This weekend I held the book launch of my latest two children’s novels, Daniel Barker By Power or Blight, and, Amy and Phoenix.
I have planned and implemented a few book launches with my five titles. I find a book launch is like a wedding but on a smaller scale. It needs preparation, can be stressful and overwhelming, and you’ll have a sore mouth from smiling for all those photos!
I congratulate you if you are coming up to your book launch, because already you’ve put in a mountain of work to have your book published, whether traditionally or independently.
Here are five tips to help you hold a successful book launch:
1) Decide on the date
If you are traditionally published you will be given a date that the book will be released. If you are independently published you will have an approximate date you think your book will be printed and ready to go. Even if you are traditionally published, you will most likely have to organise your own launch.
When making the date there are some things to think about:
* What other activities are on at the same time? Will your friends and loved ones be able to come or are there a lot of other conflicting events on the same day?
* If you would like your book launch put in your local council’s newsletter you will probably need to get that date to them six months in advance.
* If you need to book a venue, you will need to allow time to be able to negotiate this with them. They may not be able to do your first date.
* Make the book launch at least a month away (many say three months is better) so you can advertise and promote your book.
2) Book the venue
Where do you want to hold your book launch? There is no prescribed place. Many people hold their launches in bookshops or libraries, but you do not have to. I have held my book launches in two different parks and the local art gallery. I’ve had other friends hold their launches at sports clubs and in community halls. Do what you want to do.
Some things to think about before you book your venue:
* The cost of the venue. If you are hiring a room in a library or a community hall, sports club venue etc. you will need to pay.
* The weather. If you are outside, what will you do if the weather is inclement?
* Is the venue near public transport? You need to consider people who are unable to drive. All of my book launches have been near the train line.
* What facilities does the venue have? If you are at a park, are there toilets? Also, if you are at the park, what do you do for hot water etc.? If you are at the park you will also have the added furniture - gazebo, tables and chairs.
3) Send out invitations
If your venue has a limit of the number of people it can hold, you will need a guest list or a ticketed event. Invite people from all the different areas of your life. On Saturday I had family, and friends from my three writing groups, school, church, my childhood and my community. If you don’t have a limit, invite everyone who you think might be interested in attending.
After saying this, if you invite a large number of people, expect a large number of apologies. People are crazy busy and some people will just not want to attend. I had 70 apologies, and 40 people attended, and others who did not RSVP. Keep positive when all of those ‘I’m sorry I can’t make it…’ start coming in. Look at the people who do come and enjoy your celebration with them.
4) Market the launch
You may need a press release
A book launch is really a part of your marketing plan. Put your book launch on all of your social media platforms. Add snippets from your planning process, glimpses of your book and what it is about, and if you are able, make a promo video. It is a great idea to contact your local newspaper and ask if they would be interested in doing a story on you. In some instances, you may need to write a press release to send to media.
5) Plan your day
Like a wedding, you will need to have a To Do list, and a program for the day. Think about everything you will need depending on what you want to do in your book launch. Some people like to do a book reading, have art and craft activities, dress-ups for the children, prizes, pantomimes, or have puppets. Think about yourself, the book you are launching, and how you can make it unique in some way. Don’t try and replicate someone else’s but by all means take ideas from others you have seen and like.
* A banner
* Flyers, business cards, bookmarks
* Books (pre-sign to save time) and a pen
* A float/credit card facility (organise a person to handle the money for you on the day so you are free to just sign the books and chat)
* A cake & knife, tablecloth
* Food & drinks (plates, cups etc)
* Your speech
* Public liability insurance (check with venue)
You must have some type of speech. Your guests will be in awe of you. Many people would love to write a book but will never. You have! Make sure you explain a little about your book, or read some of it (if it is a picture book then read it all) so they know what it is about, and say anything else that you think would interest your guests. You can have someone interview you, or you can tell a story and then relate it to your book, act out a play… whatever you are comfortable doing. Write a list of who you would like to thank in case you forget someone. Even though writing is a solidary activity, there will be people who helped or supported you, encouraged you or have influenced you in your journey. And if you forget someone who is present, go to them and apologise (I did this on Saturday!) I also suggest that if you suffer from anxiety, practise your speech beforehand.
