How to Successfully Launch Your Book (Part Three.)

architecture building buildings business
Think about a suitable venue

Start promoting your book launch early ( a month or so ahead is not too soon) and encourage people to save the date.

Promotion

Posters and leaflets are cheap if you print them off yourself on your computer. Search online for examples and make sure the date/time and place are clear. Relatively inexpensive if you get them professionally printed too.

     What should they contain?

 A picture of you – the author, plus your book cover and some details about the book. your author picture is best if it reflects the type of book you are writing. So dark shadows and blurred focus suit mystery and thrillers but softer focus and colours suit romance. Non-fiction show ‘expertise’ in your topic. So serious and professional or warm and friendly depending on the topic.

SONIA 034-04A
Good for a romance writer

 Include the venue, the date and time of your launch, add an RSVP  option such as an email address. If you want to keep your own email private you can create an email address for the event You need the RSVP to try to calculate how many people will attend your launch. Both for room size and for catering purpose

Publicise on Facebook, Twitter and any other networks that you have, groups, clubs and societies.

An enticing blurb can’t hurt either-here is the blurb for Fire & Ice 

          Daisy Lane Publishing·

Olympic ice dancer Blaise Daniels partner has just called it quits leaving her with no chance of competing at the Winter Olympics. Determined not to give up on her dream, she travels to Norway to meet legendary skater Kristoffer Erikson. After a bumpy start, they connect both on and off the ice. Their partnership seems assured, but why do they both start having dreams of a mysterious Viking past? Can an ancient love be rekindled, or will an old tragedy complicate their present?               https://www.daisylanepublishing.com/romance-1

Also available through Amazon, Book Depository, Scribd and online retailers.

 If you ask your local library may allow you to display a poster and leaflets there, and some local business may display a poster too. My hairdresser was happy to and he came to the launch and bought a book.


          Media 

If you have any media contacts now is the time to call them, local media can be surprisingly helpful. Remember that journalists are people too, and have column spaces to fill. Cold call if necessary (I did) and ask if they would be interested in your book Have a prepared script in case you freeze or babble. My call resulted in a photo and a write-up in the local paper.

          Look for opportunities to tell people about your book. Many writers have blogs, ideally, you should be following a few, ask if you can be interviewed and try to schedule the posts as near to your book launch as possible. Offer to return the favour and host them on your blog.

          You do have a blog, don’t you?

 Who to invite?

       Even the best book will not appeal to everyone, so you need to think about your target audience. Who will your book appeal to? A football memoir would perhaps best be launched in a sporting club or sports bar. A beauty/fashion guide would need a very different venue.

          I did think about launching my book Fire& Ice, which features ice skating at an ice rink. It would have been fabulous PR, maybe gaining me news coverage but my target audience would have had to travel a distance and so would I. Not to mention the potential cost of hiring an ice rink on my tiny budget.

two children inside of ice skating field
An ice rink would have made an unusual place for a book launch.

          Who should you invite?

          Family and friends, it goes without saying – we all need a cheer squad.

          Dignitaries Invite the mayor, your local councillors, your state and federal Members of  Parliament. They are receptive to invitations in their communities, as it helps both their profile and theirs.

       I invited our local mayor, our state MP and two local councillors, all of whom attended my launch. Go ahead, they can only say no.

Advance readers.

          If you had advance readers, who got a pre-launch copy of your book.  Invite them along to the launch

          Groups.

          Did you belong to a book group? Invite them!

  A  yoga class then invite them!

          A gym, or sports club ask them anyway.

          Any group that you belonged to will have people who may be interested in your book. It doesn’t hurt to ask. You are giving them an opportunity to be an early reader of a new book.

          In part four I will cover the final details to make your launch a success.

 

Meet- Author, Editor, Speaker – Teena Raffa Mulligan.

Writers talking about their writing. I am delighted to welcome author, editor , speaker . Teena Raffa Mulligan to tell us about her writing.

Teena Raffa Mulligan

1. As someone who writes both for children and adults how do you switch between the two?

I’ve always written in different styles and genres, whether poetry and fiction for adults and children or the diverse range of non-fiction I worked on during my years in journalism. It’s not a conscious intention to shift focus, so perhaps I do it instinctively. My voice doesn’t really change from one area of writing to the next, only the subject matter.

