Monday, May 30, 2011

Book launch-a-rama

I recently had my first ever book launch. Woo hoo! The Australian Literary Review called for submissions for an anthology called THE BASICS OF LIFE and I decided to submit the story about my dad be diagnosed with terminal cancer. When I read that GROWTH had been chosen, I jumped around like a crazy woman. Then that week I walked into my local Collins Booksellers in Mackay and asked if they would be interested in stocking it.

Well, they said yes! And when I told the Steve Rossiter, the editor of The Australian Literary Review, he said he'd come up for it. I was thrilled, surprised and extremely happy. I live 1,000 kilometres away from the nearest metropolitan centre, so for him to travel up it was a big commitment. Then he informed me that it would be the national launch! Needless to say my excitement increased exponentially.

The Australian Literary Review is new to publishing, with THE BASICS OF LIFE being their second publication. So the advice I'm giving below is more relevant for smaller publishers and people who are trying to market their own self publishing.
  1. Wear comfortable shoes! (check out Leigh's BEA post on her personal blog if you need further convincing). My feet were in so much pain by the end of the launch - darn RMK for making such beautiful shoes!
  2. Practice your signature. Okay I was seriously embarrassed about signing the books, but I also had to remember that the people who came to the book launch and bought a book wanted my scribble. It's the least I could do for them coming to support me.
  3. Work out what you are going to say, especially who you want to thank. I got a bit choked up about it.
  4. Time it well, not just for you, but for what else is on. Unfortunately regional parliament in town so there was a lot of competing news items. We got good coverage in the lead up to the launch, but none for the day - however, see the next point for how to get around this.
  5. Know your media. Get coverage before hand with interesting angles. I put out two media releases in the lead-up to the launch - one for the fact that the Australian Literary Review editor would be in town for the event and meeting with authors. Don't be afraid to follow up with a phone call - that resulted in a radio interview for Steve and I. If the media can't make it to the event, follow up with photos for the print media with another media release.
  6. Take a camera, for media, blogs and future promotional purposes. Um - and make sure the person taking the photo is handy with the camera.
  7. Get a invitation list out early and invite EVERYONE you can think of. Don;t be afraid to invite local identities, including politicians, and local people in the literary scene.
  8. Go and talk to the local writers' groups (if you're not already a member). The local writers' group meeting clashes with other commitments for me, but I made an effort to go to the Mackay Writers Group meeting prior to the launch and they had good numbers at the launch.
  9. And above all - have fun!

    Now for the plug (never miss the chance to plug). THE BASICS OF LIFE will be coming to Amazon soon, but for those in Australia you can currently place orders through Collins Booksellers in Mackay (Ian and Karen you rock!) or by contacting The Australian Literary Review.


    1. Congratulations, Sharon! And thanks for the great advice. :)

    2. How exciting! Congratulations :)

    3. Thank you so much for the tips! As an author with an independent publisher, it's good to know what works to generate buzz and what I should be doing. I'm so glad you were able to be part of the launch!

    4. Congrats Sharon! You look amazing, it must have been such a proud moment for you. We are all soooo excited for you.
      (posting anonymously as blogger sucks these days and won't let me comment as myself)