Many children’s book authors have some type of incentive, activity or giveaways for their book launch, which sounds great in theory. But keep in mind, whatever great ideas you come up with also have to be executed. Executing some of your more brilliant masterpieces can sometimes prove to be a little daunting.
Practicing the Pen Yes, you should practice your autograph. But I felt I didn’t need to practice because I already knew how to sign. I’ve been signing my own signature for years. How hard could it be? I was all set. But a few days before the book launch I read a blog post that suggested your autograph should be different from your official signature. This is because an autograph is public access. It may be on the internet, it’s in many of your books, and it’s free and open to the public. Duh! That hadn’t occurred to me. So, it’s important to protect yourself. You should practice an autograph that’s different from your official signature. Two days before the book launch I spent several hours practicing the beautiful masterpiece that is now my autograph.
Yay! Coloring Pages What a clever idea to have a coloring page from the book to handout to the kids. This would help grab their interest and keep them wanting more! Well, this also means they’ll need some crayons. I could always just ask the facility to provide crayons for the kids. But what about the families that can’t stick around but their child still wants to participate? I went on the hunt for the mini crayon packs (like the restaurants have for the kids menu). At first I couldn’t find them anywhere and thought I would have to order them online from Crayola®. Fortunately, I hesitated and in doing so, wandered in to our local party planning store, only to find that they sold LOADS of the mini crayon packs in bulk. Jackpot! I saved money and time since I didn’t have to order online. And yes, I cleaned them out!
In thinking about how I would distribute the coloring sheets and crayons, I thought it tacky to just hand the kids a sheet and a pack of crayons. Why not fold the sheets into a cute little pocket, to hold the crayons, then put them on display and hand them out? Yes! And it won’t hurt to throw in a little bookmark. BUT, somebody’s got to do the folding people! And that somebody is YOU! If I never fold another piece of paper it will be too soon. But it did make for a nice presentation though. Unfortunately, kids can care less about presentation. They just want the goods.
50 Balloons, Oh My! Because my book is primarily about a balloon, I thought it would be great to have loads of balloons at the launch for the kids to enjoy. Instead of paying extra delivery fees, it just made more sense (in my mind) to bring the balloons myself…not a well thought out idea. Fitting 50 balloons into an SUV doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you actually have to stuff them in and drive. Fortunately, my life-saver friend and her super mini-van came to the rescue. Between our two vehicles, we were able to successfully stuff the balloons without any fly-away casualties, into our vehicles, drive 5 miles to the facility (somewhat slowly I might add) and clumsily unload and get the balloons inside the doors without one single pop. And to think, I was originally going to order 100!
Aside from the hassle of getting the balloons to the launch, I also hadn’t considered that actually distributing them to the kids could be a problem. After getting the balloons all pretty and ready for distribution, of course the first few times we went to happily give a kid one of them, we found that the strings became entangled and knotted up around the bunch. Luckily, there were plenty of safety scissors handy at the childcare center. So the new distribution plan was to cut the string whenever a child needed a balloon. Quick solution, but my lesson learned is, keep the balloons simple. No more fancy stuff.
Oh Yeah – Nourishment. In all the excitement, it never occurred to me that I would need to eat something. As a headache began to rear it’s ugly head (no pun intended) it must’ve become apparent that I wasn’t quite myself. While waiting at the party center for the manager to finish bagging my balloons, my Super Mini Van-friend looked at me and asked, “Have you eaten anything today?” The question stunned me. I hadn’t even thought about food all day. I was running on pure adrenaline. I think I may have responded with a weird, goofy, face because she shook her head at me and gave me the ‘What am I going to do with you?’ shameful shoo.
A true friend indeed, instead of yelling at me and huffing, she simply asked me what I liked from McDonald’s and when we arrived at the facility with balloons in tow, she was heavy one 20 piece McNugget meal which I shared with hubby and kids. Thanks Super Mini Van -Friend!
The Real After Party When all was finally said and done, the launch was a success and the few little hiccups were not enough to shatter my memories of my first book release. These were little giggle moments, but nothing more crucial than that. And it was all made better with a pleasant surprise dinner with close friends and family. Nothing made the event more special than ending the day with those that meant the most to me. Having their support through it all gave me the strength and endurance to make it all possible and it wouldn’t have happened without them. Good food. Good drinks. Good fun. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Have fun in these new endeavors and write on!