Book Launch Memories - Dundurn
Apr 16, 2024

Book Launch Memories

I had no interest in having a book launch for my newest book, After The Flames.


Because I didn’t think anybody would show up, and I was horrified at the possibility of standing by myself in an empty bookstore questioning my life decisions. Luckily, my partner, Lara Harb, dismissed my woefully melodramatic outlook as soon as I voiced it and started preparing my first ever book launch without me even knowing it.

While keeping me in the dark, Lara got in touch with my publicist at Dundurn Press, secured a venue (Flying Books on College St.), obtained a license to dispense wine (only white was permitted in the store), put together a collection of promotional images, designed the invitations, and even planned the food menu, which included my mom’s exceptional homemade Rice Krispie squares.

When I finally found out what Lara was up to, I was speechless, taken aback, in complete shock - take your pick. Either way, it was one of the nicest things anybody has ever done for me, and when I asked why she had done it, she replied:

“Did you think I was going to let you not have a book launch to celebrate the release of your newest book? Are you stupid?”

Perhaps I was.

We were hoping for a modest turnout of at least 20 people, but as the date of the event inched closer the list of attendees ballooned to nearly 50! 

On the guestlist, I noticed several names I didn’t recognize, and instead of being excited at their participation, my mind gave way to ridiculous suspicions as to who these people were and why they were attending. When I asked Lara why strangers were coming to my book launch, she replied: 

“Because they’re interested in your book, and it’s a public event. You want strangers to read your book, don’t you?”

You would think so.

On the day of the event, January 29, 2024, well over 40 people showed up to listen to me read the first few pages of the book and do an interview with Russell Smith (my editor, who also agreed to host the event). We even sold out of all the books the store carried for the event, 30 in total. 

Not only was the event a resounding success, but I had a great time, and words cannot express how appreciative I was to everybody who came to show their support for me and my work. 

A week after the launch, I ran into the publicist who helped set it up (her name is Alyssa Boyden), and after discussing how well it went, she said, “Every author needs a Lara.”

Indeed, they do.

Jonathan R. Rose is the author of the novels, Carrion, The Spirit of Laughter, and Wedlock, as well as the nonfiction book, After The Flames. He is an avid traveller, and is currently residing in Mississauga, Ontario. Learn more here.