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 Please, do not publish a title without first planning a launch.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

NaNo and Emerging Authors Beware

Newbie and NaNoWriMo authors will soon discover a legion of businesses eager to publish their manuscript. Wanting to capitalize on inexperienced authors, these  “reputable companies” whose names we all recognize, basically accept every single manuscript submitted. They are printers, not publishers. 

Don't trust your manuscript with just any ole printer

These printers realize that authors want more control. They are preying on giddy authors who have accomplished a significant goal and now want a finished product.  While I do not advise against self-publishing, I do warn authors to enter with caution. Recognize that there are many businesses who can destroy your reputation in a blink. Also recognize that you may be too “in love” with your manuscript to be rational.

First, prior to publication, step away …pause…and then pass your manuscript to someone to read, and ko-wreck(t) the misstakes [sic].

While the life of an author is filled with people willing to help fledgings through the process, few will read something you’ve written and bleed red ink across the pages. Why? Because authors are notorious for drama, fits, tantrums and other outbursts which (quite frankly) people just don’t have time to deal with.

This is one of the reasons why New York publishing houses will not take a risk on a newbie. They have zero time for drama. They also have zero time to deal with a stubborn author who refuses to see mistakes, or bend to improve their manuscript. They are weary of highly educated authors who believe “The End” means perfect.

Second, ask a self-published author about their results. Filter their response with the knowledge that some printers offer “author incentive” programs. Meaning, if they refer an author to their services they earn a reward. You aren’t asking if they like their printer or were satisfied with the results. You are asking about sales after the end-product was shipped to the author’s home.

You are not one of the suckers born every minute who will fall for a sales pitch. You are seeking the truth.

You understand the importance of distribution, distribution, distribition versus: unsold stock, unsold stock, unsold stock.

Ask point-blank questions. If the self-published author only offers eBooks ask: “How do you direct readers to your ebook?” If the answer is vague, file the response in the “Danger, Danger” category. While it is rude to ask how many copies the author has sold, ask; “where do you garner the most sales?”

Do not under any circumstance upload an ebook in December and expect it to sell.  Let the words rest. Let the words commune with their friends the sentence, the paragraph, the page. Do not be in a hurry to make a mistake. As always, I welcome any questions.

Remember, Kindle owners can order a copy of Stress-free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author for $ 2.99 until the end of 2011. Amazon Prime Members can upload it for free.  Also: In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love  & Tomatoes has  once again been added to book clubs across the south. (Hello, Texas and Mississippi readers!)  It is also available wherever books are sold. Click this link  to your favorite bookstore.  (you might have to ask them to order it); Garden with Billy is also available on Kindle and Amazon.