2 Do you work on more than one title at once?

Always! I am so impressed by writers who can focus on one project until it’s complete. I’m too much like a butterfly in the garden, flitting from flower to flower. In my case it’s going from one idea to another. I write whatever is in my mind at the time, so it might be a fragment of poetry, sections of a picture book, scenes from a short story or novel. The process works brilliantly for short things because I complete them quite quickly, especially if an idea takes hold and over a period of a few days won’t leave me alone. It’s an incredibly inefficient way to write novels, though, because I take such a long time to get to The End.

A question that need answering

3 You are a hybrid author- that is you are both traditionally published and self-published- what do you find are the benefits and pitfalls of each approach?

Ah! The big question. My preference as an author is to have a publisher pick up my manuscripts. The key benefit is being confident they know their business and will do the best they can to make my book a success. There is also still quite a widespread community perception that being published by a ‘proper’ publisher means you are a ‘real’ writer. Being published by one of the big publishers can open up opportunities that are less likely to be offered to self-publishers.

This title is popular with schools

As a self-publisher, I am a small business owner, responsible for every aspect from actual book production to admin, distribution, sales and marketing. My strength is in coming up with ideas and writing stories. To be a really successful self-publisher, you have to be a savvy business person and I don’t see myself wearing that role very well. I am learning but of course while I am reading blogs, watching videos, listening to podcasts and attending workshops about all the aspects of being a self-publisher I need to know, I am not writing. However, I love creating books and I have a number of unpublished manuscripts on file that I would like to see in print. The big plus of self-publishing is the control I have, the ease of print on demand production and how quickly I can release a book onto the market.

The Apostrophe Posse is an adventure story about a group of children whose good intentions create chaos in their small community.
 

That leads me to the biggest downside of traditional publishing. It can take a long time to find a traditional publisher, sometimes years. Even though I have had a dozen books published through traditional publishing, I still get more rejections than acceptances. It’s a competitive market. Even when I do get a manuscript picked up, there is usually another long wait between signing the contract and celebrating the book’s release.

With illustrated books I often have no input into the illustrations and in some cases don’t see finished artwork until the book is released. Some of the newer small publishers such as Serenity Press and Daisy Lane Publishing do encourage author and illustrator input or collaboration and that’s a bonus.

Then there’s the financial aspect. Unless your book happens to be a runaway best seller, there’s no point thinking of giving up the day job. The standard 10 per cent royalty on a recommended retail price (RRP) of 15.50 is only $1.55 per book sold. In some cases if it’s a picture book, that 10 per cent is split between the author and illustrator, so only five per cent each. Print runs in Australia are often small and many publishers don’t offer an advance. Children’s authors in particular usually rely on payments for author talks and workshops, plus the annual education and public lending rights payments to supplement income from royalties, whereas indie authors who promote themselves and their titles well can make a decent living from their writing.

 4 If you were starting now would you still be a hybrid author or would you choose one approach over the other?

I began submitting to publishers in the 1970s when the world of publishing was vastly different. It wasn’t as easy or affordable for authors to publish their own work, plus there was such a stigma about self-publishing, which was widely considered a vanity option for writers who weren’t good enough to get a contract. I wanted to be taken seriously as an author. I still do and like it or not, self-published authors are still seen as second best in some sectors of the industry.

I ventured into self-publishing because my stranger danger picture book was long out of print but I was still reading it during school visits and being asked by parents and teachers where they could get a copy. It seemed like a good idea to produce a new edition so I did. At the time I only intended to self-publish that one book but the changes in the publishing industry and the introduction of new technology led me to rethink that decision. Meeting the inspirational Karen McDermott of Serenity Press and Making Magic Happen Academy came at the right time and motivated me to stop thinking about publishing my own books and do it.

However, to answer your question, if I were starting now I would still choose to try for a traditional publishing contract first, with self-publishing as a backup option.

5. How do you capture your ideas?

Usually with pen and paper initially. I only go to the computer when I have something to get me started, even if it’s just the opening paragraph, a conversation or a scene. I keep notebooks and pens handy…though sometimes I leave the notebook from my handbag on my computer desk when I’ve been working from it. I have used napkins in a café to capture my idea, the back of shopping dockets, in fact anything I can write on. 

 6. What are you working on now?

I am writing a quirky story for young readers about a kid who hires a parent tamer. At first Talibut Vish looks like he will be the solution to Mike’s out of control mum and dad but the stranger’s special powers only escalate the chaos in his life. It’s a fun story but because I’m not a planner I get so far then don’t know what happens next. That’s when I go back to the short romance I’m writing for an anthology. It features a gorgeous Labrador with serious anxiety issues…and a mismatched couple, of course.

