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Sheila Lowe on How to do a Book Launch

Sheila Lowe is the author of the Forensic Handwriting series of psychological suspense and the Beyond the Veil series of paranormal mysteries and knows how to do a book launch. You can find out more about her on her website,, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and find her books here.



To set in motion by pushing it…

In 2007 when my first mystery was published, I might never have thought about giving a party to bring it into the world were it not for Bruce Cook. Bruce, a terrific thriller writer, was one of the original members of a critique group I’d started. With at least a couple of hifalutin Ph.D.s, everything he does is well-researched, so when he said a book launch party was the way to go, we—Gwen Freeman, Robert Fate (also fantastic writers), and I—listened.

Author Sheila Lowe dressed for her book launch

I hosted the party for Poison Pen at a haunted hotel. Fifty people showed up and bought books, which was a true thrill. But the hotel owner failed to produce anything more than a few cookies and water for the $400 he had charged, and that only after I made a fuss—embarrassing lesson learned—get it in writing.

Lessons Learned

My next launch was at a golf course, where my generous ex-husband sprung for some very nice hors d’oeuvres and I handed out prizes. After that, Mimi’s Café, then the clubhouse where I live. The last three launches took place on the lush patio at Orozco’s de Ventura Mexican restaurant across the street from the beach. Between 75-95 friends and readers showed up each time and bought books from Debbie Mitsch, who owns Mystery Ink, an indy bookstore in Huntington Beach, CA. She provides the books and handles the sales—one less thing for me to think about.

I believe these events are successful because they are win-win. Everyone who walks in the door gets a ticket for a door prize drawing. They also get tickets for each book purchased. In my email invites, I offer 60 seconds at the microphone to anyone who wants to donate a door prize (value of at least $20). They are welcome to promote their business or cause—a good mic with amp is a must for a crowd.

Doors open at 5:30. After everyone has had a chance to network and eat, and I’ve signed lots of books (click for 1 minute video), I speak about the new book for a few minutes, and then draw prizes. We generally get 20-30 great prizes donated. I donate a handwriting analysis and/or a character name in my next book.

The Latest Launch

“Amy Herron”

Since The Last Door (Beyond the Veil paranormal series), my latest release, is a ghost story, at my October 25, 2022 launch, we dressed in Halloween costumes. I came as a ghost. Some guests thought I was a bride or an angel (trust me, I am far from either). Winners of character names at the last party came dressed as their characters, which was so much fun! In the book, Amy Herron is a realtor, and she brought a real Open House sign for “Herron Pond,” (the Victorian mansion in the book), and even made business cards for “Last Door Realty.” Dianne Maggio, who I made the estate attorney, wore a suit, and brought her pretend paralegal with her. Several Halloweens ago when these creative ladies invited me to speak at their book club, the members came as characters in What She Saw. The prizewinner came dressed as a backpack.

These launch events are a chance to give back to my local readers. They can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. I’d love to hear what you do to launch your books. And if I can be of any help with yours, email me: .

Sheila Lowe

Sheila Lowe is a real-life forensic handwriting expert and author whose Forensic Handwriting mystery series features Claudia Rose, whose career as a document examiner and handwriting analyst mirrors Sheila’s own, and the Beyond the Veil Series about a young woman who reluctantly communicates with dead people who want her to do stuff for them. Follow Sheila on her website,, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Laurie Buchanan
    Laurie Buchanan

    Sheila — Oh, how FUN! You know how to do it right where you and the guests have a blast!

  2. Christine DeSmet
    Christine DeSmet

    You should hire out to other writers. You’re a good book party planner, costume and all! Congratulations!

  3. Sherrill Joseph
    Sherrill Joseph

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas,Sheila! I especially like that you had a local bookstore owner come and sell the books. Congratulations on so many books and parties.

    1. Sheila Lowe
      Sheila Lowe

      Debbie actually isn’t local, she’s in Huntington Beach, but she’s been doing this for me for so long, it’s a habit 🙂

  4. Avatar
    Laurie's Story

    In your next life you should be a professional party planner because you are so good at it! As an author, thanks for the tips, as a fan, thanks for writing your quality mysteries!

    1. Sheila Lowe
      Sheila Lowe

      Yeah, just what I need, another career 🙂 Eons ago, I did a long temp job at a Sheraton Hotel in the catering dept, so learned a bit there.

  5. Avatar

    How fabulous! All great ideas, and I also love the crime scene tape on your table and behind your station.

  6. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe

    That was purely Debbie Mitsch, the store owner. She’s great. There was also a yummy cake with the book cover on it.

  7. Avatar
    J A. Hoda

    Rule number one: Have fun. Rule number two: Repeat rule one. Thanks for the great tips.

  8. Margaret Mizushima
    Margaret Mizushima

    Love this post, Sheila, and thank you for the tips! I also love having a party although I haven’t had one since 2019. Instead, I’ve been scheduling many online presentations and panel events through various bookstores at book launch time. Next year, March 7, when I release Standing Dead, I hope to throw a party and do online events. So glad we’re back to meeting in person again!

    1. Sheila Lowe
      Sheila Lowe

      Thanks, Margaret. Having this party (and last year’s) on the patio made everyone feel a little more comfortable than in an enclosed space. Best of luck for March 7!

  9. Tracey S. Phillips
    Tracey S. Phillips

    Thanks for the great tips, Sheila! I’m going to follow your rulebook for my next lon(t)SH! Such great ideas! Glad yours was a success!

  10. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe

    There are so many different ways to do these things.

  11. Sharon Lynn
    Sharon Lynn

    I have to be there for your next launch! Good timing for this post as my book comes out next week!

    1. Sheila Lowe
      Sheila Lowe

      You are always welcome! Best of luck for your release, too.

  12. Avatar
    Donna Rewolinski

    Love the ideas. What a great way to enhance the success of the book

    1. Sheila Lowe
      Sheila Lowe

      Thanks, Donna. It’s a way to give back to local readers who will, hopefully, spread the word.

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