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To Launch or Not To Launch: A Second Opinion

17 Aug

Regular readers of this blog and those who subjected themselves to all 110,000 words of Self-Printed (edition 2.0, coming at the end of this month!) will know that although I really enjoyed my Real Life launch for Mousetrapped, having it made no business sense. Since I also had it during the volcanic ash cloud debacle and left ordering my stock until the last minute, it also made the days leading up to it some of the most stressful of my entire life. But there’s no denying that it satisfies what is probably the main reason we’re all doing this crazy self-publishing thing—having a launch does make you feel like a “real author”. Sometimes that—and the publicity having a launch can bring—make the cost worth it. But how do you decide whether or not a launch is for you?

Alison Wells recently had a Real Life launch for her novel, Housewife with a Half-Life, so I asked her to share her thoughts (and her pics!) on the day. Welcome (back!), Alison…

Why I’m glad I did a bookshop launch

Followers of Catherine Ryan Howard’s ebook adventure and readers of Self-Printed will know that Catherine enjoyed the book launch for her first book Mousetrapped but all in all felt that she wouldn’t go that route again.

When invited to hold a bookshop launch for my debut self-published book Housewife with a Half-Life in a local store, I thought about the pros and cons. I’m here to say why, on balance, that while there are many arguments against a bookshop launch for the self-publisher, I’m glad that I went ahead.

First, the facts in black and white:

Having a bookshop launch is exhausting.

These are some of the tasks that need to be done ahead of time:

Organise books: While CreateSpace, the POD company I used, have many distribution channels, the Irish ones are not included in this. So it was necessary to send off (and pay for) a consignment of books upfront and then organise to get them to the bookshop.

Arrange publicity: I created a press release and emailed as many of the local papers, radio stations etc as I could. I also sent a copy of the book out to selected media people. I invited people through text, email and social media. This was a big job. I also organised a speaker, some refreshments etc.

These activities were all done in tandem with an online launch and blog tour marketing and publicity were all encompassing.

Having a bookshop launch is not lucrative.

The margins on self-published paperbacks are very tight but once the bookseller has taken their percentage of the recommended retail price (anything from 40 to 50 percent) then the profit margin on your book from any sales on launch day will be very slim even if you get lots and lots of people to come. I also ordered invites and postcards which cost quite a bit.

Publicity does not always work.

I did not get the local paparazzi arriving or a write up in any of the papers (that I know of). Perhaps they had other things to go to on a Friday evening. I was so exhausted in the followup that I haven’t yet got around to sending them a picture of the launch.

Why on earth do you think a bookshop launch was a good idea then?

Leverage

The fact that I had been asked to have the launch in the first place by a well-known local chain (Hughes & Hughes in Dublin) allowed me to approach other bookshops and I was later able to stock my book in another local shop. The prestige of having a launch in a well-known shop also added credentials to my self-published venture, especially since this was my debut launch.

Some publicity

I have since been asked to go on a radio show. My book also received a mention in the beach reads of a National Newspaper following a launch invite. Hughes & Hughes books also did a lot of promotion pre-launch including a write up on their own website, Dundrum shopping centre website and public information boards.

‘Exposure’

By having an actual real world event and a paperback that I could carry around with me it was easier to explain to real world people that I had a book out. Many people who knew me did not know I was a writer but coming up to the launch it was obvious the word had got around and I was congratulated on the street. Being a mother of young children, the strength of the network of women (many book club members) in my local town became obvious. Many of these people came to the launch or purchased the book subsequently. Although the self-publisher is often looking to breakthrough in the online world, I think that the word of mouth factor is also important and I was able to utilise that in a large real world network. The launch was a fantastic event, my guest speaker (Irish bestselling author Colette Caddle) was wonderful and having a wide variety of people there to celebrate my first steps as a published writer was a great boost for the future. I also sold (and signed) about forty books that I may not have otherwise have sold. I was able to build relationships with booksellers and become known as a writer.

