Celebrate Your Book With a Party!

November 4, 2011 was starred, circled, highlighted and otherwise bolded on my wall calendar, computer calendar, and represented in a countdown ticker on my desktop.

What’s so special about that date, you ask? My book launch party for Lakeside Reunion, my debut novel, which released in November by Love Inspired.

After receiving the call from Rachelle that launched me from an unpublished author into the publishing world, I envisioned hosting a book launch party to celebrate this dream-turned-reality with family and friends.

I set the date, searched online for book launch information, and came across articles by Deborah Vogts and Ava Pennington on the CAN site. Their articles are very informative, so if you’re in the planning stages, check out their great advice.

Following their leads, I created a budget, then enlisted family and friends to help. I chose to host the party at my church because it wouldn’t cost me anything and it would be a good marketing opportunity for our church.

Once I saw my cover, I decided to keep a simple, yet classic theme of leaves. What better symbolizes autumn?

As silly as it may sound, I compared myself to a bride-to-be preparing for her wedding day. If you’ve planned a wedding or helped with one, you know what I’m talking about—budgets, food, décor, and we can’t forget the dress.

I sent out almost 100 invitations to family and friends across the country. I wanted them to celebrate with me (and buy my book)!

I kept the menu simple–cinnamon roll mini pancakes to go with the breakfast theme in the book, apples & caramel dip, candy corn M & Ms, cake, cider, coffee and tea. We had plenty of food leftover so people don’t attend to eat.

The building anticipation created a roller coaster of emotions—would anyone show up, would I sell any books, would I run out of food, what if they hate the book? The day couldn’t arrive fast enough—the day was approaching too quickly. I still had too much to do! What was I thinking having a book launch party anyway?

The weekend of my party, my prayer partner and close friend Reba J. Hoffman flew up from Florida to attend. My friend Carolyn, who was one of the first to read Lakeside Reunion in its infancy ten years ago, drove up from Virginia to share in my special day. My family rallied around me. My Coffee Girls surprised me with a large keepsake box. What I pictured in my head was nothing compared to what played out on that gorgeous autumn afternoon.

Tears flowed. Cameras flashed. I laughed. I hugged. I signed. God used little ole me to write a story that touched hearts. One of my mother’s friends shared how Lindsey’s story helped her cope with her husband’s recent death. As family members and friends celebrated this milestone in my life, I gave God the glory. After all, had it not been for Him, none of that day would have been possible.

What about you? Did you have a book launch party? What special moment stood out to you? If you haven’t had one yet, are you planning one for your book? What expectations do you have?

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12 thoughts on “Celebrate Your Book With a Party!

  1. That’s so exciting. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing your story. Hosting a book signing at your church is a great idea. I know you were so thrilled to hear people talk about how God used your story to encourage them. Isn’t that why we write?

    • Thanks, Sherri. After my mom’s friend left and I dried my eyes, I told my mom and friend who were standing there, “And that’s why I write.”

      We don’t know what someone may be struggling with when they pick up one of our books. We can only hope God will use our words to minister to their hearts.

  2. I’m going to be planning one soon. Tell me more, girl! How long did you plan it for? What did people do? Just mingle? I’m trying to wrap my mind around it. Any reason why you decided not to have it at a book store?

    • Katie, I spent months planning for mine, but that’s just me. I like to plan and organize things. People came, signed in for my doorprizes–breakfast basket, Love Inspired authors basket, Christian fiction basket, kid’s basket–then they were offered beverages and food and shown where to buy books or to have me sign the ones they brought.

      Read through Deb’s and Ava’s articles on the CAN site I referenced. Be sure to have a hostess or two on hand to greet people and show them where to go. You will be too busy. People just mingled but you could do a reading if you wanted. Mine was more of an open house.

      I didn’t have it at a bookstore because there nearest one to me is 90 minutes away and I wanted my local family and friends to be there to celebrate with me.

  3. I just had my first book launch on Oct. 21st. It went well. But I agree… they don’t come for the food!! We had so much left over! I chose to do a dual book launch with an experienced author to help walk me through it. We held it at the largest bookstore in our area. That meant decorating wasn’t really an option, although I’m not sure what I would have done! 🙂 Mine is a non-fiction book so I sent out invites to my Facebook Fans and Friends, I sent out email blitzes and a newsletter. I was pleased with the turn-out… I think we had close to 50 people… but I have to say I was hoping for hundreds!! LOL!!

    Somethings I would do differently next time would be to plan a follow-up launch party as well. There were so many that couldn’t make it, and many that did come who said, “My friend so-and-so would have loved this. It’s too bad I didn’t think to bring her.” Another thing I would do differently would be to have them sign a guestbook or something when they come in so I have a better track of who and how many came.

    My most special moment was when someone said they came because they felt they should but not only had a good time she bought several books for friends instead of just buying one out of obligation!! 🙂

  4. Your book launch party sounds fun. I like the idea of taking a theme from the book and incorporating it into the party. I hope to be planning one of these in the future. 🙂 Sooooo happy for you, Lisa!

  5. When my nonfiction book came out, I was recovering from a serious illness. No book launch.
    When my novel debuts in 2012, I am determined to have a book launch — and celebrate with family and friends! I’ve already discussed some fun ways to incorporate some of the theme of my book … and fortunately I have some talented, creative daughters and friends to help make this happen.
    Thanks for the ideas, LJ!

  6. I’m just starting to plan my launch party – and I admit I think about it like I did my wedding. 🙂 Thanks for these tips – soaking it all up right now!

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