Monday, December 27, 2010

How to Prepare for a Book Launch

There are *gulp* just a little over two weeks before ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is out. I mean...really out. Some of you have read ARCs, and your reviews have bolstered me and filled me with joy (many times as I'm reading them I'm thinking yesssssss, they get that point! Yay, they liked that twist!). But there's something oddly terrifying about the idea that soon it will be really out there. As in, people who have never heard of me at all might pick it up off the shelf...and might put it back there. People who I hated in high school might recognize my name and roll their eyes that the nerdy girl wrote a nerdy book (that one doesn't bother me that much, actually). People who I really like and admire might read it...and hate it. My friends might read it and hate it. My family might read it and hate it.

This is why I panic so much.

Backstory!

When I was 16 years old, I had a sweet sixteen party. Now, it was nothing elaborate. I wasn't in the "cool kid crowd" (shocker!) But I did invite about five or six of my closest friends, and we were going to do the exciting thing of eat pizza and watch movies.

And....no one came.

Dude, I was crushed. I mean, my friends all had good excuses. One got called in to work unexpectedly. One locked herself out of her house. One's car broke down. But fate or whatever made it so that on my sixteenth birthday, no one came to my party.

Which has totally given me a complex about parties ever since then.

I have never had a party since. Not really, unless you count my wedding (and one of my showers was crushingly short of attendees). Dude. I invited my parents to eat Christmas Eve supper at my house last week, and called them three times to make sure they were coming. My parents. I usually have tons and tons and tons of confidence, but when it comes to me + a party, all I get is self-doubt.

Here's where the relevance comes in!

...I have a book launch party in about two weeks.

*dies*dies*dies*

I'm not telling you all this because I'm fishing for compliments and reassurances. I tell you all this so that you know why I'm going crazy right now.

So, to make sure that someone actually comes to my party this time (because really? how could it be much worse than a zero-attendance rate on a Sweet Sixteen?) I've been wracking my mind for ways to promo the book launch party, beg family and friends to come, and berate strangers into accepting invites.

First: design things!

I made a poster to print and hang around town:

This took me a ridiculously long time to make.

And I also made invites to send to family and friends and people I was vaguely connected with and random strangers I'd berated into giving me their address and people who lived at least 100 miles within range of the book store. It was basically the same poster, but without a background, much smaller, and with specific directions of how to get to the bookstore. (PS: if you live near Forest City, NC, and/or are willing to go there, pop me an email and I'll send you an invite, too!)

Then I made up a gift basket:

Clicky to embiggen!
Contents of the gift basket:

  • Star mints, suckers, and gummies
  • Pin buttons 
  • A metal bookmark that has moons and stars
  • A bright pinkish-purplish booklight
  • A "Reach for the Stars" Keepsake Box
  • THE AUDIO BOOK OF ACROSS THE UNIVERSE!!!!
Oh, did I forget to mention that I have the audio book of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE now?! BECAUSE I DO AND IT IS AWESOME AND I LOVE IT SOOOOOO MUCH. More on that later.

So: preparation for book launch. Posters? Check. Invites? Check. Gift basket? Check. I'm also going to work on refreshments...and, of course, Fireside Bookstore (which I adore and LOVE) are also doing the same things and making it even more awesome. And I'm working on the program: a short speech, a reading, and a Q&A session.

What do you guys think? Any ideas I should be incorporating into the book launch? What would you, personally, like to see at a book launch?

46 comments:

Amanda J. said...

Dude, I would SO be there if I even lived remotely close, but I'm over 800 miles away (see, I even Googled it). I'll be wishing I was there though, you can count on that!

deltay said...

Aww, if I were anywhere near the area, I would so totally come! Pretty far away though, unfortunately :( That sounds like a real bummer about the sweet 16th! Hopefully the launch party goes much better :) Cheers!

Jessica Love said...

OMG, I totally could have written this! I have the exact same (crippling) party anxiety. It wasn't my 16th birthday...I think it was my 13th, but the same thing happened. No one showed, and I haven't been the same since.

I wish I was close, I would totally be there. Because I think your nerdy book is pretty damn cool!

iLuffReading said...

Aww, I wish I could go, but I live on an island. I can't wait to read your book!

RK Charron said...

Hi Beth :)
I am confident your book signing will be both a blast & a success.
If I wasn't up here in Northern Ontario, I'd definitely be there.
Love & Best Wishes,
Rob

Christina said...

Boo! about your sweet sixteen!