 

7 Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Write in the way that works best for you. If that means having a nine to five working day five days a week and planning every aspect of your novel before you start writing, then do that. If your creativity works best with an unstructured, fluid approach, embrace it. After all, would you go for a long walk in a pair of shoes that didn’t fit? It’s difficult in this era of social media, but try to avoid measuring your productivity and achievements as a writer against anyone else’s. The creative spirit is sensitive — it needs a positive environment to flourish, so be gentle with yourself. Explore where your writing takes you and enjoy the journey.  

Bio: Teena Raffa-Mulligan is a reader, writer and daydream believer who believes there is magic in every day if you choose to find it. She discovered the wonderful world of storytelling as a child and decided to become a writer at an early age. Teena writes across genres and her publications include poetry and short stories for children and adults, picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels and romances. She shares her passion for books and writing by presenting talks and workshops to encourage people of all ages to write their own stories.

Teena’s February release is a lively collection of poems that  encourages young readers to enjoy poetry and marvel at the wonder of words. Funny, thoughtful, silly and serious, Sleepy Socks and Sometime Rhymes is a celebration of the everyday and the imaginary. It is ideal for home or classroom, for sharing or for quiet moments curled up in a comfy chair.

It is available from

https://www.amazon.com/Sleepy-Socks-Sometime-Rhymes-Classroom/dp/0648250385/

Website: www.teenaraffamulligan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeenaRaffaMulligan

Blog: https://intheirownwrite.wordpress.com

How to Successfully Launch Your Book(Part Two)

Obviously, you are excited that you have finally published your book, but how do you tell the world about it?

person writing on white book
Careful planning will help make your launch a success

Unless you are an already a well-established author, one of those who the publishers are promoting and escorting on a book tour, how you organise the launch will probably be up to you.

Fiction or Non-Fiction?

As stated earlier each requires a different approach.

Fiction.

What genre is your book?

Thriller. Murder, Cosy Crime, Domestic Noir. Women’s fiction, Chic-Lit, Adventure, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy. Sci-Fi. Saga. Historical, Memoir, Short stories Children’s’ books, Picture books.

Each of these could be launched using a different approach depending on your venue, budget and your creativity.

A romance novel demands a changed approach to a thriller which will attract a mixed audience, while romance is more likely to attract a mainly female one

You may want to reflect your genre in your launch colour scheme and promotional materials, flyers, bookmarks and props.

Giveaways. Bookmarks, stickers, charms anything with your name and book title. Bought wisely they cost very little and add to your presentation.

For my launch of Fire& Ice, I had giveaway charms of ice skates, or snowflakes or a Viking helmet. Each was packaged with a card promoting my blog. which I gave away with each book sold.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA
Viking helmet, pair of Ice Skates, Snowflake.

Another genre would demand an alternative approach-a thriller, mini binoculars, murder a magnifying glass or handcuffs charm.

Put your creativity to work in imaging how will you make your book launch stand out?

Your nonfiction book.

So many topics, Money, Parenting, Health, Business, Coaching, Fitness, Diet, Cooking, Animals. Gardening. To an extent, your topic will define where to hold your launch.

For example, it wouldn’t really make sense to launch a money-making book at a playgroup. Yes, you may have some interest, but they are not really your target audience. You’d be better off with an upmarket inner-city café, or even a bank-themed restaurant.

Your parenting book would be perfect to launch at a playgroup, kindy or even your local library.

Maybe you could launch your gardening book at a local garden centre or even a cafe in a park?

Top Tips

 Time your launch to suit your audience. Daytime for a children’s book but evenings and weekends will all attract different audiences

Coffee and cake present quite a different launch image than cocktails and canapes- Keep your potential readers in mind.

Book launch food
Daytime launch, cupcakes, fruit platter and mini scones.

Don’t overlook your local library for any type of book launch.

They already have a  potential audience of committed readers plus the rooms for hire are very reasonably priced or may even be free. It doesn’t hurt to ask the events librarian if they can help. It is even better if you are already a regular library user. And of course, libraries usually have convenient parking.

person holding book from shelf
A library launch may be perfect for your book.

Parking. How will your attendees get to the venue? Check the parking or public transport.

Also, look at room capacity fifty people might seem like a good crowd –unless of course, they are in a huge room like a ballroom. This can echo and seem awkward, try to get a sense of how many people plan to attend.

