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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Book Launch by Diana Flegal

This past Saturday I had the privilege of attending a client’s book launch. Since my clients are scattered all over the US of A, it is rare for me to be able to lend my physical support to them all, as much as I’d like to.

 Author Amy L. Sullivan did a stellar job hosting a fun, creative and successful book launch both online and within her local community. I thought I would interview her and pass along some do’s and don’ts in an effort to assist you in preparation for your launch event planning.


Do Become Visible Online
Amy purposefully supported others online. She joined groups, wrote articles for websites, completed interviews via Skype, committed to pray, and became genuinely interested in the projects other people were doing. She sought out those who had similar missions as she did and joined forces to work on new endeavors together. 

Do Share Your Vision
Since Amy’s book is on generous living, in addition to an online book launch, she wanted to host a local event where families and nonprofits could meet one another with the hopes of becoming involved with each other.

Amy prayed about a venue for her local event. She wanted a place in the midst of her community where families could come and children were welcome. Once the venue was found—a perfect place in answer to her prayers—she assembled her event team—comprised of 6 local people. This team met twice and communicated regularly through email. 

Once Amy shared her vision with others, she was surprised how many people wanted to rally and help her.

Do Assemble a Team to Get Behind You
Three months before the book’s release, Amy also assembled an online launch team. Amy had been building genuine online relationships for a few years, and at this time, she simply asked people if they would be interested in helping her spread the word about her new book when it released.
Three weeks before Amy’s book released, Amy gathered the people who said they would support her in a Private Facebook Group. Forty-seven members participated in challenges and online sharing about the book.

Do Plan Out What You Will Ask of Your Online Launch Team
Examples of things she asked them to do were:
§  Share about Amy’s book on their blog.
§  Tweet and retweet: Amy provided them with already made tweets to share.
§  Share photos of the book’s cover and quotes from the book online.
§  Amy sought 100 people to participate in Thuderclap (an online platform which allows tons of people to share about the same message) and CLAP her book once.
§  Pray. Amy felt prayer was of extreme importance in her book launch’s success. One launch team member’s sole contribution was to pray every day for the book launch and the local event.

Do Brainstorm    
Amy’s wish list for her local event included a face painter, live music, a graphic designer, fun decorations, and kid-friendly food. By the end of the first meeting with her local team, all items from Amy’s wish list had been assigned to others.


Don’t Forget to Reciprocate. Amy made it a priority to share about what others were doing. She made sure to highlight the successes of those around her, and she worked hard not to make things all about her.

Don’t plan to do everything yourself.
“Taking on too much will burn you out and steal your joy. People love to help out—delegate!” Amy knew she wanted to share photos with quotes from her books on them so she asked her photographer friend for photos and a techy friend to place the quotes on the pictures. This was the result.

Don’t be afraid to ask people and agencies in your community to attend local events.
Although Amy’s book is Christian, she invited nonprofits which were not, and guess what? They came.

Amy’s nonfiction topic related to the entitlement of today’s children and how parents can help their children be more “others-centered” lent itself to her inviting and building the event around eight nonprofit organizations. The nonprofits were happy to come and share what they were about with Amy’s community, and many of them provided the children with hands on things to do. This photo is related to Project Linus.

Don’t Exceed Your Budget
There are many venues in your community that you might be able to use free or pay little for. Check with your church or synagogue. Many of them prefer their buildings be used for community events. Consider bartering, offering to help them set up and tear down for their next event.

Amy can you give us an idea of what this event cost you and how you budgeted for it? Overall what did you spend?
“Prayer was a huge factor –An online group I started called #RiskRejection presented me with a donation of $800.00 to hold the event, and I stuck to that amount, but I used every cent.

“Besides showcasing the nonprofits, face painting, photo taking and snacks, I wanted to hold a drawing in which one of the organizations would win a $100.00 donation, but I ran out of money. So we held a drawing, and instead of a financial prize—I gifted the winning charity with a media promotion I created and will implement for them. Who can’t benefit from online promotion?” 

