I should probably explain what a launch party is first.
A launch party is a way for an author to celebrate the release of his or her book and get the word out to the community that a local writer has made good [aka lives among them and can't be trusted not to eavesdrop]. The party takes place at a book store so the author can sign copies for friends, family, and (gasp) strangers.
Some authors like to include a reading or Q&A session before the signing. Some authors provide raffles, trivia games, or other entertainment. Some authors offer champagne, wine, and snacks. Some authors -- wait. I think nightly readings of The Mommy Book by Todd Parr have bled over into my syntax. Anyway, you get the idea.
Planning a launch party requires advance prep work. I live in the suburbs, and I really wanted to celebrate the launch of BRUISED at my local bookstore. The Valencia Barnes & Noble is a warm, inviting place I go to almost every week. I also attend monthly SCBWI shmoozes there, so I knew I'd feel comfortable throwing the party there, and that memories of the event would make me smile in the future while browsing the stacks or hitting up Saturday story time with my son.
Even though my book doesn't come out until March 5, I contacted the community relations manager, Joelle, last November to introduce myself and my book, and ask if the store might host me.
Because the holidays are crazy in retail, we agreed to discuss the details after the new year. In the meantime, Joelle graciously booked me for Saturday, March 16th, so I could begin spreading the word.
Once January rolled around, Joelle and I got together in person to go over some basics. I brought her a copy of BRUISED for her and her staff to read (they're apparently big YA fans, yay!), a review I'd recently gotten from Publishers Weekly, and some postcards.
Barnes & Noble would be putting up posters in the window to advertise, and I offered to print fresh bookmarks for customers to take home in the month leading up to the launch.
There were also a few smaller items that needed discussing, like decorations, table cloths, gift bags, chair locations, book displays, etc. Joelle gave me a list of people worth contacting, which was an enormous help. She knows all the local librarians and book club organizers, and she even got me in touch with the host of a radio show about the arts in Santa Clarita.
I've been gathering fun items to raffle off, including signed swag and even a few ARCs from fellow 2013 debut authors Amy Spalding, Kristen Kittscher, Cat Winters, Elisabeth Dahl, Rachele Alpine, Nicole McInnes, Polly Holyoke, and more. I'm really looking forward to the celebration!
If you live in or near Los Angeles, consider this your invite. My launch party takes place on Saturday, March 16th from 1 to 3 pm at the Valencia, CA Barnes & Noble.
Hope to see you there!