6) Post about it afterwards.
You’ll be exhausted afterwards, but this is not the end. You need to post on social media photos from the event and tell your followers how they can support you – by purchasing your books, posting reviews and telling people about you.
Then it’s time to get on with more writing!
Jenny Woolsey is an educator, author and speaker, on difference, diversity and difference. She is passionate about advocacy for facial differences, mental illness and inclusive education. Jenny has published five children’s/YA novels on her theme. Through her work, Jenny presents three messages: 1) Just be yourself 2) Embrace your differences 3) Be a victor not a victim. She ultimately wants everyone to feel valued and be accepted for who they are.
Reblogged from https://ali-stegert.com/2019/01/09/a-writers-self-care-part-2/
Not all goals are good goals; some can be downright unhealthy.
Of course, most writers want to sign with a world-class agent, experience a bidding war over their manuscript, sell out their first print run, hit the best seller’s list, and become wildly and internationally famous. The trouble with all of those awesome events is they are completely outside of a writer’s control. Setting any of them as a goal will lead to disillusionment, heartache, and burnout.
Dreams & Goals
The old adages hold true:
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
“Dreams should be big enough and wild enough to scare us.”
But dreams and goals are two very different things. Dreams engage your wishbone. Goals rely on backbone.
Writers—all creatives in fact—need both ‘bones’. Your wishbone is a trellis that supports your imagination, fosters your vision, and trains your creativity into something uniquely yours. Your backbone is a girder for your growth, dedication, resilience, and longevity.
Goals or SMART Goals
The SMART acronym has been bandied about since 1981 when it was coined by George Doran and associates in an article in Management Review. I particularly like this amplification of the basic qualities of good goals:
S = specific and stretching
M = measurable + meaningful and motivating
A = achievable and action-oriented
R = realistic + rewarding and results-oriented
T = time-bound and trackable
I whimper on the inside when my writing peers say their goals for the year are to get an agent and land a publishing deal. Both are superior dreams but inferior goals, because they aren’t specific, measurable, achievable, realistic or time-bound. Lots of wishbone, little backbone.
Compare these SMART Goals:
But Will Setting SMART Goals Get Me My Agent?Well, not exactly… But it will lay stepping stones in the direction of that dream. Instead of chasing a hazy desire, you create a clear path to follow. Won’t it feel amazing to know where you’re going and how far you’ve come?
As a bonus, tranquillity, optimism, and contentedness flow more freely when we focus on the things we can control. Setting smart goals makes the journey pleasant and healthy!
Self-Care is a Non-Negotiable
Hitting send on your query letter simultaneously hits pause on the part you control. I can tell you from years of experience: unless you are unbelievably lucky, freaky talented, or have an X-factor idea whose time is RIGHT NOW, waiting is the name of the game.
The waiting “to get somewhere” in the life of a writer can be frustrating and bewildering and downright disheartening. It can feel like being stuck in a terminal with no flight information while everyone around you takes off on time or lands safely and falls into the embrace of waiting loved ones. That’s why it’s so important to have clear steps to care for yourself.
It’s common—normal even—for emerging and aspiring writers to feel lousy about “not getting anywhere”, which is industry shorthand for not getting an agent or a publishing deal. Unchecked, disappointment can fester into disillusionment, despair, and even deeper into mental health issues. If you are vulnerable (genetically or circumstantially or both), please, please take steps to be proactive about self-care.
The creative life is a zany rollercoaster with an unpredictable series of highs and lows and tummy-squeezing, knuckle-whitening loop-de-loops. Try to step back so you can view the whole ride, rather than bogging down on the slow or disappointing bits. And above all, share the ride with friends. It’s more fun to scream in symphony than all alone!
