Monday, November 28, 2011

The Book Launch

I know you're all wondering how it went, so I'll tell you.

OK

Happy? What do you mean, 'no'? You want more details? Oh...alright then.

The plan. Set up the hall between 12 and 1pm ready for the hordes to descend on us at 1pm. Sign jacket artwork copies and flog...errr...sell them at £1 each and give away bookmarks to anyone who wanted one. At 2pm the three authors would get on stage and read extracts from their books and to thunderous applause take a bow. The whole shebang was due to end at 4pm and we'd be out by 4.30pm with a song in our hearts and a smile on each face.

What happened. What we planned, except for the thunderous applause and the sale of the signed artwork.

We'd invited over 150 people and though we knew that not all would attend, we were expecting more than did turn up. Still, this is our first ever book launch as a group so it's a lesson learned for future. How many did turn up? 20.

Selling the cover artwork was a stab in the dark anyway. We figured that if people were willing to buy an £8 book at a launch, they wouldn't mind paying £4 for an ebook plus £1 for a signed copy of the cover. Hmmmmm.

The readings were well received and were the best part of the afternoon. The applause wasn't thunderous, but it was more than polite and a definite highlight.

We were there for three hours, which was a bit optimistic in hindsight. Whether we shorten the period or put more activities in place next time is someting to discuss, but it will depend on numbers.

The biggest problem at the launch was not having any physical product to sell as there was nothing to see. That is a problem that we will have to overcome somehow, but we're not sure how at the moment. Partial printouts, small number of printed copies, CDs with a copy of the book and artwork?

We shall have a think about this and many other things tonight at our debrief, but one thing we have decided is that we want this to continue and we're already planning our next launch for June.

16 comments:

Lisa Shafer said...

Hmmm..... I think you're probably right that the lack of physical product made it more difficult. For the next event in June, why not have a physical product? Why not sell both print and e-copies of your books? That way, even those who want to buy only the e-book can have a look at the physical book at the book launch.
And how many authors participated in this? A group book launch sounds like fun.

Martin Willoughby said...

All three auhtors, plus the rest of the writer's group. Doing it together makes it more fun and less stressful. Everybody does something so the load is shared.

Lisa Shafer said...

Yes, that's a good idea.

Martin Willoughby said...

I think it's something that all 'small' authors should consider. More people, bigger venue, less to do as an individual. What's not to like?

Freya Morris said...

Hi Martin,

I think twenty is a really good turnout. I work alongside events in my work place and invite over 100 000 people to events often only getting 50 people to events.

Any traditionally published author would find it difficult too. You have to remember that this is your first book! Your first! It takes ages to build up a readership. It's such a slow process, I'm sure if JK Rowling had done the same, she would have gotten a similar turnout on her first book release. : )

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Congrats on a great launch! It sounds like it was a success, and it can only get better from there. :)

Martin Willoughby said...

Freya: It felt disappointing at the time, but after our group meeting tonight, we realised that the biggest achievement was to actually succeed in doing it at all. We're now planning next June's and have five books in the pipeline.

Michelle: It will and one day we may be as famous as you. ;)

The Vegetable Assassin said...

20 isn't bad!!! You know what will happen too, right? You'll get all mega famous some day and those 20 people will become about 3000 people all boasting that they saw you when.... And they'll all be lying. Except 20 of them. :) The lucky 20.

Lisa Shafer said...

Yeah, Stuart Hill, author of the Icemark series, was at an event for his first book at the Edinburgh Book Festival (HUGE!) in 2005. You know how many people bought his book and got him to sign it? Two. I know because I was half of them. He was grumpy about it, too, and I kept trying to joke with him to cheer him up. It didn't work. I felt bad for the poor guy, but look at his success now! Wow.
Perhaps your tale of success will be like his.

Martin Willoughby said...

Veg: Similar to number of people who claim they were at Woodstock.

Lisa: First launches are always hit and miss affairs. What we're most proud of, in hindsight, is that we actually did it. Even if no one had turned up it would still have been a success as we fulfilled our goal.

Too many writers give up before they get this far, fearing failure. We've realised that just holding the launch made it successful.

[Naebsy] said...

Wish I could be in the 20 people that were there! :( Anyway, congratulations again.

Martin Willoughby said...

Naebsy: I wish you could have been there too. I could've done with a third family member. Are you enjoying the book?

Caitlin said...

Sounds like you still had a decent time with 20 people there! I like that you guys signed copies of the jacket to go with the e-book. I wish that option was available a little more often with e-books.

Martin Willoughby said...

Caitlin: Next time, we'll probably sell CDs in a package that contains the book and a copy of the kindle for PC software and sign that.

Holly said...

Only the twenty coolest fan show up so it was a complete success.

Martin Willoughby said...

Holly: Now THAT'S how to be positive. Thanks.