Conclusions

You won’t make money out of a book launch, you may even lose money if you don’t watch your costs. However if you look at a book launch as a profile builder and marketing tool then you can see it as an investment for the future and its value will be harder to quantify. For many first time self-publishers breaking even after editing, design and launch costs might seem a failure but if you have raised your profile and forged relationships it might be an investment worth making.

Thanks, Alison and great pics! So what you do you think—to launch or not to launch?

Alison Wells is a psychology and communications graduate and Irish writer of flash fiction, short stories and novels. Her short stories have appeared in many zines and anthologies including National Flash Fiction Day’s  Jawbreakers. Her comedy novel as A.B. Wells Housewife with a Half-Life is available in Hughes & Hughes and Dubray Books, Bray in Ireland, Amazon Paperback  and Kindle US/IRL  and for Kindle UK. Her new short story collection, Stories to make you go ‘ah’, is available now from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.ukShe blogs at www.writing.ie in Random Acts of Optimism and at www.alisonwells.wordpress.com.

Launching Your Book Online

16 May

May is How To Sell Self-Published Books Month here on Catherine, Caffeinated. Last week I poured a bucket of ice-cold water over your dreams in Read This First (which, thanks to Freshly Pressed, is the most popular post ever on this blog), and then explained why I think you should go guns blazing for the launch of each book instead of waiting until you’ve a few to sell in One at a Time. This week I’m presenting my Not So Scientific Theory of How Self-Publishers Can Use Social Media to Get Amazon to Sell Their Books, which is based on how I think I’ve managed to sell my own books over the last couple of years. You can catch up here

So in Step 1 you assembled your online infrastructure—blog, Twitter, Facebook fan page—and in Step 2, hopefully found a little corner of the internet that likes you and wants to hear more of what you’ve got to say. You have built an online platform. Hooray!

Now we’re going to share news of our upcoming book with the people who visit that online platform, but we’re going to very careful to (i) not piss anyone off, (ii) not to come across like a shameless self-promoter and (iii) keep up our end of the bargain at all times, regardless of what happens with our book. It’s time to launch our book online.

This.

What’s Our Aim Here?

Yesterday we talked about starting a blog, Twitter page, etc. under the heading “Find Your First Readers.” The idea is this: to assemble a group of supporters who, when our book comes out, will be among the first to buy it. Hopefully this group will then spread the word by reviewing our book online, telling their friends, etc. They’re going to help us give our book a good start in printed (or coded) life.

We’re not talking about hundreds or thousands of people. (Although that would be nice—chance would be a fine thing.) We merely want to ensure that when we release our book, people we are not related to and have never met in real life will be waiting to buy it, and buy it because they like our writing and/or are interested in the book’s subject matter—and like our writing and/or are interested in the subject matter because we got them liking our writing (through posts, tweets, etc.) and gave them reasons to be interested (through book-related content, which we’ll get to in a sec)

For example when I first released Mousetrapped, I sold about 100 paperback copies in the first month. (My focus wasn’t yet on e-books.) At my real-life book launch which was not attended by a single person I wasn’t related to or friends with, I sold 38 copies of my book. So who bought the other 62?

  • People who’d been reading my blog for the past few months and liked my writing style
  • People who’d been reading my blog for the past few months and thought Mousetrapped sounded interesting
  • People who’d been reading my blog for the past few months and wanted to see how my book had turned out, perhaps because they were considering self-publishing too and wanted to gauge the quality of the finished product
  • As above, but with Twitter
  • As above, but with Facebook
  • Followers of blogs whose owners had been kind enough to host me for a guest post or giveaway
  • Followers of book blogs whose owners had been kind enough to review my book.

Now let’s address three very important points before we go any further. The first one is that you have to give your blog value. A blog that exists just to advertise books is an empty shell, and not a blog at all but a mere advertisement masquerading as something else, like those stupid “advertorials” you see in magazines these days. (Do they really think we’re that stupid? Please.) It won’t succeed in either being a blog or selling books, because it doesn’t have any value of its own. So give your blog value. As I’ve said already, only do this if you want to do this, and I don’t mean self-publishing, marketing and promoting your own books. I mean the individual things, i.e. being a blogger, being a tweeter, etc. Again, create the blog you want to read. Do you want to read a blog that merely says “buy a book” over and over again with just a slight variation each time?

