Yesterday I celebrated the launch of my new book, Words to Dream On, with a party and book signing. Despite my years in the publishing world and my other published books, this is the first time I’ve been very involved in helping a new book get out there and fly.
As I’ve been reflecting on yesterday’s event and the book launch overall, here are five things I’ve learned.
1. Encouragement matters! Receive it gratefully.
I loved seeing so many familiar faces at yesterday’s event! From our church’s senior minister and his wife, to my sister-in-law, to my friend who’s fatigued from chemotherapy but still came (and bought five books!) to another author friend and everyone in between, too many to mention–their support of what I’m doing encouraged me so much!
2. Meeting new readers matters! Don’t be afraid.
As we drove to the event, I told my husband and a friend, “I wish I were a really outgoing person who can’t wait to interact with lots of people!” But I learned in two short hours that even less-than-outgoing personalities can enjoy meeting readers and introducing new ones to my books!
I held the event in the children’s department of the Barnes and Noble store at The Streets of West Chester, just a few miles from my home. Turns out Sunday afternoons find quite a few families in the store … who heard the music and wandered in to see what was going on.
Which leads to …
3. Family and friends matter! Ask them to help.
I asked a friend from Bible study, a former teacher, to manage the craft table, and she did a superb job!
I asked my daughter Bethany and her singing partner, Jake, to come and entertain with children’s songs, and they were fabulous!
And writing friend Jillian Kent, who has signed at this bookstore before, knew the person I needed to contact there to ask about holding the event.
Planning matters. Start early.
Gail Allinsmith, community business development manager, and Lisa Oravec, children’s department manager, contributed so much to making the event successful. Gail was gracious and helpful from the very first phone call. I met with her and Lisa a few weeks ago to check over plans, and I could have done it even earlier to get more specifics about the event into the store’s own publicity.
The marketing team at Tommy Nelson helped from the start of my marketing efforts, with coloring pages, bookmarks, and postcards–and the advice to hold the launch at a bookstore with a good children’s space and a solid sales record.
Promoting an event was new to me, and I tried to find a balance between the “multiple impressions” needed to get attention and not wearing people out. I think I did OK on that.
I also wanted to balance inviting people to help me celebrate with the reason we could celebrate at all—a beautiful book intended to introduce children and families to God’s Word and deepen their relationship with Him. Finding this balance is more difficult, but I think I learned the importance of crafting the message purposefully and carefully … and next time I won’t be so shy about it.
Next time I’ll also let someone with better design skills than mine create a poster to help get the word out!
And last, but maybe most important …
5. God’s leading matters. Thank Him, and follow.
From doing live radio interviews to speaking at a women’s event at church to holding the party and signing yesterday, this launch has been an all-new experience. But all the aspects of my in-house and freelance publishing work have led me here, even when the path seemed murky. It’s oh-so important to pray and trust.