Because today I’m going boating with my family and then attending a shark attack birthday party, for day 7 of the campaign I’m reposting The Ten Steps to a Successful Book Launch—a post I put up almost a year ago, celebrating the release of my first novel, Stealing Mercy.
Book launches are great for more than marketing purposes, especially if you have friends and like cake.
I wasn’t going to have a book launch, after all, book launches are for the glittery literati, right? My friends talk about their kid’s and the crazy Spanish teacher, the soccer coach who spits when he yells, husbands and disappearing golf clubs. They don’t talk about Sylvia Plath and they don’t recite TS Elliot. And they don’t do book launches. In fact, when I was telling a friend about my book launch plans, she said, but how can you do lunch in the evening? Launch, not lunch. My friends have lunch down to an art—they’re less familiar with book launches.
But, friends are the critical ingredient in a successful launch.
Step 3. You need a friend like Molly. Molly has more table cloths than anyone I know and she let me borrow six. (She also has an impressive collection of linen napkins, but you won’t need linen napkins for a book launch, unless you’re doing lunch, but remember, launch, not lunch.
Step 4. You need a friend like Nancy to contribute two candelabras, two candle sticks, 32 tea lights and seven pillar candles.
Step 5. You need Ginger’s 17 folding black chairs, Jen’s two folding tables, and six bistro tables.
Step 6. You need a Jenny. When I went to Jenny’s to borrow one of the six bistro tables, Jenny took me around her house and said, Do you want this bird? What about this three tiered cake holder? You need this bowl and this platter. I looked at the bowl and the platter and thought, I do not need this platter or bowl and I’m completely overwhelmed by all this stuff. But, on the night of the launch, the bowl held the names for the door prizes and the bundtinis sat on the platter, which just goes to show that everyone needs a Jenny.
Step 7. You need a husband, son and a daughter to help set up tables, chairs and stuff. You need brilliant twin daughters to count and collect money and pass out bundtinis.
Step 8. You need door prizes. Or not. Some people weren’t interested in taking their door prizes.
Step 9. You need money boxes. Melanie and I used wood boxes that had once held the ashes of Mary’s dogs. Years ago, Mary and I scattered the ashes of Babe and Watson in the canyon where we used to run. I kept the boxes. That’s a different story. What’s important to know is you need some place to keep the money. (The boxes had been cleaned.)
Step 10. Most importantly, you need friends. Friends to buy your book. Friends to ask you to sign your book. Friends who bring friends to buy your book. Friends who will pass your book to their friends and say, you’ve got to read this book.
Otherwise, it’s just you all alone in a cake shop and that can be a potentially dangerous situation.