The next point is that you must always keep up your end of the bargain. I would estimate that something like 80-90% of people who read this blog have never and will never buy a book of mine—and that’s okay. It’s okay because I don’t just blog to sell books. I blog because I enjoy it, and I want self-publishers to have the information I wish I’d had when I first self-published. So whenever I’m using this blog to spread the word about one of my books, especially in the lead up to its release, I always ask myself, Is there enough here for the people who aren’t interested? Have I delivered the kind of posts that my loyal blog readers are expecting? Or have I turned this blog into nothing more than an annoying advertisement this month? 

In the Terminator movies, the problems start when a computer program called Skynet becomes self-aware and decides to terminate humanity. In one version of the story’s timeline, Skynet “wakes up” and starts its killing spree on April 21, 2011. Last April 21, some clever clogs started a Twitter account for Skynet, its first tweet being something like “Hello world.” It was a brilliant idea, and the tweets were pretty funny. But on April 22—and after collecting thousands of followers—instead of shutting down the account or keeping it going (perhaps as the apocalypse got into full swing…), the person behind it started advertising his friend’s album. Cue 140-character outrage—and it was justified, in my opinion. Because the tweeter hadn’t kept up his end of the deal. We’d signed up for Skynet, not the hard sell.

The third point is that this is NOT to be confused with scamming people into buying your book. As in, collecting as many pliable disciplines as possible, chaining them to a newsletter and then instructing them all to buy your book at exactly 10:01 on Monday morning in a concerted effort to—artificially—push your book into the bestseller lists. That’s called Being a Moron.

Not this.

Stranger, Meet My (Not Yet Released) Book

I think your aims when you’re preparing to release a book should be:

  • To inform the world at large that it exists
  • To get the people who know about it interested in it (i.e. find potential readers)
  • To get potential readers caring enough to say, “I’m looking forward to reading that”
  • and to do all this BEFORE the book comes out.

Let’s work backwards. Why should you do this before the book comes out? Because if you don’t, you’ve wasted so many opportunities. Someone once told me that on average, a person has to hear about something three times before they buy it. I don’t know about that, but I do know that the amount of times I’ve said to myself I must buy that book greatly outnumbers the amount of books I’ve bought. That’s partly because I can’t afford it (I actually daydream about no-budget shopping sprees in Waterstones…) and partly because I forget. I need reminding a few times before it snags.

Time and time again I’ve seen Twitter friends release books and tell me about it for the first time on the day of its release. There’s only so many times you can do the “my book is out now!” tweet before you get embarrassed and we get annoyed, so let’s say you tell me twice about your book being for sale. But what if, instead, you’d been slipping me delicious details about your book for the past eight weeks? What if you’d blogged about why you’d decided to self-publish it? (That would’ve been one time.) What if you’d put two potential covers up and asked me and your other Facebook fans which did I prefer? (That would’ve been two.) What if you’d make a fun little book trailer and shared it on YouTube? (That would’ve been three.) What if you’d had a Twitter competition that tied in with the book? (That would’ve been four, at least.) What if you’d got a book blogger to review it, and then tweeted a link to the review? (Now we’re up to five.) And then you’d told me that your book was out now, twice. Now I’d have heard about your book seven times, and I’d either be buying it for sure or blocking you. If you’re a blogger or tweeter I like—and presumably you are, because I’m following you—it’s definitely going to be the first one.

As for getting people interested and caring about your book, you do that through the content you chose to publish, post or tweet about it. Here’s some of the things I did to give some you ideas (hopefully!):

  • Shared my personal story of why I decided to self-publish it
  • Blogged about all aspects of self-publishing, including my mistakes
  • Shared things like the cover design (the stages of it), synopsis, photos of proof copies, etc.
  • Made two book trailers (you can see them here)
  • Posting pictures from my time in Florida on my Facebook page
  • Had a PDF preview that readers could download for free
  • Tagged my “shameless self-promotion” tweets on Twitter with #mousetrappedmonday and confined them to 3-5 tweets of a Monday afternoon
  • Wrote guest posts on other blogs
  • Gave copies to book bloggers and other review sites and then linked to the reviews.

