A book’s launch party should reflect the content of the book and the personality of its writer; it should be a celebration of all the hard work that went into creating the book and is seen as the culmination of all of that hard work…so, no pressure, right?
Thankfully, it was a fun task to create a launch party that fit The Ocean in My Ears and its author, Meagan Macvie. Meagan is fun-loving and personable, and her book tackles relatable and important themes (as her website says, “love and death and sex and family”—the big four!) in an interesting setting: Soldotna, Alaska in the 1990s. So while we couldn’t bring Alaska to Portland (though with biting winds and wintry weather, Portland certainly tried), we did try to bring back the 90s.
We started out the night with four nail-biting rounds of 90s trivia, hosted by our marketing department lead, Morgan Nicholson, dressed in a very on-theme Simpsons shirt. The venue, Bazi Bierbrasserie in SE Portland, was packed to the gills with book lovers hilariously out of their comfort zones, all trying to remember what jersey number Michael Jordan wore while playing for the Bulls.
Then we brought Meagan Macvie to the stage to read from the book. She chose the first chapter (because, as she said, it let her say the word “fornication” a lot, which is always fun) and from a later chapter where the main character Meri flirts with the enigmatic Joaquin while dip netting (something that surely only happens in Alaska). The rest of the night was spent mingling as Meagan reconnected with high school friends from Soldotna, colleagues from her MFA program, and her mentors in writing.
It’s bittersweet to know that this adventure is mostly over. I’ve loved helping Meagan share hers and Meri’s story with the world by working on the marketing and publicity for The Ocean in My Ears, and I am very proud that it’s received the attention it deserves. Make sure to check out its starred Kirkus review, which calls it “an unforgettable journey to adulthood,” its Publishers Weekly review saying that it “movingly explores the ever-shifting highs and lows of adolescence,” and its proximity to Big 5 frontlisters in lists from Bustle and Book Riot, and keep an eye out for Meagan in the future—she’s certainly a rising star!
P.S.—I’d like to give a huge shout out of thanks to all of the people who have helped me and The Ocean in My Ears on its journey, including my team leader predecessor, Margaret Henry, the book’s unofficial YA expert and publicist, Joanna Szabo, and Esa Grigsby, Maki Takese, and Erin Bass, who have helped make our marketing collateral on point.