I'd come to the launch if you weren't 9 hours away. Or if I had off work that day, but unfortunately, I don't. :( I'd love to be there!

Good luck with the launch! I know AtU is going to do amazing! I'm reading it right now and can't stop. I started it earlier tonight and am going to have to finish it tonight too. I have to know what happens! :)

Maidenveil said...

wow! what a way to rock a book launch! :D

Jessica Subject said...

I've never been to a book launch, but I would expect to see the author, the book being released, and lots of fun swag. Oh, and make sure you have a lot of comfortable pens that work for signing. :)

I would so be there if I didn't live in another country. Best of luck with your release party!

I have already pre-ordered Across the Universe and can't wait to read it.

Kim Harrington said...

I wish I could be there! You are going to ROCK THE HOUSE, girl. :D

The Words Crafter said...

I wish I lived closer! Parties *cringe* terrify me, too.

As for all those other people, all I can say is, "Looks who's got a book published!"

Congratulations, good luck, and here's some {{{{hugs}}}}!

Natalie Aguirre said...

It sounds great. I'd be nervous too. Wish I lived close enough to come. Enjoy it.

Vicki Rocho said...

I share your same party fear-I freak out that no one will show...so I rarely have any parties!

If you were closer, I'd totally be there for you! As for how to promote this so you don't have to relive your Sweet 16 all over again, I think you've done a good job so far. Are there any community calendars online you can add it to?

Vicki Rocho said...

Oh...I forgot to mention I got one of your prize packages yesterday! I did quite an uncoordinated happy dance waving the envelope around the room. THANK YOU!

Shveta Thakrar said...

I so get you on the party angst. I still have the it, too, even though the past is the past.

If I lived closer, I would absolutely attend yours. As it is, I'll send love and good vibes (and grab hold of the book)!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Now I REALLY wish I could go, just for moral support! I hope my crit partners that live in NC will be able to make it!! *dashes off to send them another email*

Either way, it will be awesome, because it's your book launch. And seriously? The Universe couldn't mess with you again - you named your book after it! :)

gideon 86 said...

Sounds like you have all bases covered....

Don't panic, people will show. I certainly would come, but I live in Chicago.

Good luck! Enjoy your launch. This is the most exciting time in your life.


Michael

storyqueen said...

This is your first book launch, so it's going to be great! Make sure you get the word out to your former students. Maybe go and visit the highschool and put some posters up....talk to your old English dept.
(extra-credit, anyone??)

Kids have a way of making book signings awesome.

Wish I could be there!!

Shelley

Pisinat said...

I'm not even on the right continent! *sobs*

Good luck ! (even if I'm sure you won't need it : it's going to be a great launch =D)

Lisa and Laura said...

Eeek! You're going to have to share your launch party learnings with us. We're still trying to figure out exactly what we're going to do for The Liar Society. Really wish we were closer to NC so we could be there! I can't wait to see AtU on book shelves!

Anonymous said...

You'll do fine. :)

I pre-ordered your book. I can't wait to read it after that wonderful first chapter.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I'd be there if I lived closer. I cannot wait to read your book! A launch party does sound scary. I'd probably resort to paying strangers to show up just in case. :)

Beth S. said...

I completely understand your pain. I planned a book club recently and went to a lot of trouble picking out the book and preparing nice food that tied into the book... and then people bailed on me. I was so crushed and heartbroken that I completely understand why you called your parents three times to make sure they were coming to your Christmas Eve dinner. I get it because my most recent book club debacle was just one instance in a string of many where people bailed on me with parties or get-togethers I had planned.

I know this sounds like I'm just saying this because people just say things all the time that they don't mean, but I would SERIOUSLY come to your book launch party if I lived near you. But Michigan to North Carolina is a bit of a hike. I do love North Carolina though. I just visited your lovely state for the first time this summer and fell in love. I want to move there some day - though unfortunately it won't be in time for your book launch party. ;o)

Laura Maylene said...

First, I TOTALLY get your anxiety about forthcoming book launch parties! Mine is probably about a year away, and I'm already nervous.

I love your gift basket idea. Prizes are always good, as is alcohol. Maybe entertainment? (I am brushing up on my juggling skills. But I guess music could be good.)

So you used old-fashioned snail mail invites instead of e-invites, right?

Camille Strange said...

Ahhhhh, I wish I could come!!! Dallas is just *so* far away...and well, school night, sooooo...I'm sorry, but I did pre-order your book, and I'm almost positive that I'll love it. Sorry about the Sweet 16 party, thats a bummer...

