Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Launch Parties -Do They Help?

Today is my birthday and I’m celebrating it with a book launch party.  Yeah, you heard right.  I’m having a party for the launch of my newest book, “Zapped!” Danger in the cell” which was released by Caribbeanreads Publishing on July 17th.  There is a lot of skepticism about the value of a book launch party, but I’m trying it anyway.

So why am I having a launch party for this novel when I never had it for my past titles?  There are multiple reasons.  My first novel debuted five years ago on my birthday.  And I did have a party, it was just not a book launch or book release party… it was just an ordinary birthday party.  At that time, I had no idea what a launch party was until a few days later when one of my relatives asked about a launch party. 

In addition to my naiveté, I was hoping to keep my “writer’s” identity separate from my professional identity.  I had no idea what impact writing fiction especially romance would have on my career as a scientist.  Finally, back then my book was published by a large publishing house with built in distribution.  Of course at the time my approach to writing was as a hobby.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I wrote a book, sent it to a-million-and-one publishers.  After the hundredth rejection, I wrote another and did the same thing.  This one got taken up by Dorchester Publishing and the rest is history.  I was not intimately involved in the publishing.  I submitted, edited, received galleys and poof! … a book was on the shelves of all major bookstores including Walmart.

For this book it is different.  I’m using a small publisher without the major distribution networks of the major publishing houses.  I have been intimately involved with all creative aspects from the writing to illustrations, to the cover art, to formats etc.  And without the distribution of a major publishing house, I know I have to be my primary promoter.  In terms of identity, well, I’m not trying to separate the identities any more.  This being a science adventure novel aimed at educating kids amalgamates all aspects of my professional life as an author, a scientist, and an educator.  And then there is my co-author to consider.  I’m not the sole author on this one; my eleven-year-old daughter who harassed me to write and publish it and now is getting cold feet when I mention promotion, is the co-author on this novel.

Thus when my sister suggested a launch party I immediately researched it.  I noticed authors had differing opinions on the utility of a launch party.  For some, they consider it a money sink – a huge investment for little gains.  For others, there were success stories in getting the books in the hands of readers whether or not there were major sales at the launch.

So I decided on a more intimate launch party, not at a library or book store or some extravagant venue.  I’m doing it tomorrow at my sister’s home.  It’s going to be a casual affair and since the  book is geared at kids, there will be activities for kids.  We’ve invited a targeted audience: people with kids in the target age as well as teachers and administrators of book clubs who can recommend the books for their students and club members.  And of course we invited our friends and family.

Will it work?  That’s left to be seen.  But eliminating the expensive venue has kept cost down.  Integrating it with the celebration of my birthday, means even if it is not a successful launch party, we would have one heck of a birthday party.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win situation!
I’ll let you know how it went in the comment section.  In the meanwhile, if any of you have had a book launch/book release/book signing party, let me know how it went and what impact it had on your book sales.


Charles Gramlich said...

I hope everything goes wonderfully for the party and the book.

Jewel Amethyst said...

It did, Charles. It went better than I expected. Probably in my next blog post I would give a little more details.

Liane Spicer said...

Happy belated birthday, Jewel!

Back when we were both newbies at Dorchester, I held a cyber launch party on my personal blog and it was a blast! The "venue" was Maracas Beach and all my blog friends from around the world kept dropping in over a 24 hour period.

I'm really impressed with the way your latest book integrates the various aspects of your life. I still try to keep all my bits separate and it's such a pain sometimes!

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks Liane. A cyber launch sounds like a really good idea, for starters there is little or no cost involved.

I always wanted to integrate things. I agree with you that it's really hard having different identities. Just autographing stuff can be quite a nightmare.