The book party is one of the rituals of publishing. Like reviews, it is tied to the pub date and is part of the push to create that initial buzz around a new book. This may be less relevant for a self-published book that will build its audience over time, but a book party is also just a celebration of getting a book published, and a great ego trip for an author.
We had a wonderful book party for The Grand Mirage yesterday. Many friends from Washington and a fair sprinkling of neighbors from Barnaby Woods were on hand to celebrate. It turns out that on any given weekend, a lot of people are out of town -- at weddings, in New York -- and this weekend in addition was a three-day weekend for those with kids out of school for Veterans Day, but it was still the biggest party we've had in this house.
Just as The Grand Mirage is a self-published book, this was a self-catered party. My wife, Andrea, and her brother Henry once operated a catering service together and revived their collaboration to provide some wonderful hors d'oeuvres for the party (see my food blog for details), so the catering was no more amateur than the book.
The book sale table was also self-service, cash or check. People made their own change for one or multiple copies and I spent much more time than anticipated signing books!
I did a short reading -- a part of the excerpt from the first chapter I had read at the gathering in Santa Fe, and everyone seemed to enjoy that.
People get excited about reading, about worlds of the imagination, about the willingness of someone to make an effort to entertain them -- and all this is very gratifying to a fiction author.