Here is part three of my blog series on a book launch and signing for my just released memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On: 1) Preparation, 2) The Actual Event, and 3) Lessons Learned.
Part Three - Lessons Learned.
- Book the venue early. I contacted the Pages (http://www.pagesabookstore.com/) bookstore on February 2 and received an answer the very next day. I booked May 12 - four days after the book's scheduled release - absolutely perfect timing.
- Be prepared to do most of the publicity yourself - I used my Facebook and email network; the bookstore helped by posting it on its weekly newsletter with a nice blurb and links to my book cover and trailer.
- Try to arrange for other publicity early. I asked both of my local newspapers way in advance to publish a story about the book. One published a great interview with me on the day of the event; the other just posted a brief notice on their weekly calendar of events. Even if someone says they'll be glad to support your event, it doesn't always happen as expected.
- Send out lots of invitations - don't worry about filling up the room with people in all the seats and standing around the perimeter. I created an invitation on Facebook, and I used the Punchbowl email invitation system (http://www.punchbowl.com/?gclid=CLTDmv6U8qgCFQcnbAodAjvGCA). I found it a lot classier than Evite. The invitations came in an envelop with "stamps."
- Since the time of the event was given as a range, people came and went throughout the evening. One person arrived an hour a head of time. And the last stragglers arrived after the store was ready to close. Also a lot of people didn't know about the reading. Come to an agreement with the bookstore about what time the reading will take place and list the time on the invitation.
- Don't offer food - just a little wine and water. We had to bring most of the food back home, and I had to give it away. It was a huge waste of money.
- Here are a couple of nice things to do: get someone to have people sign a guest book (my husband did that job), and ask someone to take photos (my daughter-in-law, Marissa, was the photographer). After the event Marissa presented me with a beautiful photo album and she posted photos on Facebook - to share with folks who couldn't be there.
- And I think this is the most important lesson. Have no expectations about your attendees. Some people who say they'll be there, don't show. And people you have do idea will attend will be there. Some of them will be people you've never met.
And don't forget to enjoy yourself!
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