That is a crazy cool idea Amy, and I loved the scratch off cards you had that each of the guests took to each of the nonprofits table and had scratched off. It was a great way to see that each nonprofit was visited by your guests. Then turning them in and choosing our favorite charity to gift the prize to- brilliant.

Nonfiction titles can easily have themes built around them, but fiction titles could be fun as well. If your book is a Historical, consider dressing in period costume, and preparing snacks relevant to that time period. Check with historical groups in your area and see if they would be willing to present a table about them and what they offer to the community. Ask Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Pioneers or other youth groups if they would provide a type of entertainment for your event.
I hope this interview with Amy has been helpful. 

By the Way: Amazon just put Amy's book on sale today- the print version is  now just $6.17


  • List Price: $13.95
  • Save: $7.78 (56%)
In Stock.

Your turn: If you have published a book, tell about your book launch. We’d love to hear ideas and strategies that worked for both online and local events.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Another Duplicate Copy by Andy Scheer

The trouble is, I love hardcovers … and I struggle to resist a bargain. So whenever I visit a good thrift store, I usually come home with a few new copies.

But by the time I get home, someone has placed another copy of that same hardcover onto my shelves.

Or so it seems.

Early in my days of accumulating titles by favorite authors, I kept lists. Being a low-tech person, I used index cards. They worked great, as long as I updated them and carried them along. Somehow that practice fell by the wayside. And I began looking for books by other authors.

I'm safe if I do my shopping online at home. When a fellow collector alerted me this past week to a listing on E-bay, I could say thanks and assure him I already had a nice copy, with dust jacket.

But garage sales and thrift stores are another story – especially when I visit on half-off discount day.

My son tells me there's a smart phone app that lets you scan a book's ISBN and check the title against your personal database. Great idea – if I carried a smart phone. Buying one would likely cost more than I'd save on duplicate copies.

Meanwhile, if you could use a nice hardcover first printing of Black Order by James Rollins or The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King, let me know. Somehow I got spare copies.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Authors Say the Funniest Things by Linda S. Glaz

“You didn’t read far enough. The story gets really good in the third chapter!”
Well, yes. It probably does. But what makes this author think someone is going to wait that long to become vested in the characters?
“I already self-published it on Amazon, and the sales aren’t all that great. I need an agent to take it to the next level. But the reviews are wonderful!”
In other words, I need an agent to try to convince a publisher that even though it didn’t sell well, if only THEY would publish it, it would. And my family and best friends loved it. Nope. It doesn’t pay to look at material that has already been published unless the author can show a real level of platform or sales numbers that make my eyes explode. And if that’s the case, why do they need another publisher? (And why would they need me, I can’t see their work anymore?)
“I no once you read the story! youl’l be happy to werk on bringing the gramer and puntuashun up to par cuz its SOOO good.’
And there you have it. So often a story that really could be amazing is sent out far too soon. Without critique partners, without serious edits, and often, without even a basic knowledge of grammar and punctuation, of current writing styles, and so forth, a writer is so invested in his or her story that they feel the need to share it immediately. I know I did. And if it isn’t polished more closely than the Hope diamond, it won’t shine. It won’t stand a chance to be considered above the rest in the pile.
“I’ve worked really hard on this for three months. I got laid off and figured why not? All of my friends love it. One who reads two books every week said she never read a better story.”
Our friends love us. They are impressed that we’ve written a book. They will love it even if it suffers bad construction. They are, after all, our friends. A good story takes time and work.
“You didn’t read far enough. The story gets really good in the third chapter!”
Again, folks, that just doesn’t cut it. As writers we all know it has to shine in the first chapter. No, it has to shine on the first page. No, again. IT HAS TO SHINE IN THE FIRST LINE.
You novel must grab a reader from the first words and force them to read on.
Be prepared: write, polish, review, and rewrite.
Let your words sing directly to your readers’ hearts.