Erin Thomas launched her first Orca title, Boarder Patrol, on Saturday, May 15 at Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge, Ontario. All this week, she is sharing tips for planning a book launch. Yesterday she described the process of finding the right venue. This is Part 2.
Last weekend I celebrated the launch of Boarder Patrol, my first book with Orca. The launch was a success, despite a few twists in the planning process. More than fifty people filled the bookstore and bought or ordered seventy-some books. We had too much food, not enough books, and lots of fun. Here’s what I learned.
Spread the Word
I created a spreadsheet with names and addresses of family and friends to invite, marking off which ones were best reached by email and which were best reached by snail mail. I stood up at CANSCAIP and WCDR meetings to talk about the upcoming book launch; I even wore a toque at the WCDR meeting, to go with the snowboarding theme, because it’s that kind of crowd. I invited everyone in both of the night classes that I was taking at the time. Self-promoting isn’t always something that comes easily to writers, but with practice, standing up in front of people gets easier.
By the time the invitations were mailed out in April, most of the people on my list already knew about the event. I had sent out a “save the date” email far in advance… before the date change, actually. So the date change was a good reason to email people again. I also used my Facebook status as a way to let people know the book launch date had been set and then changed, and a week or two before the event, I created a Facebook event for the book launch.
I “tweeted” about the launch, too, but not being very Twitter-prolific, I’m not sure that it made a difference. Still, as Orca pointed out, even if people can’t come to the book launch, it doesn’t hurt to remind them of the existence of the book.
Again, I have a big family. They’re very supportive. If you don’t have a large family, though, maybe you have friends who might like to help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.My mom baked the cake and decorated it with a picture of the book cover. Edible ink… go figure. (By the way, if you are looking for a printout of your book cover for your own book launch, try searching on eBay for “custom edible icing”.)
Mom also made several book bags and bookmarks as door prizes. Friends and family brought food to the book launch. Shelley from Blue Heron donated some delicious cupcakes from a local bakery, arranged and iced to look like a snow-covered mountain. Orca donated books to be used as door prizes. You’ll probably find that people are willing to help you, but you do have to ask.
Check back tomorrow for How to Plan a Book Launch, Part Three: Know Your Venue, Know Your Crowd.