Monday, September 2, 2013

What I've learned from launching my first novel

I had my book launch for The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots in August and had a glorious time with friends and family.

The dream of my book launch party wouldn't have been reality without a lot of help from friends. It's hard for me to ask for help, but I'm extremely blessed to have friends who willingly gave up time and energy to support me.

I did two launches. One online and one in "real life."

The online launch party was a blast. You can read the comments here:

For the 3-D (real life) launch, the ladies at my church helped me host a ladies retreat. Everyone that attended got a swag bag and we gave away prizes every thirty minutes or so! I invited Shelley Wilburn to speak at the retreat and her husband to speak on Sunday morning. They have a unique ministry that you can read about on their website,


 Here are the ads I ran for the retreat and book signing:

And my friend, Gigi, wrote this on her business windows downtown:

Here are pics of the party:

The refreshments were made by my friends (I provided the supplies except for the cookies, they were a gift). And I rented a popcorn machine for the weekend -- it was a hit! Since it was a weekend rental, we were able to have it for Sunday and gave away popcorn after church. The kids loved it.

Here are some things to know about launching a book/having a book launch party:
  • Begin planning months in advance.
  • Budget for unexpected expenses.
  • Decide early what you want to give away as prizes. I mostly gave away bargain books from and keychains at the retreat. At the book launch party the giveaways were mostly wax warmers and candles, and free copies of my book.
  • Realize that no one is as excited about your book launch as you are. Don't bring it up in every conversation.
  • Some people will be excited. Be excited about those people!
  • No one owes you a read.
  • Just because you send an invitation doesn't mean people will come. Nor are they obliged to. Get over it if they don't show up and focus on those who are there. Don't let their absence steal your enthusiasm or joy.
  • Think of a phrase to write in your book when you sign unless they have their own phrase they want to use.
  • Be grateful for friends. Show them you care.
  • You need as many people to help clean up as you do to set up. 
  • Have change available for cash purchases.
  • Choose which passages of your book you will read aloud but keep it short. Again, no one loves your book as much as you do.
  • Take time at the retreat to thank those you need to acknowledge. I gave "my posse" mugs with the theme of the retreat on them. And I gave each family member something unique that they would appreciate. Nothing fancy or expensive, but it let them know I appreciate their support. A writer's family sacrifices for the dream, too.
What made the book launch a success? Fellowship with friends and family. That's the bottom line for me. The people I loved shared my exciting day. I am blessed indeed!


  1. Congrats again!! I love all the pink and brown coloring in decorations. Maybe someday I can follow your example, have my own launch party!! Thanks for the great advice.

    1. I was so excited to have a pink party, Connie. I've never had one before! It was so much fun to put together. Thanks for reading!

  2. What a FUN, FUN time! I am SO honored that you invited me to come! And in the words of my daughter-in-law, regarding your book coming out, your launch and your party... "I'm jelly!" (jealous) ;) One day day! I love your book, it is so entertaining and inspirational. And I love YOU! <3

    1. We were honored to have YOU walk among us that weekend! You are a blessing and I know God is up to big plans with your, girlfriend! Hugs!

  3. What fun! How exciting! I love the pictures and love how you were able to involve others in your special day. Thanks for sharing it with us. And yes, You give me lots of ideas for the time when my day will come - just hope I can remember all this stuff by then!!

  4. Karen, thanks for coming by today and commenting. Let me know how I can help you when your launch day comes!

  5. Wow! That's an impressive book launch!


  6. Oh my, Karla!!!! What a gorgeous party. Everything fits your book and you--and that's what it's all about. Mine is coming up on September 14--much more "kid" oriented of course, but still a ton of fun (I hope!!!!)

    Blessing to you and your author career--this is just the beginning! You always do everything with such flair, sweet friend! Aloha! --Cheryl

    1. Aww, thanks, Cheryl! Have fun at your launch! Take lots of pics for me!

  7. Karla, what a great book launch. Your refreshments were awesome! They looked like art themselves! I will be planning my first launch soon. Glad you shared all this wisdom.

    Regina Smeltzer

    1. Thanks, Regina! I hope your launch went well and congratulations!