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After receiving the call from Rachelle that launched me from an unpublished author into the publishing world, I envisioned hosting a book launch party to celebrate this dream-turned-reality with family and friends.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

Guest Blogger: Emily Rodmell for Love Inspired Historical

I’m excited to welcome a special guest to the WordServe Water Cooler–Emily Rodmell, associate editor for Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical. She also coordinates the lines’ continuity series. You can find her online at Twitter @EmilyRodmell or at Harlequin.com.

Good morning Wordserve Water Cooler. My name is Emily Rodmell, and I’m here today to chat with you all about a great opportunity for historical romance authors.

As associate editor for Harlequin’s Love Inspired lines, I get to work on inspirational contemporary romance, romantic suspense and historical romance. And it’s the Love Inspired Historical line that I’m here to talk about today.

Love Inspired Historical is a line dedicated to Christian historical romance from any time period before World War II. It started publishing two books a month in 2008, and early this year we doubled the amount of books we put out each month to four. That’s great news for historical romance readers, but it’s also great news for historical romance writers because it means that we need double the amount of authors. Since the expansion, we’ve welcomed around 20 new authors to the group, and we still have room for more.

If you love the days of old, we’d love to see a submission from you. We’re looking for great, emotional love stories set in a variety of settings and time periods. We always welcome Western stories, but we’d also love to see settings such as Biblical, Regency, Amish, Scottish, missionary and other unique eras that you’re passionate about. Make your characters relatable and your plots unpredictable. While we all know that the hero and heroine end up together in a romance novel, it’s the journey to that happily ever after that’s the fun part. Also, make sure your characters have something keeping them apart that they must overcome. Conflict, both internal and external, is vital to a successful romance.

We’re open to both published and unpublished authors. If you’re a published romance author, we accept a submission of a proposal (synopsis and three chapters). If you’re unpublished in romance, start with a query letter and synopsis, but make sure to have a full manuscript ready to send should we request it. I’m also open to submissions for our other two lines: Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense. You can mail your queries to my attention at 233 Broadway, Ste. 1001 New York, NY 10279 or have your agents get in touch.

Your Turn: We’re eager to see what you come up with. I’ll be around today to answer any questions you’d like to ask about writing for Love Inspired Historical.