Own the Process
We control the quality and quantity of our work. We control how we use our time, how we spend our resources, who we include in our networks. We can control what we read, who we listen to, where we find inspiration, and how we treat other writers. We cannot control whether an agent will like our work enough to sign us as a client. Therefore, own what we do control and let the rest go.
This is a workout for the backbone, not the wishbone.
Over to You
I hope this is the year of your breakthrough or continued success in the creative life—whatever that means for you, signing with your dream agent or landing a publishing contract or breaking a sales record with your latest indie book. May it also mean growing in your ability to find joy in the act of creating and strength in the practice of caring for yourself.
Until next time, take care of yourself!
I went because I wanted to make a website. I had part of an understanding of the process via some wonderful, tech-savvy (which I am not) friends. But not only that, I’d been trying to make it to one of these meetings for a year.
It was too far, it was in the afternoon, my kids needed me (no, they really didn’t). Not getting to a WriteLinks meeting had become an excuse. I went to other local writing meetups which were wonderful, getting to know my writing community. I learned my craft.
But they never really fulfilled my needs. Why? Because none of them wrote for children. Writelinks provided that for me today. Bonus, I got to listen to Anthony Puttee of the Book Cover Café - now The Self-Publishing Lab – speak on making a website.
A few friends had teed me up in the prior months, yakking on about domains and hosting (napkins on the table and chips in a bowl, right?) when really I had no idea. Nods and smiles convinced them their words had gotten through while I hoped my computer started and I could find my most recent Word document.
An hour and a bit into the meeting I was amazingly well educated on how to choose a host that allows me to purchase a domain – my own author name – which looks professional, is easy to use and can grow with my business. This includes listing my books in an online store and getting one of those snazzy enter-your-email-here boxes I’ve always wanted.
In fact I’m so gung-ho, I’m heading home to sort it out later tonight. Not bad for someone who regularly sees wisps of smoke rising from whatever electrical item they’ve neared. I was pretty impressed with my very first Writelinks meeting – more so by Anthony, who gave me the confidence that I could sort this at home by myself.
So here are his tips for making a strong author website. An author’s website is their online presence, their main hub to the world. The Domain, he explained, is like a street address, the Host is the land and the website the house itself.
First he offered a choice of website creators. The usual suspects, Wix, Weebly, Wordpress.com. But it was Wordpress.org he focused on, along with Blue host.
For a small fee you can set it all up ad free, with an email that matches your domain. What screams professionalism like that? Especially to that top-notch agent or Big 4 publisher you’ve been chasing. *cough* Because we never do that…
If yours is a reasonably unique name like mine, use that as your Domain, so your fans can find you easily. If you have a more common name or one that crosses with another online personality, maybe you could add something to it – johnsmithbooks.com, for example.
Anthony went through the entire process with us and it took around half an hour, with questions. In your own quiet space, you could do it in less time again. Follow the prompts and save for a quick, professional hub that can expand with your writing business.
You can even get a great little plug in that shares your content to social media for you. Handy. It’s also compatible for mobile devices, so that professional look follows your online presence. www.selfpublishinglab.com also provides authors with editing, cover design, layout and a plethora of coaching services. Many of the WriteLinks authors have used Anthony’s services to their great benefit and speak well of him.
In all, I enjoyed my first WriteLinks meeting. I learned a lot, put faces to online names, met some wonderful authors and reconnected with others I’ve spoken to at prior Brisbane events. I’ll certainly be adding these meetings to my 2019 calendar.
Jo Seysener is an emerging children’s author with a passion for PND awareness living near Brisbane with her three crazy kidlets, enthusiastic GSD pup and decrepit Kelpie. She also shares her living space with a trio of mad chickens. Jo dabbles in speculative fiction in her spare writing time and is obsessed with alpacas.