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, www.sheilalowebooks.com, 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.
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.
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
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: .