Posts Tagged ‘launch party’

5 Tips for Surviving Your Book Release

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Release week is over, FLYAWAY has made it’s way into the world, and I’m still alive to tell you about it. I’d seen so many author friends dissolve into bundles of stress as their books launched, and I didn’t want that to happen to me. Now, I’m not saying that dealing with the daily bursting email inbox and the endless to-do lists was a walk in the park, but I do think I came up with a few strategies to help minimize the stress.

1. Organize. As soon as I signed my contract, I bought myself a binder and dedicated it to book promotion. I divided it into sections labeled “Launch Party,” “Events,” “Swag,” “Blog Tour,” and so on. Then any notes, contact numbers, URLs or email addresses I wanted to keep track of went in the binder. As release time got closer, these notes included deadlines for things such as conference proposals and blog tour posts.

2. Prioritize. When there are tons of demands coming at you at once, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important. So each week, I created a to-do list which prioritized the most important tasks. Blog post due Monday morning? That went to the top of the list. Organizing an author event for next spring? That went closer to the bottom. This master weekly list became the basis for my daily to-do list. I found that it was important to stay flexible and be open to shifting items around as new opportunities came up.

3. Focus. Once I determined which task on my list was most urgent to tackle, I went into high-focus mode. I tried to give my full attention to the task at hand and not get distracted by fretting over the things I wasn’t doing.

4. Delegate. As in, “Could you please run these giveaway prizes to the post office for me, honey?”

5. Celebrate. I found that the biggest challenge was to actually enjoy my launch time – and I know from talking to other authors that this is common. Here you are, accomplishing a major life goal, and all you can think about is whether you should have gone with the larger size bookmark or spent more money on your trailer. Or worse, you constantly compare the buzz your book is getting to the publicity and reviews being garnered by other authors. Perhaps the most important thing you can to do make sure you survive your book release is to pour yourself a glass of wine, pat yourself on the back, and say, “I did it! I’m the author of a published book!”

For some practical book promotion ideas, check out Lisa Schroeder’s book promotion timeline for YA and MG authors¬†and Saundra Mitchell’s Bossy Self-Marketing Timeline.

How did you manage to survive your book release?

FLYAWAY Launch Party

Friday, December 16th, 2011

So the FLYAWAY launch party happened on Wednesday night at Secret Garden Books in Seattle, and it ranks as one of the best nights of my life. Everything was perfect, from the food….


Bird-shaped snack arrangement by my friend Julie Reinhardt, who is as talented with words as she is with ingredients.


…to the display…


…to the signing.



But what made it most perfect of all were the friends.



Don’t forget to visit The Teen (Book) Scene on Sunday for the FLYAWAY trailer reveal!

Ten steps to a fabulous launch party

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The day I’ve been waiting for is finally here: The FLYAWAY launch party at Secret Garden Books happens tonight! In an attempt to burn off some of my nervous energy, I’m going to give you a checklist of ten things you’ll want to do when it’s time to plan your own launch party.

1. Choose a venue. Whether you want to have your party at your favorite local indie or a location that fits in with the theme of your book (a great example of this is the holiday signing for Erik Brooks’s WHO HAS THESE FEET, which took place at Everyday Athlete), be sure to talk to the owner(s) a few months before the event to scope out availability.

2. Set a date. Work jointly with the venue owner and your publicist to pick a date when both the venue and your books are available. Of course close to your release date is best, but it doesn’t have to be that specific day. My launch party, for example, is happening one week before my official release date because books are available now and the bookstore felt that next week would be too close to Christmas.

3. Plan your theme and any special activities. Having a theme for your party that’s related to your book will help you plan everything from refreshments to prizes. Because FLYAWAY has an important subplot about birds, my party will include a Bird Word Search game, Audubon chocolate bars as part of the prize packages, and guest musicians playing an original song called “Flyaway.” In another example, at her launch party for her recent release MY NOT-SO-STILL-LIFE, author Liz Gallagher had pink wigs available for guest to wear in honor of her main character’s pink hair and a collage that guests could contribute to that reflected the art theme of the book.

4. Decide on refreshments. Talk to your venue owner and find out whether they will provide refreshments, or if that’s up to you. For my event, Secret Garden Books is generously providing beverages and cups. I asked the members of my critique group to provide treats. Make sure to ask your venue contact whether there are any restrictions on food – most bookstores don’t want messy sauces or dips that could potentially drip on their books.

5. Gather prizes. If you’re going to do any sort of giveaway at your party, start thinking about what you’ll give as prizes. Book-related prizes are great – either a copy of your own book, copies of books by local authors you admire, or gift certificates to the bookstore. You can also put together gift bags that include fun stuff like bookmarks and chocolate.

6. Invite guests. Three to four weeks before the party, put together a guest list. Include family, personal friends, writing colleagues, people you work with, as well as social media contacts who live in your area. Send invitations via Evite, create a Facebook event page, list your event on Goodreads, and announce it to any groups you belong to. In addition to online invitations, I also made postcards listing the date, time, and location of my party which I handed out to people I came in contact with.

7. Plan your book talk. Practice what you will say about your book. How can you intrigue your guests without giving too much of the story away? Consider a short Q and A about your inspiration, writing process, etc.

8. Choose a selection to read. Pick a short section from your book, no more than 5-minutes’ worth, to read to your guests. The selection should be representative of the main thrust of the story and be easy to understand without too much explanation of what came before. Mark the selection in your book so you can find it easily when the time comes, and practice, practice, practice!

9. Coordinate your book-signing. Hopefully once your guests have learned a little about your book, they will line up in droves to buy it! As they line up at the table for your autograph, have a helper move down the line and ask each person if they want their book personalized. Your helper should then write down the name of the person the book is to be personalized to, making sure to spell it correctly, on a post-it, which they then attach to your book. Use your favorite pen or sharpie, and have a fun or interesting phrase to write above your signature. I’ve decided that, in each copy of FLYAWAY I sign, I’ll write “Spread your wings and soar!”

10. Have fun! Now that you’ve taken care of all the details, the party itself should be a breeze. Relax. Interact with your guests. Make this the most wonderful night of your life. You deserve it.

Do you have an launch-party tips to share?