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Monday, February 27, 2012

Book Launch Party

Many authors ask me whether they should have a book launch party.  I always answer with a question: What’s your reason for having a party?

Most look at me with a curious face and then rattle off a few reasons.  A party is nice if you want one to feel good, to feel celebrated and honored. But it’ll cost you.  Feeding the ego can be expensive.

Most author parties don’t draw the media – unless they are big-name authors holding court at some cool venue. Even then, it’s not like everyone shows up to the party.  The media is just too busy for that and is generally unimpressed with these types of parties.

If you want the event held so family and friends can support you and make you feel recognized, go for it. If you want a party hoping to sell lots of books, don’t expect it to happen (nor is it always appropriate to sell books at such an affair).  If you hold the party hoping to lure celebrities or influential types, it’s a Catch-22.  For them to show, you’d have to already be the success you are striving to be.

Save your money and time and skip a big launch party. The only time it makes sense is if:

·         Someone wants to gift it to you and throw you a party.
·         The organization or employer that you work for and is connected to the book wants to use the event to push their product or service or to raise funds.
·         The book is truly unusual or significant and could command media attention.
·         Your book can act as a lead-in to bring you clients (i.e. – you’re a real estate broker, a cosmetic surgeon, or a coach).

The cost of a party can easily cost 5-10 thousand for a low-key place that holds 100-150 people – and more if the venue is bigger or fancier. You’re better off giving out thousands of copies of your book to spread word-of-mouth buzz.

But, if you do have the party, I’ll gladly accept an invite!  

Interview With Essayist Laverne H. Bardy

1.      What was the self-publishing process like for you? I thought long and hard for months before deciding to self-publish, because I had heard so many horrendous stories about it. A number of my friends are authors and many of them had related their self publishing nightmare experiences to me. I did extensive research, and decided to go with Createspace. The journey, from start to finish, was joyful...often tedious, but always exciting. I was presented with a laundry list of options, each of which was explained to me, with great patience. I was never pressured into anything – ever. When I was given the option of whether or not to have my manuscript edited, I opted to not have it done, for two reasons: My book is a collection of my syndicated columns, that had already been published, so I didn’t think editing was necessary. And, I’m a humor writer and I did not want an editor to alter the rhythm of my phrases and sentences, because rhythm is vital in humor writing. But, the offered price, of $50, was so incredibly reasonable, and since my weakness is punctuation, I opted to bite the bullet and go for line editing. It was the wisest decision I’ve made about anything in years. The editing was superb. Suggestions were brilliant and comments were appreciated. In addition I received a three page critique, a description of my book for Amazon.com, and a press release that yielded innumerable responses from all over the United States and Australia.

2.      Tell us why you wrote: HOW THE (BLEEP) DID I GET THIS OLD?" I wrote HOW THE (BLEEP) DID I GET THIS OLD?” first and foremost, because I wanted to leave my family a legacy; something they could pass down to future generations that gave insight into who I am. I also wrote the book to prove something to myself. Around six years ago an editor told me I shouldn’t attempt to put a collection of my syndicated columns into a book because I wasn’t an Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry or David Sedaris, and no one would buy it.  I was disheartened, but I listened to her. As my readership grew, each week brought more and more e-mails and letters from people expressing how much they loved, related to and laughed at what I wrote. As a result, I began to recognize that there was an audience out there for my writing.

3.      Any advice for struggling authors? I would advise struggling authors to not be shy about asking established writers for guidance. Most writers are happy to offer assistance. I have helped quite a few new writers by taking a look at their work and making suggestions, pointing out e-zines that might be interested in their kind of writing, and directing them to various writing contests. I’ve led them to the Writer’s Market and explained the importance of knowing the editor’s name, and asking for guidelines. I’ve told them to not be discouraged by rejections because rejections are not always a reflection of the quality of their writing. There can be countless other reasons their work wasn’t accepted. And, finally, I’ve stressed the value of belonging to a writing critique group. If they can’t find one, they should form one.

4.      Where do you see the book industry is heading? I see the book industry as shifting rapidly toward more and more self-publishing. There are a number of reputable self publishers out there who will hold your hand throughout the entire publishing process and offer a quality product. Self-publishing generally pulls in a higher profit. Traditional publishing houses do not offer the perks they used to. Digital books have changed the way we read forever. I am still partial to holding a book in my hand, dog earing the corners and underscoring passages; things we can’t do with a digital book. But, the digital book allows us to store numerous books into one hand-held device. Large retail stores are dying out as ebooks become more popular.

5.      How are you getting the word out about your book? I’ve gotten word of my book out by way of the fabulous press release created by Createspace, that went out to newspapers, magazines, radio, television, ezines and most online social networks (Facebook, Twitter and others). I sent out that same press release myself, to She Writes and LinkedIn. Responses from that press release came from all over the United States and Australia. I know a number of ezine editors who generously and graciously offered me space to promote my book on their sites. I write a humor column, “Laverne’s View” for Senior Wire News Service. The editor, Allison St. Claire, sent my press release to every one of her newspaper contacts. I have lined up book signings, and talks, locally and throughout my state, in independent book stores and libraries. I plan to do the same in several other states. I have also left books at local places I frequent: hair dresser, gym, nail salon. I offer the proprietors two dollars for every book they sell. I place posters in markets and diners that I patronize.

For more information, please consult: www.lavernebardy.com

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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