Doing this online—and hopefully getting retweeted, recommended, followed, etc.—will cover the “exists” bit.

Tip: I find it really helpful to think back to the last book I heard about and then went out and bought, and examine why I did that. 

Go For Launch

Another mistake I frequently see self-publishers making is failing to have a release date. You should have one. I know that as self-publishers it’s hard to judge exactly when your book will be available and it’s even harder to get your Kindle edition to coincide with your paperback and your Barnes and Noble listing to match them both, but don’t worry about all that. We don’t have to pick a day and then, come hell or high water, ensure that all our listings go live on that exact date. For self-publishers, your release date can be any day when (i) you decide that you’re ready to launch and (ii) at least your Kindle and paperback, if you’re doing one, are available to buy.

Then turn your online spaces into party central for the week around it. Have a virtual launch party. Go on a blog tour. Give away some books. Have a contest or competition for a juicy prize. Perhaps even give your book away for free for a couple of days, or 24 hours, just to get things going. But for the love of fudge, do something. Don’t invite me to the saddest book launch in the history of the world, i.e. a single post or tweet that gives me a quick run-through every rejection you’ve ever suffered, and then says, “So I self-published it. It’s on Amazon now. $2.99. Here’s a link. Excuse me while I log off, have a nap and expect there to have been hundred of sales by the time I wake up later.” If you wrote the thing and you’re not excited about it, why the hell should I be?

Another tip: look at that list of aims again. Now think of a tweet that says “My book is out now! Just $2.99 on Amazon! Buy it! Please RT please RT please RT” and ask yourself how does that get people interested?

So you’ve written your book, decided to self-publish it, self-published it, built an online platform and got people you’re not related to excited about your book to the point when they’ve exchanged their hard earned cash for a copy of it. The hard part is over. Tomorrow: what to do next to try and keep your book from disappearing into the Most Books Abyss…

Oh, sorry—I meant the easy part is over. Oops.

While we’re on the subject…

I feel like my regular blog readers know me really well, and always know where I’m coming from. But this blog has been getting a lot of attention from new sources in the last couple of weeks, and so a lot of people are stopping by here for the first time. Some, it seems, are getting the impression that I’m only interested in making money, and that I couldn’t care less about writing as a craft or an endeavor all of its own. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m different to a lot of self-publishers (and self-published bloggers) in that I’m still pursuing traditional publication. If a publisher approached me tomorrow and offered me a €5,000 advance, I’d take it, even though I could make four times that releasing the same book myself, because getting published is my dream, and I’d love the opportunity to see how the experts do all this. But this is “How To Sell Self-Published Books Month”, so the focus is on selling. And I need to make money from self-publishing because I do it full-time, and the income it generates allows me to not have a day job but instead devote myself fully to writing the book that I hope will, one day, help me achieve my dream of traditional publication. If you don’t want to make money from writing, I can only assume you don’t love doing it as much as I do, because making money from it is the only way that you can do it all the time, unless you win the lottery. And even if you are published by someone else, you still don’t get to “just write” all the time. You have to participate in the promotion, and so you should. It’s your book, after all. Helping the people who invested in it get their investment back is the very least you could do. When you self-publish, you’ve made the investment, and so you need to get out there and sell your book for the same reason.

To receive each new post by e-mail look for the subscribe box in the sidebar or footer, or follow me on Twitter for a reminder with a link. Or just come back here if it’s not too pink for you. Teaser alert: I’ll have another FREE book for you tomorrow…

REPLAY 2011: To Launch or Not To Launch?

