So, as I mentioned last week, the book launch for my new book, SASSY: The Go-for-it Girl’s Guide to Becoming Mistress of Your Destiny, was awesome x 100000.
Gorgeous, gorgeous people, burly girls, cupcakes, pink fizz and I got to sign books using my favourite feather pen – hurrah.
Now that I’ve come down from my book-launch high, I am big on ‘fessing up so I think it’s only right and proper that I share what really went down to make that event a pink-tinted success – sharing is caring and all that – so that when YOUR book is published, and you’re planning your own event o’ book love deliciousness you’ll be able to decide whether a book store is the locale for you, who to invite, what to do with those ‘what if no one buys a book’ frets and fears and most importantly, you’ll be able to decide for yourself ‘is having dancing girls in a book store really worth the threat of having your event pulled?’
I know, I’m like the gift that keeps giving, right?
MAKE IT HAPPEN
So, imagine the scene, you’re sitting at a signing desk with a pile of your book of wonder at your side. There is a mile long queue out the store of people who all want to meet you, talk to you and get their copy of aforementioned book of wonder signed by the author. That’s you, btw. Awesome, huh?
In order for this to happen, you have to organise and pimp the ass off your event. If you’re published with the likes of HarperCollins or Penguin, chances are, their PR people will speak to the venue and set a date for you to sign, but it’s becoming more and more common that the job role of author-girl now includes ‘a one-girl pimp machine’.
Initially, I was going for a London central event, it was on a Z-list celeb scale, and serious moolah was going to have to be dropped in order for it to truly rock and rule. Now it’s not that myself, my book, or my readers aren’t worth the moolah, but it’s about working out what’s really important to you. I realised quite quickly as I spoke to my PR queen, that I didn’t fancy inviting a bunch o’ Z list types I didn’t know to my event, plying them with pink fizz, in the hope they’d help pimp my book. I wanted something local to me, at a bookstore I loved, where the people I loved could come along and help me celebrate. Feel into it, what do YOU want? The answer will NOT be what you THINK people want you to want, ‘k?
APPROACHING YOUR DESIRED LOCALE
Bookstores are used to organising book signings, especially ones like Waterstones here in the UK. But don’t think you HAVE to have it in a bookstore. If your book is about women who make cakes to stop a zombie apocalypse, then how fab would it be to launch your book at a bakery with zombie cupcakes as free gifts? Be imaginative, and most importantly, do what feels right for you.
To be a one-girl-pimp-machine, you have to become a walking, talking billboard for your book. I put on my bright pink dress, a slash o’ pink lipstick and with a copy of SASSY under my arm, went, in-person, to speak to the guys at my local Waterstones. I told them that I’d like to do a book launch in their store, and as my book was about being SASSY, hence the title, I would like there to be dancing girls, cupcakes and pink fizz. The all male staff were on board really rather quickly. Hmmmm…funny that.
So far, so fabulous, right?
❤ Make a contact at the venue so that when you need to ask questions like: do you have pink tablecloths? Wine glasses? Is there room for 6 dancing girls to perform ‘hey big spender? They’ll know you, they’ll know the event and will be able to answer your questions quickly.
❤ If you’re having your event at a bookstore, make sure you clarify whether you are bringing the books with you to the event, or whether they’re ordering them in on a ‘sale or return’ basis. You don’t want to turn up to your book launch and there be no books, right?
❤ Plan the event. Decide if you’re going to just sign books and let people approach you, if you’re going to do a Q&A, if you’re going to have an act or entertainment for your droves of readers, if so, what time they’ll be on. If you have cupcakes to make, when will that happen? Are you giving away freebies to people who buy the book? Make sure they’re ordered. Write a list and tick them off as you go. Sounds boring-snoring, but totally necessary.
❤ Invite people. Seriously. You REALLY do want people there. Create a facebook event, send an invite to your mailing list. Speak to local press and arrange for them to shout about the event and maybe even come along on the day. I went on local radio pimping my wares and spoke to the local paper, it was actually loads of fun, so instead of seeing it as a chore, make it a super-fun experience, a way of letting people know about your event and most importantly, that they need to buy YOUR book.
❤ Don’t fret. It’s only natural that the fear-stuff kicks in once you’ve secured a venue, decided on a theme and sent out invites, but you’ve got to relax and trust. Invite family members who feel obliged to come along, that really helps. Rally your team of supporters, so that if there aren’t as many people there as you’d expected, you’ll be sure to have a good time anyway.
WHAT YOU JUST CAN’T PLAN FOR, NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY… (BASICALLY, WHAT HAPPENED TO ME)
❤ Your point of contact at the venue goes on holiday a week before your event and the first the manager seems to have heard of it is when you go in the store to ask if they have a fridge for 25 bottles of pink fizz.
❤ The manager decides, that despite the bookstore having a gazillion copies of 50 Shades of Grey and Naomi Woolfe’s new book Vagina on the front table, he’s not sure about burlesque girls in his store.
❤ Your publisher not counting on you selling quite as many books as you have, so not having enough books left in stock to send the bookstore.
❤ Your publisher being awesome, getting books printed extra fast, but not being able to deliver them to the store ’til the Monday after the event.
❤ How many ways you can promise your partner you’ll make it up to them when they have to drive a 120 mile round trip to pick up books from the printers.
❤ The manager of the store talking about pulling the event because he’s still not happy about the dancing girls.
❤ How many creative ways you can find to basically say ‘what’s that? You think dancing girls are a bit too much and might pull my event? Fuck it, I’ll do it anyway!’
As you can see from the pix, my event WAS awesome, people turned up, LOTS of people turned up in fact. Burly girls DID dance, the manager was super-happy with the book sales and didn’t implode OR pull the event – it was ALL good.
But do you know what? You REALLY can’t plan for everything. No matter how freakin’ organised you are, stuff WILL and DOES happen that you just can’t control. So when organising your own event, simply start with a locale and a plan, stay flexible, surround yourself with friends and family and repeat this simple mantra, ‘I’ve written a freakin’ book. I’m freakin’ awesome.’ Then get to work enjoying the process of signing and selling that book o’ wonder, sweet cheeks – you deserve it!
If you haven’t written a book, but absolutely positively want to, come join 11 other writer-girls in January and make 2013 the year you Write the freaking book – YOUR book. We’re going to have so much fun word jammin’ together! For more deets head click here.
If a duet is more your thing, I’ve just got TWO spaces available for the Write the Freakin’ Book one-to-one programme this year, so if you want to make that book in your head a hold-in-your hand reality – let’s hook up, pronto!