and all my friends who came out to support me, that my launch was so successful. I feel very blessed and so very fortunate to be surrounded by so many wonderful and caring people in my life. And it was a really special moment for me when my parents told me that they were so very proud of me! I don't think I've ever seen my Dad so happy! And there's not enough words to express my love and gratitude to my husband Sonny who did everything in his power to help me out so I wouldn't be stressed out. He also sat there beaming with pride and I could feel just how much this all meant to him as well. It's been a long and difficult journey and he has been by my side every step of the way.

My only one regret was that my fabulous editor Phoebe and my agent Joe wasn't there to celebrate with me. It's because of them that I am on this fantastic publishing journey and I thank my lucky stars that they are in my life. 

Thank you Phoebe, thank you Joe, for taking a chance on me and making my dreams come true!


Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds like a fantastic book launch Ellen. So excited for you. And FYI, you're getting a lot of excitement at Literary Rambles--already 44 entries in the contest for your book. Yay!

strugglingwriter said...

The .gifs are a great idea.

This looks like it was such fun. I wish I lived closer so I could have attended.

Congratulations on such a fun event! I hope you get to relax a bit and enjoy it now.

Paul (

Charles Gramlich said...

So much congratulations! Wonderful to see all the goodness happening.

Poirot said...

Awesome blog post! And CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Rebecca Barrow said...

Looks like so much fun. Big congrats from me :)

Katie said...

YAY! So glad you had a great time, and wow! That's a lot of people! I don't think I've ever been to a debut author's launch party that had that many people at it. Hooray! :)

Bisi said...

I'm so thrilled for you!!!! YOu deserve it, after all your hard work. So sorry I couldn't make it because of the flu :(. I'm getting my copy. Couldn't be happier for you!


Elsie Chapman said...

Ellen, this whole post left me beaming! I'm so happy for you! Seriously, so very, very proud. Enjoy all of this, you worked so hard for every moment. Love from your gif mama!

Kristin Rae said...

What a great looking event! So excited for you!!

LL said...

Congratulations on your launch! I'm a very, very recent reader and am so excited for you.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Thanks everyone! It was really fantastic and I am so happy that it went so well and I'm so grateful to everyone who came and supported me!!

Mary Gray said...

I absolutely love what you did at your launch party. And to have the party at the library where you wrote your story? Brilliant! I love how supportive your family is, too. I'm going to remember this. :) Made me tear up.

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