Book Launch: The Beginning of Your Journey

Many self-published authors fail to understand the impact a book launch has on future sales. Some may not even know what a book launch is (insert gasp!). So let me rewind just a second. A book launch is perhaps the single most important event in the life of your work, a birthday if you will, a coming out party, where you announce to the beauty of your newborn. Please, do not publish a title without first planning a launch.

What do I need? Every book deserves a book launch (or three). This grand event is one of joy, excitement, and of course…sales. Those who have read Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author know that it takes approximately two months to plan an adequate launch. You need to reserve a venue, plan for light refreshments, speak to friends who take photos, and —don’t forget—make certain you have enough copies of your work on hand.

Imagine selling 250 copies of your title. That is what happened during my book launch.

Finding a Venue: Since I am a North Carolina native, and also lived in Tennessee for an extended period of time, and currently live in Georgia, my first title: In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes had three separate launches, one for each state. Find a venue that either compliments your character, or the theme of your book. Listen to your characters, they will tell you where to hold their birthday party.

Launching your book doesn’t have to be fancy.

Setting a Budget: Be realistic about sales and set a budget. Notice that the “sign” for the Billy launch is hand-made and attached to his truck. Refreshments were popcorn and lemonade, all perfect for a garden book launch.

Confused?: If all of this seems overwhelming, consider asking an independent bookseller for help. That being said, do not…repeat not contact them two weeks prior to the release demanding that they work with you. Business people need advance notice, and time to acquire your title. If you are self-published you will need to partner with the seller, not try to boss them around (trust me, that happens). Refer to Stress-free Marketing; Practical Advice for tips on how to approach booksellers, and also read these two post about approaching booksellers the wrong way, and approaching them the correct way.

Invitations: Mail post-card size invitations to the list of contacts you have acquired. Include a link to your website, and these important words, copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Standing room only and sell out book launches can happen. I’m living proof.

 Don’t forget: On the day of the event, don’t forget to have change for those who will pay with cash and a way of taking credit card payments unless you have specified on the invitation that payment will be accepted by cash or check.

These are just a few of the things one needs to have a successful launch. Once the day has ended you will also need to use the photos taken at the event to generate publicity to keep the momentum and excitement about your book progressing.

Keep writing dear ones.

Renea Winchester is an award-winning author who is currently working on her third book. When she isn’t writing she volunteers at the local library. Visit her at www.reneawinchester. Or Twitter at: Reneawinchester

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Welcome to those New to Facebook Timeline

For the nonconformists who thought they could hide from Facebook and escape the required Timeline let me say, “Welcome. I feel your pain.”

With the old system, you could easily find posts made by your friends, but with Timeline users are given more control over who can see what. This means that you (and your friends) must identify the depth of your relationship in order to receive the latest posts. Failing to do this crucial step means the all-knowing Facebook computer will overlook your posts and bury them below others it views as more important.

Those with Timeline who may have wondered, “where are Renea’s posts?” This is why. All users must tell Facebook’s mother computer the posts they wish to see. To do this visit your friend’s page, hover over the word “Friends”  and click the words “Close Friends.” You can also identify people as an Acquaintance, or other group such as  friends who live nearby.

In order to view posts, you also need to click “Show in News Feed.” An important point is that your friend must also do the same for you. If they do not, your posts will fall behind others the computer systems identifies as having a higher priority. If you have a friend who posts every twelve seconds you might want to designate them as an acquaintance or opt out of showing them in the news feed.

As an author, I meet many people while traveling and conducting workshops, therefore I communicate with a variety of “friends” who –most likely- do not share a common relationship with other Facebook users. Unfortunately, Facebook frowns upon users who send friend requests to people who are outside a circle of friends. (I know, that statement doesn’t even make sense does is?) Apparently some people have so much time on their hands that they randomly try to friend as many people as possible. Now if you meet someone and wish to connect with via Facebook, you should type a message along with your friend request. Failing to do so could result in the system identifying you as a spammer. Also, having unaccepted friendship requests (request that go unanswered) can also label you as a spammer. If that happens, Facebook will block your ability to make new friends for 30 days.

Insert frown.

I think the biggest feature that I miss with the new Timeline is the posts. I feel disconnected now, unable to reach out to as many people as I once did and for that I remain discouraged. Others must feel the same way as I have noticed a dramatic decrease in comments and “likes” to posts.

In the end, aren’t we creatures of habit? Aren’t our eyes programmed to search the same place on the screen for updates? Do we really have time to learn a new system?

I can’t recall what was so spectacular about the new Timeline, and that speaks volumes. So welcome, those who were forced to accept the Timeline. Months after I switched, I am still as confused as ever. Remember to designate me as a “Close Friend” and “Show in News Feed” and I will do the same for you.  At least we can feel lost and confused together.

To learn more about the Timeline features visit Facebook’s blog here.

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author and In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes. She travels throughout the South teaching emerging authors how to market their books. She is available for individual and group consultations. Visit her at www.reneawinchester.com