8 Dec

Between now and the end of the year I’m going to be using Tuesdays and Thursdays to replay some popular posts from 2011, in case some of the people who’ve discovered my blog in the meantime missed it first time round. Think of it as a “year in review” kind of thing. This was first posted back in February and addresses the question of whether or not real world activities, such as a book launch, have any place in self-publishing, which is best done when confined to online. 

We’re coming up on the year anniversary of me taking the self-publishing plunge with Mousetrapped and now with the benefit of almost twelve months worth of hindsight I can see clearly what I did right, what I did wrong and what I did really, really wrong. (That’s selling books through my website, if you were wondering, and Createspace’s shipping charges is why.) But one of the things I’m still on the fence about is my bookstore launch/glorified signing.

As a self-publishing author, should you have a launch?

Initially I wasn’t going to have a launch at all. I’d wanted to be a writer ever since I found out real, live people were behind the books I loved and so that first book launch, be it a signing or a party, was a Very Big Deal. I wanted to “save” it and not “waste” it on my self-published book which, don’t forget, was nothing much of anything at the time. I wanted my first book launch to be a glittery affair, one that had an agent and an editor on the guest list, complimentary wine and the wearing of an expensive designer dress. (And to be skinny for it, but that’s another story…!) I wanted it to be for a novel someone else had published, not a travel memoir about working in Walt Disney World, NASA and the Ebola virus that I had produced myself.

I took a baby step, and informed my mother we would be having a Florida-themed party in our house to celebrate the book’s release. There would be American flag bunting, tropical themed cupcakes and shortbread cut with a Space Shuttle-shaped cutter. (And it would have been so cool.) But we wouldn’t be able to invite anyone but friends and family, and that would nix any publicity opportunities; you can’t invite your local newspaper’s social diarist to a party you’re having in your house, unless you’re Michael Flatley and your house is Castlehyde. So we decided instead on a bookstore.

I was terrified at the thought of approaching my local independent bookstore, Douglas Bookshop, and asking if first, they’d stock a few copies of Mousetrapped and second, let me have my launch there, but they couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating. And so around lunchtime one Saturday last May, Mousetrapped had its launch-style signing in a brick-and-mortar bookshop. It was great fun, but self-publishing is a business, and with that in mind, was the launch worth having? Did it make financial sense? Did it result in sales, or a loss of profit?

The Arguments For
  • It felt good. I really enjoyed the day and it made me feel like a proper author.
  • It gave my self-publishing operation a sense of professionalism. My books were in a bookstore, I had a well-attended launch and I managed to get some publicity for it.
  • The event got great newspaper coverage locally. There was one piece in my local paper, Cork’s Evening Echo, a couple of days before the launch, another afterwards and then a two-page of photos taking at the launch. It also led to an hour-long radio interview on county radio shortly afterwards.

The Arguments Against
  • It didn’t result in any extra sales, and practically all copies on the day were sold to family and friends, i.e. people who would have bought copies anyway.
  • I made less money from the sales I did make, because instead of selling them to my family and friends directly, I sold them to the bookshop who then sold them to the attendees. The difference in the profit for me was about 30% of the list price.
  • It cost money in other ways. I had to print posters, invites and postcards and order in the stock so I could sell it on (incurring shipping charges).
What Should YOU Do?

I don’t think you should automatically have a launch or signing for your self-published book, but then I don’t think there’s anything self-publishing related that you should do automatically, without any thought. Every single book is different and needs to be treated as such. I think you need to ask yourself, What will I get out of doing this? and when you find the answer ask, Is that what I want?

If all you want is to feel like a proper author for a couple of hours, then go ahead and have whatever sort of launch/party/signing your heart desires. Buy a new outfit, hire a photographer and arrange nibbles. Invite all your friends. It’ll be great fun, but be prepared for it to cost you money.

If what you want is publicity, stick with a signing or “appearance” where maybe you give a little book-related talk and then scribble your name in a few copies. Get in no more stock than you think you can sell and avoid any glossy and expensive extras, such as posters or even invites. Send an e-mail to every editor, radio show producer, social diarist, etc. that you can find and get your mug in the paper, preferably with a hand holding your book up just below it. Take plenty of pictures to put on your website or blog afterwards, and maybe even rope a special guest, such as another writer or a local celebrity connected with your book or your book’s subject matter, into attending and saying a few words.

