Are you an introverted author like me? Would you rather roll over hot
coals naked than do public speaking? Do you break into a cold sweat just imagining being the center of attention? We writers are a mixed bunch, but as observers, many of us shy away from taking center stage. Well, if you’re launching a new book, waiting in the wings will not sell copies. I know, I had a field of dreams attitude when I published Artania: The Pharaohs’ Cry. Write it and they will come. Well, they didn’t. Oh, I’ve steadily sold a few books, sure. But nothing like I’d imagined.
So when it was time to publish Forest Secrets I decided to do it right. Hot coals and cold sweats be damned. This time, I’d launch with a scream instead of whisper. We’d have a party and invite everyone, their cousin, their brother and their cousin’s cousin. But first I needed a venue.
I’d remembered that the owner of Toy Zoo: Anything Educational, Marc Canigiula, had suggested hosting an event at his bookstore when I told him I was publishing a new book. I was scared to ask but figured the worst he could say is no. So I headed over, marched inside, and with a gulp asked him if he’d like to host my book launch. My jaw dropped to the floor when he said yes. Not only that, he’d help me organize the event.
I was flabbergasted and, I’ll admit it, overwhelmed. But I scooped my jaw off the floor and got to work. And the results? A resounding success. I had 75 people attend and sold close to 50 books.
If you are planning your own book launch, here are a few tips:
- Start early. Post the upcoming publication on your social media sites. Get over your author humility and brag a little.
- Print up invitations. I use Vista Print for quality and value, but there are reasonably priced printers everywhere. Make it look as professional as you can afford, Here’s mine:
- Have a theme with activities for the attendees. Since most of Forest Secrets takes place in the woods with mystical creatures, I had leaf coloring, green tape leading kids on a scavenger hunt throughout the store, and mask making.
- Decorate your book signing table according to your theme. Here’s how I did mine.
- Send out notices to local publications. Don’t just focus on newspapers. Be creative. Our school district newsletter did a write up that went out to thousands of employees.
- But most of all, have fun! It’s your moment. Enjoy it.