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After receiving the call from Rachelle that launched me from an unpublished author into the publishing world, I envisioned hosting a book launch party to celebrate this dream-turned-reality with family and friends.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

NaNoWriMo begins today. Around the world, millions of writers are pounding on their keys to produce a novel in 30 days.

Many writers aren’t like Richard Castle with styling offices and ability to write full-time. Most writers I know work full-time inside or outside the home, care for a family, have church responsibilities, act as the family chauffeur, battle dust bunnies from overtaking their homes, and try to squeeze in a decent night’s sleep.

Who has time to write? Well, many of them may not have time to write, but the majority of them MAKE the time to write.

I’m a stay-at-home-work-at-home-mom who owns and operates an in-home family childcare program. Not working isn’t an option. With my My Book Therapy responsibilities, book contracts, family and church commitments, life can be a bit crazy.

A schedule and stolen moments help me find time to write. Also, I’ve encouraged my family to help with housework, laundry and cooking. Plus I use my Crock Pot and bread machine a lot. I write in the evenings so Hubby runs errands and chauffeurs our son.

If you don’t have evenings to write, do you have 15 minutes in your day? The Fly Lady has a great site to help people get their homes and lives in order. One of her principles is you can do anything in 15 minutes … including writing.

I downloaded an egg timer for my computer. When I’m stuck on a scene or needing motivation, I set timer for 15 minutes and free write without editing. When I’m writing my rough drafts, I use my timer to increase my word count. After all, rough drafts are allowed to be rough.

If you are serious about your writing and want to make progress, enlist your family to help out. Delegate household duties, grab the timer and have everyone work for 15 minutes.

Another way to get some writing time is to ask your spouse to take your children for an hour or two each evening. The children and spouse will have a special bonding time and you will have time to write. Turn off the Internet and focus on your manuscript.

If you don’t have a spouse, consider doing a play date swap with a friend or neighbor. Ask a high school student to entertain your kids for an hour or so. Or write after your kids go to bed. If that won’t work, get up an hour earlier in the mornings. If you work outside the home, write during lunch. If you have to chauffeur your kids, take your laptop or a notebook and write while you’re waiting.

Set a daily writing goal and use stolen moments to build your word count. Remember, your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect.

Balancing life with work, family and writing can be a juggling act. Find what works for you. If you don’t take your writing time seriously, no one else will either.

**A bit of self-promotion: My debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, releases today! I’m having contests to promote my book. Visit my Lakeside Reunion Contest Page for more information. The token for this blog is a novel.

Your Turn: Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How do you find time to write?