Launching a book for the first time is probably the most exciting event for any author. It is the celebration and culmination of the hard work and dedication that has gone into writing the book.
As an author is it a validation of self, a recognition of talent, an acceptance of what can be achieved if one persists and dedicates enough time and effort.
It is time where you gather all your family, friends and everyone you know to share in one of the happiest times in your life. It is important to have as many people as possible to support you and acknowledge your success as it is often difficult to accept it yourself.
Many writers and artists talk about imposter syndrome and it is a very common experience for many. Why is it that we can’t accept that we are capable of success or greatness? Some say it is because of our English background where we are not encouraged to self-promote or talk about ourselves. As children we are encouraged to practice humility when accepting praise and deflect compliments when they are given.
Others say it is a legacy of our Christian values with concepts of original sin and having to first prove that we are worthy. The Dalai Lama commented that he was amazed at how many social problems there are in the Western world due to the lack of self-love. He said he assumed that everyone loved themselves. Why would they not? We are born pure and whole and should not have to prove otherwise.
But back to the Book Launch. How does one start to organize such a momentous event?
- The first step is to send out invitations well in advance. Use social media such as Facebook and set up an event on your page. Keep reminding people each week and then closer to the time that the event is impending. You can set up your Facebook page to schedule a future date and time when you want these reminders to appear on your page.
- Decide on a theme or visual brand that will help people associate with the upcoming event. Because my book was “Chasing Marigolds”, I posted regular photos of various friends and family members posing with yellow and orange garlands around their necks in the same colours as the book cover. I also posted fun high-speed videos of people chasing around with the book and then us unpacking the book ready for the launch.
- Decide on a venue that will enhance your theme and cater for the number of people you expect to attend the event. I chose a bowling club which had an attractive outlook onto the river as well as a bar with the choice of several rooms which catered for a different number of people. Closer to the time I had to switch to the larger room as I realized there would be more people coming than originally expected.
- To keep in with the original Indian theme of yellow and orange garlands, we decorated the tables with flowers in these colours and floated petals and candles in bowls of water. We added a small statue of Ganesh (seen on the cover of my book) and a few sticks of incense burning outside the entrance. We also had a large TV screen where we showed continuous vibrant photos of my trip to India to complete the atmosphere. Many people commented that they loved the atmosphere we had created as they felt they too were living the Indian experience described in the book.
- Despite what some people say that no one is interested in eating much on these occasions, make sure you have plenty of food and drink. People will enjoy the ambience of any function with a glass of wine in their hand and some delicious food to sample. I decided to self-cater and made some tasty Indian treats such as samosas, lamb kofta balls and mango chutney savouries. There were also plenty of other sweet dishes to savour with bright yellow serviettes to add to the theme and we put a tab on the bar. I find when I cater for large crowds, I choose food that can be cooked beforehand and frozen. This means that I am not stressed trying to do everything at the last minute. With many venues you are never sure about how long the ovens or warmers will take to heat the food so it is a good idea to be prepared and do as much as you can beforehand.
- Think about who you would like to give speeches on the day and have all the speeches prepared beforehand. I chose a friend who I knew I could rely on to give a good speech and she did an excellent job. I was also thrilled when two couples who had been on the Indian trip with me flew over to Perth for the launch and both wanted to give impromptu speeches. Not only was it a bonus for me but it added authenticity to the event and a mystery quality to my book. I heard people discussing as to which of the characters in the book were these larger than life guests.
- When it comes to book signing it is a good idea to pre-sign the books. Then on the day of the book signing, you just need to add the person’s name. I also added a few inspirational phrases which was rather nice seeing people’s reactions to the words they had been given (at random) as they handed me the book to sign. Deciding to sign copies of my book beforehand proved to be a blessing in more ways than one. A week before the book launch, I injured my shoulder which resulted in radiating nerve pain down my right arm. I lost the strength in my right arm and could barely pick up a pen, let alone sign 100 copies of my book.
- It is well worth getting a card reader for your mobile device to enable you to receive credit card payments on the day. I purchased a Square Reader available through the Apple shop for about $60. Make sure you have chargers and power cords at hand in case you need to plug in your device somewhere. A cash box with plenty of change is also a must as people don’t always have the correct amount of money.
- Engage the help of several people at the table where you are signing and taking transactions as it requires more than one person to carry out these tasks. Have a sign-up list for everyone to write their email addresses. This is a great way to keep in touch with the people who attended your function and purchased your book by emailing them a copy of your monthly newsletter.
- Engage the services of a photographer to record the event. You will be too busy on the day to take photos and you want to be able to look back and remember all the wonderful people who attended and supported you on your special day. I was very fortunate to have a sister and brother-in-law who are both talented photographers. If you want to see my photos taken by them, have a look on my Book Launch page.