The Golden Eagle said...

I'd definitely go to your book launch, but I'm not close enough!

I'm sure your book launch will be much better than your 16th! Good luck!

LilyMeade said...

I want to come, but I'd have to buy a plane ticket, and I can barely afford milk right now. I'm really excited for you though!

Anonymous said...

You sound like you're so much better prepared than some authors are for their own book launches. I think it sounds fantastic and I would really love to come...except I live in New Zealand.
All the best for the launch Beth :-)

Kelly H-Y said...

I have a feeling you have one BIG launch party coming ... I just know it! And, I'm so thrilled for you. I'd be feeling those same nerves. You're going to do GREAT!! Can't wait to hear how it goes (I have a feeling it will involve hand cramps from all the signings!!). :-)

Emily said...

Wow. I would totally come. I live in Northern California instead of North Carolina. Almost. I have a suspicion, though, that this will NOT be a repeat of your 16th Birthday. If it's any consolation at all I will be there in spirit and have ordered my own copy of Across the Universe.

Just so you know, the only other book that I've pre-ordered is Mockingjay. Oh, yeah, and the 3rd season of Arrested Development (does that count?). I also never leave comments on blogs and here I am, leaving a ridiculously long comment in support of your book launch.

Good Luck!

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

I so wish I lived closer to NC just so I could come to your launch party, but coming from NH would be quite the drive.

You have some great stuff planned for the launch, so I'm not sure I can add much more to help, but I had gone to one signing where the author opened by showing her book trailer. It's a good way to make those who are passing by stop and check out what's going on.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I *wish* I was in NC to go to your book launch. Seriously, you know I love the state and YOU! Every time I think about January I think about you. I have a feeling this launch party is going to have a WAY higher attendance than your sweet 16. I'll be there in my thoughts!

Anna Staniszewski said...

I wish I didn't live so far away. The launch sounds like it's going to be fantastic! It will definitely make up for your sweet 16! :-)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

THE AUDIOBOOK!!!! Oh, how I wish I didn't live on the other side of the country. I would be there, without doubt, if I lived in your place on the planet. *sighs*
I wish you a fabulous launch and lots of company for it.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

P.S. I think you should count the virtual guests, like all us who posted!

Jennie Englund said...

Humor is always appreciated! And you seem like a funny gal. So let it shine!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Beth! My heart hurts for that sixteen year old you. My older guy had a birthday party a few years ago that happened to be during spring break. Only three kids came. It killed me.

So THRILLED for this beautiful phase in your writing life. Can't wait to get my own copy on the eleventh.

Corey Schwartz said...

Aw, I think you should have another Sweet 16 and we'll all come!!!

Your poster and basket look awesome, Beth! This launch party is going to rock!!!

C.R. Evers said...

(((((hugs))))) I just know that your launch party is going to be a hit! There's such a huge buzz about your book. Everyone is so excited for you and your book. Hopefully this will be a new chapter in your life that will help you put that horrible 16 year old memory out of its misery.

You RaWk, girl!

Mim said...

I'd come to your launch if I lived a bit closer. But I'm planning on coming to one of your tour events. That's the stressful part of writing, and signing books! Good luck!

mummazappa said...

Hi Beth, I live in Australia, and just finished reading my ARC of ATU and loved loved loved it (I'll have my review up tonight or tomorrow). If I wasn't a billionty miles away I'd be coming to your book launch for sure. Somehow, I don't think you'll be short of attendees - I bet it will be much better than your 16th birthday party would have been too :-). All the best for your launch, and congratulations on having your (most excellent) book published!

Jen Green said...

Unfortunately, I'm too far away. Thank you so much though for sharing. My cousin is launching a book soon and I will definitely tell her to look you up so you two can commiserate on the trials and tribulations. I can completely understand your party anxiety. I hadn't had a b.day party in 12 years, and last year I tried... my parents left early... like before I even opened any presents or served cake. Good luck, and know you are not alone.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

This post is filled with fantastic info! And I love your poster!

CL said...

I think you're awesome and I'm going to try my damndest (is that a word?) to be at your launch.
I know it will be so great and cannot wait to read your book!!!
and Happy New Year!

Christina Farley said...

I so wish I could come to your book party! What is up with having to go to work? I will be thinking of you though! Totally cool about the audio btw!

Rebecca T. said...

I wish I lived closer. I would totally be there! You should come do a signing at my store in NY. It would be awesomesauce.

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