This post by Michael Blanding originally appeared on Publishing Perspectives on 8/29/14.
When Maria Mutch needed advice on how to handle PR of her debut memoir, she found guidance and solace through Grub Street Writer’s Launch Lab in Boston.
Maria Mutch has two words to describe how she felt about her publication of her memoir Know the Night this year: “Utter terror!” She laughs. “Okay, not quite—but not so far off. Obviously I was happy that my book was coming out, but publishing and book promotion seemed to be filled with so many unknowns.”
Mutch knows what it is like to struggle with fear of the unknown. Her book is anything but the typical memoir, chronicling the two years she spent awake virtually every night with her son Gabriel, who is autistic and also has Down Syndrome, and rarely slept through the night. Alternatingly lonely, funny, and exhilarating, it also weaves in the story of Admiral Richard Byrd, the Antarctic explorer who battled his own form of solitude and loneliness, and in whose story Mutch found unexpected solace and inspiration.
When it came time to embark on publicity for her new book, she knew she didn’t want to go it alone. Reaching out for others going through the same process, she found it in Launch Lab, Grub Street Writer’s intensive boot camp for new authors, in Boston. “It seemed like a great way to demystify the whole process,” she says. “It also seemed like a great way to get some comrades, and I couldn’t have been more right.”