 

How to Successfully Launch Your Book(Part One)

 How I successfully launched my book Fire & Ice on February 16th2019.

wrte what you love and love what you write!
Write what you love and love what you write.

I rate it a success because of the number of people who attended, and the number of books sold.

The Crowd at the launch of Fire & Ice
Photo of the launch  courtesy Peta Flanaghan

1. Have a plan.

What? Fiction or Non-fiction each need different approaches.

When? Fix a suitable day or time  My romance was launched close to Valentine’s Day

Fire & Ice Resized
Cover design by Carolyn De Ridder

Where?  Library, book shop,  playgroup, business or another venue.

One of the most talked about book launches was held in a circus.

Who? The best audience for your type of book. children, adults, mums, business people?

Do you know any celebrities or local celebrities? Invite them! They can only say no.

Publicity. Let people know about your book. Make an effort to get the word out after all who is more interested in your success than you? Yes, it can be scary-do it anyway.

Budget. How much can you afford to spend? Big dollars don’t always translate into big results.

2 Organising  A Do It Yourself launch.

 Yes, you can! 

My publisher( a small indie) is in the Eastern States, while I am in Perth. I organised my own book launch-after all the work writing the book it felt sad not to have one. I wanted to celebrate.

Did you self-publish? Then again,  the launch is up to you.

close up of human hand
if you are short of money you need to use your imagination to set up your launch.

I will  go into  more detail about these topics in my next blog post

 

 

February 2019-My Reading List

February was a busy month for me.

On February 16th I  organised the launch of my book Fire& Ice. Although it was hard work- it went exceptionally well, and the event was a success. I will write a post on how to hold a book launch

The Crowd at the launch of Fire & Ice
Photo courtesy Peta Flanaghan.

 

Secondly, we had a two-week visit from family, who came from overseas and stayed with us.

So, my reading time was much less than usual.

A Spell of Murder  by Clea Simon  (Fiction)

A spell of murder

The cover initially attracted me as did the synopsis. Maybe it was due to distraction on my part, but I found the concept of the cats narrating much of the story wasn’t working for me. I had thought it was a fun idea.

The  Vikings By Neil Oliver. (Non-Fiction)

 

The Vikings

I found this a useful and entertaining book on Vikings. The pages of illustrations add to the appeal of the book. Neil Oliver employs his imagination to embody the places and artefacts with life, taking us with him on these journeys. In part, this was further research for me as Fire & Ice contains Vikings and I may write a sequel.

The Big Book of Practical Spells by Judika Illes (Non-Fiction)

Practical spells

Another book for research, very practical and down to earth demystifying  ‘magic’ as herb law and attention to what is happening. Although there are options to take the work further.

The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine(Fiction)

The House Between TIdes Continue reading “February 2019-My Reading List”

My December 2018/January 2019 Reading list. Better late than never!

December was a hectic month as I was busy completing edits for my upcoming book Fire & Ice which was due for release in February 2019. I actually completed all revisions on ChristmasEve.In spite of being busy, I still found some time to read. This time it’s more a list of the books that I  read than in-depth reviews. Some books were for research and some were for pleasure and relaxation. January 2019 and I  was still busy promoting the book, organising the book launch and even thinking about a sequel.

 

books on bookshelves
it was busy two months of reading.

 

It Started in Paris by Cathy KellyIt started with Paris

I ‘d had this book for ages and as I was busy and not even taking the time to visit the library I picked it up to read. I found the book initially confusing as it moved from character to character. Once I had got my head around all the various people then I was involved and wanted to know more about each individual story. It is the first Cathy Kelly book that I have read, but it won’t be the last. Warm, engagingly and a reminder of the Irish ability to tell a tale, reminiscent of the much missed Maeve Binchy

Return to Roseglen By Helene Young.

Return to Roseglen

A real heartwarming story of family ties, rural Australia and resilience. Having an older woman as  a  major character gave the book more depth

Buried in Books by  Kitty Carlisle.

Buried in BooksI was attracted by the premise and the cover but I found the story slightly confusing.

Women of the Dunes by Sarah Maine.

Women of the Dunes

For me, this book was a standout! I enjoyed this book so much. A triple timeline made for interesting reading. The times spanned early Viking incursions into Britain, Victorian times and the present day in each instance, a woman was central to the story. The moody atmopsheric cover capture perfectly the isolation of the place.

Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

Wundersmith

Could this be as good as the first book? Yes, it is. Of course, you have to embrace the spirit of’ wunder’ and fantasy but go with it and I think you will enjoy the book. Although complete in itself the book cleverly leads onto book three. Ezra Squall makes an appearance and new magic and mysteries are added. Lots of fun

The Magical Christmas Cat

Magical Christmas Cat

Again an appealing cover that drew me in, I usually enjoy the combination of magic and cats but the stories were more far out than I had imagined.

Eyewitness Viking by Susan Margeson- photos Peter Anderson.

eyewitness VikingsWonderful photography adds to the ability to  imagine how  the Vikings lived

Dirty Rotten Vikings by Sertori &Mungo Mazzega. Dirty Rotten VikingsA  resource full of facts and great illustrations, your older kids will lap this up.

Passages a short story collection.Assorted authors Serenity Press.

passages - proud author

I am a contributor to this anthology and attended the book launch on December 2nd. A varied mix of stories by talented writers.

A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.

A girl called Jack Innovative and imaginative and with plenty of veggie-friendly recipes too. Some recipes are so persuasively simple that you will want to try them. I am not surprised this book was such a success and that there was a follow-up book.

January 2019

The Four Tendencies  by  Gretchen Rubin

The four Tendencies

An interesting premise and could be useful for character development too. Rubin says all people have one of four tendencies which are  Upholder, Questioner, Rebel and Obliger.  Full of information and easy to read.

A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany.

AScandal in Scarlet

I love this series and this one did not disappoint me, easy reading with an intriguing plot.

The Little Broomstick By Mary Stewart.

.The Little Broomstick

Another children’s book – by a favourite author-her Arthurian series is full of mysticism and magic while her romantic suspense was popular way back when. This is a simple story and full of humour.

The Lost Book of Salem by Katherine Howe.

The Lost book of Salem.jpg

A descendant of one of the Salem ‘witches’ writes about the events of the past in a historical mystery. As a PhD student tries to find documents to bring past events to light. I found the last third of the book didn’t quite live up to the earlier writing, but overall I enjoyed it.

Withering by the Sea by Judith RossellWithering by the sea

Stella Montgomery is a disobedient child at least her ancient and disapproving aunts think so. Somehow she manages to get embroiled in a murder and is in danger – her only helper is a boy who her aunts would totally disprove of, and he too is in danger. Id have loved this when I was about ten and enjoyed it now

Fear; Trump in The White House by Bob Woodward.Fear

Ever wondered what it’s like inside the White House under Donald Trump? Investigative journalist Bob Woodward has an impressive track record and here he names and cites sources. The picture he paints is one of confusion and chaos.

Wakestone Hall By Judith Rossell.Wakeston hall

This was book three of the Stella Montgomery series. although I hadn’t read book two it didn’t really matter as I soon picked up the story thread. Stella has been sent to school, a place where discipline is rigidly enforced. In spite a strict no talking policy she manages to make friends. When one of her friends disappears – Stella is bound to investigate.

The Well-Spoken Woman by Christine K Jahnke.The Well spoken woamn

With a public speaking appearance ahead of me, I wanted to get a  few pointers. This is a helpful guide.

Words from My Heart.

My new book Fire & Ice is a book straight from my heart, one that I hope will find its way into yours. It is ready for Valentine’s Day.

 

wrte what you love and love what you write!
Write what you love and love what you write.

I’ve written a few books. Often, they reflected a popular trend or were something that I felt that I ‘ought’ to write.

This changed in September 2018, when I began writing the story that I wanted to read. It was sparked by watching the ice dancing at the Pyeong winter Olympics. What fascinated me as a writer was how much emotion the skaters expressed, through facial expressions and gestures. As I learnt more, I understood how partnerships were formed, and the idea of an Australian ice skater was born.

heart shape multicolored stand
Two hearts that beat as one.

I decided she’d travel to Bergen Norway to meet a partner. I’d visited Bergen and it made me think of Vikings. Soon I had two stories to tell, a contemporary one and one in the distant past.

Research gave me insight into Viking customs and lives, but most of all I wanted to establish the emotional connection, love that lasts through time, soul mates. I wasn’t writing to a formula I wasn’t writing to please anyone else, just for my own enjoyment.

brown book page
Reading for research.

As the story grew, I mentioned it to a few other people, it was now    October and one of them asked to read a chapter. She offered me a  contract to publish my yet unfinished book.

Suddenly, my dream was becoming reality, I had to finish the book. There were about thirteen chapters still Continue reading “Words from My Heart.”