Monday, February 1, 2016

The Launch Party - Pre-Pub Panic, Part 1 ~ by Patricia Toht

I will have two books hitting the market in 2017. ALL ABOARD THE LONDON BUS will be published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, and PICK A PINE TREE will be published by Walker Children’s Books.  So exciting!

But that means that 2016 will be my year of


So many things to be done -
Marketing Plan
Educational Materials
Launch Party
Writing the NEXT Book

Luckily, I am surrounded by an amazing web of writers who are brimming with advice. Eileen Meyer is a friend, critique buddy, wonderful writer, and one of the most organized people I know. You've met her before on the GROG.

Using her super author powers, she sensed my building anxiety, and sent me notes about her latest launch party. How sweet is that?! I asked if I could share her tips and she happily agreed.

When Eileen’s first book was released, she hosted a launch party at her local library. The staff were kind and accommodating, but the logistics of food and activities were tricky. And, outside of family and friends, a limited number of other people turned out. 

Her next book arrived at an inopportune time, so she was unable to host a launch party for it. 

So for her third book, SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS, Eileen decided to host a launch party in her home. And what a lovely launch party it was! 

Here are a few of Eileen's tips for 

The cover of Eileen’s book, SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS, has pops of bright greens and yellows, which became the colors of the day.

Eileen chose to do an Evite utilizing the cover of her book and those same bright colors. Should you choose to print invitations, you can find inexpensive options through companies like vistaprintmoo, and zazzle.

Use fabric as a way to unify the space. Eileen took her book with her to a fabric store where she bought yards of fabric to be used as table runners and backdrops.
So cute!
Be creative. The flower arrangements had great kid appeal. She took mason jars, surrounded them with crayons, and secured them with rubber bands and bows in her theme colors.
Have adequate signage. Little chalkboards and chalkboard markers displayed book prices and other messages. You can also enlarge the cover of your book and adhere it to foam core can make your book the focal point of a table. Eileen had more than one book for sale, so she used crates to organize them.

Keep it simple. Appetizers and desserts in bite-size portions make it easy for people to mingle. Of course, a cake is called for! A sheet cake from a bakery was customized with the artwork from SWEET DREAMS, WILD ANIMALS.

Enlist a “Bookseller”
Ask a family member or friend to be your “bookseller” for the day, so you are free to mingle. Envelopes recorded information about each sale (name, books bought, total paid). Have adequate change on hand for those who pay in cash. If you want to opt for credit card payments, you can sign up for a service like SQUARE, which attaches to your cell phone.

Find a photographer
Again, ask a family member or friend. Take lots and lots of photos - you can edit down later. You don’t want to miss any of those happy moments!
Authors Mary Chamberlin, Cathy Cronin,
and Rich Chamberlin stop by

Assign meeter/greeters
A few family members or friends who will be there for the duration can welcome guests, answer questions, help people to circulate, and refresh the food. This leaves you available to chat up your books!

Sign books in advance
When the party is hopping, it’s difficult to visit with guests, answer questions, and sign books at the same time. Consider pre-signing some books, then you’ll only need to add a salutation at the top.

Have fun!
It’s a looooong road we travel, so this is the time to stop and smell the roses and eat the cake. You deserve them!

Eileen is definitely having fun!

Stay tuned for more posts on pre-pub madness…


  1. Patty, great tips and Eileens's party looks fab. We will celebrate your launch virtually here!

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  3. Congrats, Patricia! I just met Eileen this weekend at an SCBWI-IL event. Thrilled for her new books as well. Thanks for your post. . .always good to think ahead.

  4. Thanks for the advice, Patricia and congratulations on your own great news!

  5. Great ideas and advice! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Jilanne. I hope the ideas come in handy for you.

  6. Congrats, Patty :) These tips for a launch party look like fun with fab eats! I can't wait to get my copy of your books. Hugs for your continued writing journey!

    1. Thank you, sweet Charlotte. I hope your writing journey is tripping along without any bumps in the road.

  7. Through your previous blog I "met" Eileen & have since enjoyed her works. So cool she will be your launch guide.

    AND a big red double-decker bus ride to one launch is what I want to take to get there & I'll want to bring a long-leaf pine tree seedling as a hostess gift to the other event.
    (wish I lived closer!)
    Your titles are PERFECT.
    Glad you will be our guide all over London & into the woods.
    Can't wait to hold my own autographed copy in my paws.
    Happy 2016 pre-pub year! It will be a great ride, Patty.

  8. Thanks, Jan. You would certainly bring a lot of fun to the launch party! ;)

  9. Great post, and Patty so excited about your books!

    1. Thank you, Ellen. Best wishes for your writing!

  10. Congrats on your upcoming books. And these are wonderful tips for a home party! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Wow, Patty, Thanks for these tips and congratulations to you. Can't wait to see your two books next year!

    1. Thanks, Chris. Yikes! "Next year" is coming up so soon.

  12. That looks like and awesome time! :D

    1. Eileen knows how to throw a good party, Erik, book and otherwise! ;)