Jenn Rackham

Book launch for A Dash of Belladonna

I'm not sure what a successful book launch is: is it the number of books you've sold? The connections you've made? Or how many people turned up? 

I guess it depends on the author and the person who is organizing it. 

My book launch was a bit... different. More of an indie author doing it herself than relying on a publisher, due to our unique circumstances where our manager quit 2 weeks before my book launch... and no one could step up. It was either cancel the book launch, or organize it myself. (I was 36 weeks pregnant!) 
So this would be a good guide for authors who doesn't have a publisher, because I had to do this on my own! 

Well - I'd like to think it was a success! I was terrified no one would show up - but I had such wonderful supporters and friends show up! 

They even brought friends to buy my books! (ah what will you do without them) 

Most of the people who came already had their copies of the book, so sale wasn't the main priority... I aimed for this gathering for me to say 'thank you' to all my friends and readers, and hope they had a good time!

I was terrified no one would eat the food we prepared!
 

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Those galaxy lemonades from Pinterest were amazing. 

We had some formal things like speeches, how A Dash of Belladonna got made and the journey of the book, but rest of it was hanging out with friends, talking and trying to get the quill to work to sign the books! (Learnt my lesson. Practice with quill and ink if you're going to bring a fancy quill and ink to a book launch) 
 

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Things I've learnt from this book launch that I will remember for next time: (And hopefully this benefits other authors too!)

1: Have a clear objective in mind:

Do you want a public book launch where you want strangers to come? Or do you want it a close knit friends/readers only? 

I was going back and fourth with this one and in the end I went for friends only. Once I had that in my head, I was able to relax. 

If you're wanting a large gathering of everyone and anyone being invited, you need to plan quite early on. Put posters up. Ask the venue to put some up for you. 
And email a list out to absolutely everyone and anyone. 

In my case, I only invited those who already bought the book, or had been supportive of me writing and publishing this book. 

2: Have a budget in mind for food and stick with it! 

I went overboard with mine. 
I was so worried about not having enough food, I bought so much food - and in the end there were so much left overs! Remember that people don't come to book launches expecting to be fed. Especially when the book launches typically go for about 1-2 hours. 
If people are out of food, they're fine with it. People are there for books. 

3: Think of what you will sign on books.

I remember my first book I signed, I was so nervous I wrote something like "I hope you enjoy thanks." I had to ask for the book back so I could sign a different one. 

People will want your book signed. It's a given! Don't be shy! And although there's nothing wrong with signing the same message, it's good to prepare 3-4 different ones!

4: FIND WHERE THE AIR CON IS - I mean - don't be afraid to ask the venue person where things are. 

We all thought we were going to die. It was muggy, humid and it wasn't until someone yelled "THERE IS AIR CON" we all relaxed and cheered. 

5: Have people who will clean up/look after your guests. 

Why? Because you can't. You, the author has to run around making small talk and signing books. I had my husband, best friend, and husband's best friends do this for me. I owe them so much.

6: Assign someone to take photos!

I had people who took photos for me, and I had my husband take some. These days you can just get a good iPhone or Samsung phone to take great photos. No need to hire any photographers! 

Thank you everyone for coming, once again! It was a blast! I will never forget that day! 

Hope to see everyone again in my next book :)