Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"What the...?!" Wednesday #3: What Goes Into Planning a Launch Party?

I should probably explain what a launch party is first.

A launch party is a way for an author to celebrate the release of his or her book and get the word out to the community that a local writer has made good [aka lives among them and can't be trusted not to eavesdrop]. The party takes place at a book store so the author can sign copies for friends, family, and (gasp) strangers.

Some authors like to include a reading or Q&A session before the signing. Some authors provide raffles, trivia games, or other entertainment. Some authors offer champagne, wine, and snacks. Some authors -- wait. I think nightly readings of The Mommy Book by Todd Parr have bled over into my syntax. Anyway, you get the idea.

So!

Planning a launch party requires advance prep work. I live in the suburbs, and I really wanted to celebrate the launch of BRUISED at my local bookstore. The Valencia Barnes & Noble is a warm, inviting place I go to almost every week. I also attend monthly SCBWI shmoozes there, so I knew I'd feel comfortable throwing the party there, and that memories of the event would make me smile in the future while browsing the stacks or hitting up Saturday story time with my son.

Even though my book doesn't come out until March 5, I contacted the community relations manager, Joelle, last November to introduce myself and my book, and ask if the store might host me.

Because the holidays are crazy in retail, we agreed to discuss the details after the new year. In the meantime, Joelle graciously booked me for Saturday, March 16th, so I could begin spreading the word.

Once January rolled around, Joelle and I got together in person to go over some basics. I brought her a copy of BRUISED for her and her staff to read (they're apparently big YA fans, yay!), a review I'd recently gotten from Publishers Weekly, and some postcards.

Barnes & Noble would be putting up posters in the window to advertise, and I offered to print fresh bookmarks for customers to take home in the month leading up to the launch.

There were also a few smaller items that needed discussing, like decorations, table cloths, gift bags, chair locations, book displays, etc. Joelle gave me a list of people worth contacting, which was an enormous help. She knows all the local librarians and book club organizers, and she even got me in touch with the host of a radio show about the arts in Santa Clarita.

I've been gathering fun items to raffle off, including signed swag and even a few ARCs from fellow 2013 debut authors Amy Spalding, Kristen Kittscher, Cat Winters, Elisabeth Dahl, Rachele Alpine, Nicole McInnes, Polly Holyoke, and more. I'm really looking forward to the celebration!

If you live in or near Los Angeles, consider this your invite. My launch party takes place on Saturday, March 16th from 1 to 3 pm at the Valencia, CA Barnes & Noble.

Hope to see you there!

17 comments:

  1. I read this with *extreme* vigilance. You are leading the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Elisabeth! I'm fairly clueless but Joelle's got it covered so I'm learning from her :) Hope this helps others who are coming out with books, or just enjoy behind-the-scenes glimpses.

      Delete
  2. Sarah, I'm with Elizabeth. This blog post is now my official launch party checklist. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope it comes in handy, and thanks for letting me include BRIANNA ON THE BRINK swag at the party!

      Delete
  3. Yeah, I have a problem with this ... You're on the other side of the country. That's just not gonna work for me.

    ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure we already decided you'd be moving. ;)

      Delete
  4. Great idea to contact local librarians and book clubs! I'm diligently taking notes from this post, too. I'm with Hannah: the only problem with this event is that I'm too far away to attend it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those were two ideas that had never occurred to me, so I was glad Joelle brought them up. I know the BLACKBIRDS party is going to rock, especially with your family there. At least our books will be at each other's, eh?

      Delete
  5. Will you do a reading, or give a talk of any sort? Or will it be strictly a party and signing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and I might give a very brief talk about what inspired the story, sort of like the presentation I gave at ALA, I think.

      Delete
  6. Hi Suzanne, I'll be reading an excerpt and answering any questions people have about writing, publishing, and my book, plus of course the raffle :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you again for posting this info- it's super helpful : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So happy to hear. Thanks for commenting!

      Delete
  8. Sarah, I will for sure be there! Can't wait to get my own signed copy :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great post. I love these specifics. BRUISED is such a wonderful book and I'm just thrilled about it making its way into the world!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sounds like fun, Sarah!!! I can't wait to hear how it goes! : )

    ReplyDelete
  11. Excellent post, Sarah! I'm doing much of the same for my launch. :)

    ReplyDelete