Kick up your heels and party!

Wheels are in motion at Imajin Books re my mystery, Safe Harbor. I’ve written the Acknowledgements Page. I’ve submitted ideas for the book cover. And I’ve just completed a second round of revisions.

Now friends are asking about my book launch. They want a party. My first reaction was that they need more going on in their lives. Then, duh, I realized that a coming-out party is what I need to celebrate the arrival of my first novel.

But what kind of a launch party? I’ve started asking around and here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Location is key. “When selecting a venue, ask yourself who is your target audience and where do they hang out. That’s your venue,” says Cheryl Tardif, Imajin’s publisher who has launched several titles of her own.

Three Imajin authors – Alison Bruce (Under a Texas Star), Melodie Campbell (Rowena Through the Wall) and Gloria Ferris (Cheat the Hangman) – will officially launch their recently pubished novels on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Woolwich Arms & Arrow in Guelph, Ont. This venue makes good sense for them. Alison and Gloria are Guelph residents, while Melodie lives in nearby Oakville. The pub is Alison’s local (she’s held three other launches there) and it’s only charging for the munchies it will serve. “I’m a big believer in holding a launch at a venue where people want to go anyway,” Alison says.

Cheryl adds that it’s surprising how much you can get for free. “You are a business approaching another business for assistance, and many are willing to help you, especially when it helps them too. How do they benefit? From the increased business they’ll get that day. You’ll bring in all your potential fans, friends and family. You’ll advertise by posting flyers around the venue area. You’ll blog, Tweet, Facebook the event. You’ll personally invite media.”

  • Draw up an invite list. Knowing how many people will turn up will help you prepare. Jill Edmondson (Blood and Groom, Dead Light District) sent her Facebook friends invites to the Nov. 3 launch of The Lies Have It at Toronto’s Pilot Tavern. She asked for RSVPs.
  • Play on themes from the book. Ottawa writer Peggy Blair, whose debut mystery The Beggar’s Opera, comes out in February, is having not one but two book launches, one in Ottawa and another in Toronto. She’s looking at Cuban restaurants because her novel is set in Havana. She wants to have Cuban music and art, as well as Cuban food. What a great escape that will be on a winter evening!

Jill’s 2009 launch of her first Sasha Jackson mystery, Blood and Groom, had a wedding theme: a hostess in a “bloodstained” wedding dress greeting guests, a wedding cake with a groom splayed out in blood (cherry pie filling) and a champagne toast. Dead Light Zone, the next in the series, features a Mexican hooker, and its launch included Mexican food and a tequila toast. Her new book centres around the fetish world, and we can depend on Jill to come up with something juicy on that theme.

The payoff? Book sales, of course. About 100 people came to each of Jill’s two launches, and she sold 100 books at each event. Alison will have 50 copies of Under a Texas Star at the Wooly, with her daughter handling sales.

And a launch builds buzz. People will be talking about the party – and the book – before and after the launch. Even those who couldn’t make it. And word of mouth is invaluable.

About rosemarymccracken

Rosemary McCracken is a Toronto-based fiction writer.
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4 Responses to Kick up your heels and party!

  1. Can’t wait to find out what you decide to do, Rosemary. You’ve gathered so much good advice.

  2. Great ideas, Rosemary. Thanks for sharing them! I hope I can be there to party with you.

  3. I received an information email from the Debut Dagger folks recently and it mentions that you book, Safe Harbor, was shortlisted for this year’s contest. That’s huge. You deserve a big launch party, so don’t hold back!

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