Greetings from contemporary fiction author, Deborah Vogts. We all know the story of the little engine who didn't think he could make it up the giant hill. That's sometimes how I felt this past year when I considered everything involved in marketing my debut book release with Zondervan.
This month I want to go over planning a book launch. A book launch is a fun and exciting event--a celebration of something you've longed for and awaited.
Finally, the day arrives when your book is released from your publisher. You hold it in your hand. You want to celebrate with friends and family, or even with your church or your community. And you should! A book launch is the perfect opportunity to do this.
Little Engine, this part of the journey is all downhill. Take a break, relax and enjoy the scenery.
When my debut book Snow Melts in Spring came out with Zondervan last summer, I'd given a lot of thought about what I wanted to do to celebrate its launch. Because the Seasons of the Tallgrass series is set in the Flint Hills of Kansas, my first thought was to hold the launch in Cottonwood Falls, a wee little town in the heart of the Flint Hills, which was also the basis for my fictional town of Diamond Falls.
I made some phone calls and started planning. I shared my thoughts with Sue Smith, the owner of the Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls. Sue was delighted with the idea and offered to host me for a two-day book signing during their Flint Hills Folklife Celebration, one of their biggest attractions of the year.
She set up signings for the Friday night music event and then again the next day during the Festival, going so far as to provide Snickerdoodle cookies and punch for the reception. (For those who aren't aware, I provide a recipe for Snickerdoodles in the back of Snow Melts in Spring.)
After a few more phone calls, I managed to collect two awesome giveaways for the event--a one night stay at the 1874 Stonehouse B&B and a dinner for 2 at the Grand Central Hotel. Both offered to me at no charge. I never could have imagined such generosity. I was amazed and so thankful!
Once we had the plans set, I began collecting a list of librairies and bookstores in the area that might be interested in promoting the event. With the help of my publisher, fliers and posters were sent to these places, and a media release went out to radio and newspapers in the area.
In the end, the event was a wonderful success. Not only did I celebrate the launch of my book in this lovely place in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas, but I made new friends and gained new book readers.
I also held a local book launch at my hometown church. This, too, was a lovely celebration with friends and family who were unable to attend the first launch. For this event, we had music, a decorated cake, a chocolate fountain and two more giveaways--a handmade quilt and a lovely teapot. Local newspapers promoted the event.
This next week, I'm launching my second book, Seeds of Summer, again in the beautiful Flint Hills. Because my main character is a former Miss Rodeo Kansas, I decided to hold the event at the Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City, KS. I'm sharing a booth with the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys who will be giving away for free New Testament Bibles. I cannot imagine a better vendor to be with.
Again, my publisher is sending out flyers and posters, plus they are providing some amazing prizes for drawings--$$ gift certificates to local western stores. And I will be awarding a special prize to the winner of the Rodeo Princess Contest. I think it will be a lot of fun.
So, from all this, my best advice is to be creative with your launch and have fun. If possible, draw elements from your book that will bring meaning to the event. Enjoy this moment and celebrate with your family and friends. And have fun. I certainly plan to do that next week!
Next month I'll go over scheduling book signings! Until then, keep chugging up those hills . . .
Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in SE Kansas. Visit her Author Web Site to learn more about her writing and her second book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, Seeds of Summer, available June 2010