Book Launch! But what to read?

Exciting news, everyone! My official book launch will be March 19th, 5pm-7pm at the amazing Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, PA. Although The Witch of Zal has been available for a few months, March 19th will be the celebration of my debut novel.

I’m starting to make the plans. I’ve ordered a cool floral arrangement from Vintage Oceans Wedding and Event Flowers (a book launch is an event!), and am searching for some fun takeaways to go along with my bookmarks. I need to figure out the technology to run my trailer at the event, and the food to snack upon. And what to wear. And how not to embarrass myself in front of what I hope will be a large number of people.

One of the hardest things to decide, though, is what excerpt of my book to read. I suppose that not reading one is an option, but at an event celebrating the book that feels rather like sending the birthday girl to her room while we all sing “Happy Birthday to You” in the dining room. So I got to thinking what I could choose.

This excerpt would not be the same one I would read to a group of kids. Kids would want more funny or more action. So do I simply start at the beginning of the book, or find some other place?

Choosing an excerpt from farther into the book can be dicey. I don’t want to have to explain too much in the way of setup, or the listeners will get bored (or confused). And choosing an emotionally charged scene can backfire, too, since the listeners are not yet emotionally invested in the characters and may not react as hoped.

So I rummaged around and finally hit upon a good excerpt—one that I think will speak to my audience of writers and booklovers yet pull them in to want to read more. What is it? You’ll have to come and listen! If you’ve read the book and want to take a guess in the comments, feel free.

Now that the decision is made, I will have to practice reading the excerpt aloud. I need to handle the words, the rhythm, the pacing. I want to be able to do this with confidence and give my audience good entertainment value.

Anything else I need to do for the launch event? Of course, I need a thank-you speech. I have so many people to thank, it might take up the entire 2 hours!

If you can, even if you’ve already bought the book, come celebrate with me—I’d love to see you there.

My Dream Book Launch

I went to Jon McGoran‘s book launch for DRIFT Tuesday night, and that got me thinking about what I would like to do when I have a book of my own to launch.

Book launches come in all shapes and sizes, from small gatherings in a local bookstore to posh soirees in grand venues. Money is, of course, an object in planning a book launch, but there are many ways to cut costs and still have an unforgettable evening.

The main thing, I think, is to make a book launch special. It should be memorable in some way, and most times authors try to have a theme to their launch that reflects the book. You can reflect the book in the venue, utilizing a store or museum or school or other setting that features prominently in your book. You could choose a place that brings to mind themes of your book, such as a natural history museum for a book connected to nature or a historical society for a historical book.

The other way to reflect the book is in the giveaways you have and the decorations at the venue. A novel with the Greek gods in it might feature Greek decorations, for instance. A science fiction novel might have space-themed decorations. The swag will have the book’s title and probably the cover. Even the food can contribute to the theme, especially if food plays a role in the book or if you have an ethnic storyline in your book. Even if your book is about zombies, you can make zombie cupcakes. Let your creativity flow!

So what do I envision for my first book launch? Details will have to wait until I know what my first book will be, however, there are some basics I can share. First, it will be casual, informal. I am not a flashy person, nor a person who loves wearing dressy gowns and high heels, so I want a venue and atmosphere I can be comfortable in. There will be food and drink, of course, but the exact nature will depend on the book, the venue, and the time of day. I am also hoping to do some good with it, perhaps raising awareness of some issue or organization I feel strongly about.

Most important to me, though, it will be close to my home base. I want people to show up to my launch, so I want to have it somewhere that my friends and family can get to easily. I’ll need that support and camaraderie as I push my first book out into the world. Besides, all those people helped me get to the point of having a book published, and I want to share the day with them. My book launch will be as much to thank them as to herald the book.

So how about you? How do you envision your first book launch? If you have already launched a book or books, what would you want to do for your next book?

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