If it’s sales you after, you’re going to need to do a lot of work. Start with everything above. Then calculate all your costs and work out how many books you’re going to need to sell to recoup that money. Then, get out and sell them. This means hand-selling them at the launch, forbidding anyone you know from buying a copy beforehand (so they buy it on the night instead) and getting as many people you don’t know to attend as people you do. It won’t be easy but it’ll all be worth it if it works.

Good luck!


To Launch or Not To Launch?

4 Mar

We’re coming up on the year anniversary of me taking the self-publishing plunge with Mousetrapped and now with the benefit of almost twelve months worth of hindsight I can see clearly what I did right, what I did wrong and what I did really, really wrong. (That’s selling books through my website, if you were wondering, and Createspace’s shipping charges is why.) But one of the things I’m still on the fence about is my bookstore launch/glorified signing.

As a self-publishing author, should you have a launch?

Initially I wasn’t going to have a launch at all. I’d wanted to be a writer ever since I found out real, live people were behind the books I loved and so that first book launch, be it a signing or a party, was a Very Big Deal. I wanted to “save” it and not “waste” it on my self-published book which, don’t forget, was nothing much of anything at the time. I wanted my first book launch to be a glittery affair, one that had an agent and an editor on the guest list, complimentary wine and the wearing of an expensive designer dress. (And to be skinny for it, but that’s another story…!) I wanted it to be for a novel someone else had published, not a travel memoir about working in Walt Disney World, NASA and the Ebola virus that I had produced myself.

I took a baby step, and informed my mother we would be having a Florida-themed party in our house to celebrate the book’s release. There would be American flag bunting, tropical themed cupcakes and shortbread cut with a Space Shuttle-shaped cutter. (And it would have been so cool.) But we wouldn’t be able to invite anyone but friends and family, and that would nix any publicity opportunities; you can’t invite your local newspaper’s social diarist to a party you’re having in your house, unless you’re Michael Flatley and your house is Castlehyde. So we decided instead on a bookstore.

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I was terrified at the thought of approaching my local independent bookstore, Douglas Bookshop, and asking if first, they’d stock a few copies of Mousetrapped and second, let me have my launch there, but they couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating. And so around lunchtime one Saturday last May, Mousetrapped had its launch-style signing in a brick-and-mortar bookshop. It was great fun, but self-publishing is a business, and with that in mind, was the launch worth having? Did it make financial sense? Did it result in sales, or a loss of profit?

The Arguments For
  • It felt good. I really enjoyed the day and it made me feel like a proper author.
  • It gave my self-publishing operation a sense of professionalism. My books were in a bookstore, I had a well-attended launch and I managed to get some publicity for it.
  • The event got great newspaper coverage locally. There was one piece in my local paper, Cork’s Evening Echo, a couple of days before the launch, another afterwards and then a two-page of photos taking at the launch. It also led to an hour-long radio interview on county radio shortly afterwards.

The Arguments Against
  • It didn’t result in any extra sales, and practically all copies on the day were sold to family and friends, i.e. people who would have bought copies anyway.
  • I made less money from the sales I did make, because instead of selling them to my family and friends directly, I sold them to the bookshop who then sold them to the attendees. The difference in the profit for me was about 30% of the list price.
  • It cost money in other ways. I had to print posters, invites and postcards and order in the stock so I could sell it on (incurring shipping charges).
What Should YOU Do?

I don’t think you should automatically have a launch or signing for your self-published book, but then I don’t think there’s anything self-publishing related that you should do automatically, without any thought. Every single book is different and needs to be treated as such. I think you need to ask yourself, What will I get out of doing this? and when you find the answer ask, Is that what I want?

If all you want is to feel like a proper author for a couple of hours, then go ahead and have whatever sort of launch/party/signing your heart desires. Buy a new outfit, hire a photographer and arrange nibbles. Invite all your friends. It’ll be great fun, but be prepared for it to cost you money.

