, , , , ,

Greetings Newbies! Boy have I missed blogging with you. Where do I begin? It seems that things rapidly took off after my April post, So Close and Yet so Far Away. I mean, one minute I was pouting and disappointed because the book had to go back to print, and the next . . . I was having a launch party! I will post updates on preparing for the book launch, do’s and don’ts, and what I would do differently in the future. For now, let’s just celebrate the release of the book and breath. . . woo-sah. . .

Set up You may be the author, but you’re no celebrity. Yes, You have to be hands on with preparing for your event. I arrived early with my setup crew (my mom and my friends) to prepare the space for the event. Fortunately for me, the facility also pitched in to assist with setup. This was arranged ahead of time of course. With all hands on deck, we were set and ready to go in no time.

Taking the First Customer It’s always good to be prepared. Because we arrived early to be sure everything was in place, my first customer was early and ready to purchase the book. What was I going to do? Say no because it wasn’t time yet? Ridiculous! I happily greeted my first patron and early or not, things were underway.

Signing This was the thing we all associate with book launches and book signings. . . Actually signing the book. I’ve never been so nervous in my life! But I knew I was ready. After forming the first letter in my name, the jitters subsided and it got easier-and-easier with each stroke of the pen. Thanks to some helpful tips from other bloggers, I was prepared with little cards for guests to write out names so I wouldn’t mistakenly misspell them. That made signing a lot easier. And I must say, signing was one of the most exciting parts of the event.

A Special Treat I invited my illustrator, Mark Wayne Adams, ahead of time. Fortunately, he was available to attend the event – and what a treat it was. He joined me in signing the books and he also illustrated balloons for the kids! He brought the balloons to life which excited my most bashful customer. Seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces was absolutely priceless.

The Program I planned to address my guests briefly. I used a general format for the launch. We had kid-friendly refreshments available throughout the event. So as guests arrived, they were free to mingle, purchase the book, and enjoy refreshments. We chose to serve cake, Italian ice, and water. We replaced the labels on the water bottles with the cover of the book, which really appealed to the kids. I planned a 10-15 minute block to address guests which included a Welcome, Introduction, reading an excerpt of the book, providing the backstory, thank yous, and a Question & Answer period. I’m not sure if I used all of my time because my nerves were maxed out. But my guests didn’t seem to mind, and I’m pretty sure I covered everything I intended to cover in whatever time I used.

Overall, the launch went well. There were only a couple of minor hiccups, but nothing worth blogging about. It feels good to have it behind me, but Newbies, it’s not over just because the book is published. Now it’s on to the business aspect of writing – marketing and promoting. It feels good finally being published, but more importantly, I feel as if I can finally move on. For weeks, so many other projects and aspects of my life have been placed on hold as I stressed out in preparation for this release. Now it’s behind me, and life can go on.

For those of you almost at the finish line, hang in there. It will be over soon and you will feel a major sense of relief having accomplished your goal. But understand that the train doesn’t stop at the first book. I’m even more motivated now to get my works-in-progress completed and to build my career as a writer. Stick to your guns and get it done Newbies!

Good luck and write on.