If what you want is publicity, stick with a signing or “appearance” where maybe you give a little book-related talk and then scribble your name in a few copies. Get in no more stock than you think you can sell and avoid any glossy and expensive extras, such as posters or even invites. Send an e-mail to every editor, radio show producer, social diarist, etc. that you can find and get your mug in the paper, preferably with a hand holding your book up just below it. Take plenty of pictures to put on your website or blog afterwards, and maybe even rope a special guest, such as another writer or a local celebrity connected with your book or your book’s subject matter, into attending and saying a few words.

If it’s sales you after, you’re going to need to do a lot of work. Start with everything above. Then calculate all your costs and work out how many books you’re going to need to sell to recoup that money. Then, get out and sell them. This means hand-selling them at the launch, forbidding anyone you know from buying a copy beforehand (so they buy it on the night instead) and getting as many people you don’t know to attend as people you do. It won’t be easy but it’ll all be worth it if it works.

Good luck!

Click here to read all my self-printing posts.

Click here to read more about Mousetrapped, the book I self-printed.

Self-Printing Promotion: Of Book Launches and Book Tours

28 Jun

Initially I wasn’t even going to have a book launch, bound as I was by the bonds of self-published shame. If people opened the newspaper and saw me parading around with my POD-published book, wouldn’t they assume I’d lost my mind to self-delusion? Wouldn’t the really published writers raise an eyebrow and snort, in the same way I had in the past when I’d seen other self-publishers talk the traditionally published talk? (Not because I was really published, but because I knew they weren’t.) Wouldn’t the girls I went to school with see the pictures in the paper and think to themselves, Gosh! She’s put on a few pounds!, instead of, She’s done what she always said she would – and she’s only 27! like I wanted them to?

It was the pictures in the paper that did it – the thought of the free publicity. If I had a launch, I could invite people to it, and if people came, the local newspaper could take photos. Soon, the whole city would know I’d (self) published a book.

I could also buy new clothes. Maybe even shoes. Continue reading

Adventures in Self-Printing: The Book Launch

10 May

On Saturday, I went to a book launch. My book launch. As in, the launch of my own book.

It’s all still a bit surreal.

And the prize for book jacket colour co-ordination goes to...

After a hectic week of preparation – wishing away the volcanic ash long enough for my books to fly in from North Carolina, telling everyone I know that unless they show up at exactly 12.30pm they can expect never to speak to me again, spending so much money on make-up in Boots that the cashier eyed my credit card with suspicion – the day had finally arrived, and I felt ever-so-slightly nauseous at the thought of what was about to happen.

Let me explain: it wasn’t a traditional launch, per se. As I’ve previous blogged, I wanted to save the glitzy, alcohol-drenched launch party for my novel dreams; for my adventures in self-printing, I went for the glorified-signing-in-a-local-bookshop approach, which was really all I could handle. Baby steps and all that jazz. Continue reading

T-Minus 1 Day to (a Book) Launch: About the Author

7 May

It’s almost he-ere…

Now that the logistics are taken care of (the books, the posters, the invites) and everyone I’ve ever met in my entire life who lives within a twenty-mile radius of the city has been roped in to attending, all that’s left to do now is prepare myself for prolonged exposure to the public, photographs taken in natural light and not shocking the people who haven’t met me in the (ample) flesh for a while.

Well, not shocking them too much anyway.

The Book Launch Outfit

A sneak peek at the Book Launch Outfit...

Much like my crazy book launch promotion ideas (like hiring a model to wear a Mickey Mouse costume and hang around outside the shop) and my crazy book launch beverage ideas (like serving orange juice in champagne flutes – orange juice? Florida? Get it?), there were a number of garment ideas that went out the window too, including a palm tree-emblazoned vest from Oasis which I still might invest in (no pun intended) to wear another time. In the end I settled for something summery and blue – Florida is, after all, the Sunshine State, and everything about Mousetrapped seems to be blue – and dug out my rocket ship necklace to accessorize it. Continue reading

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