I Had Dinner with Beyoncé

OK, not really, that is actual FAKE NEWS. I did sit at a table near her at a restaurant once, but I doubt she remembers.

But now that I’ve got your attention, I want to tell you about my upcoming BOOK LAUNCH!

Since we’re being honest here, it’s not technically a launch, as the book came out in January, but it’s as big a party as this wee picture book is going to get, so if you’ll afford me a little creative license…

Next Tuesday, here in Glorious Blighty (oxymoron anyone?) This Is a Serious Book will be thrust into the hands of its adoring public (that’s you people!)

There will be cake! There will be party games! Most importantly, there will be wine! I take that back (not the wine part, there will be wine, don’t worry), but MOST IMPORTANTLY it will be the culmination of 3 years’ wait from conception to birth of a 32-page bouncing baby book. (And let me tell you, 3 years is a long time to be pregnant with anything!)

So this launch has been a long-time-comin’ as they say. But it almost. didn’t. happen. Twice. The first time because the publisher that accepted the manuscript went out of business, but that’s a story for another time. The second time it almost didn’t happen because I didn’t make it happen. That’s the story I want to tell here.

The (second) publisher of This Is a Serious Book is a lovely, independent publishing company that graciously accepted the book that fell in their laps after the first publisher dissolved. But truth be told, this book was never going to be their money-maker. So after a few advanced copies were sent to reviewers and a nice tweet from the publisher on the day it hit the shelves, the publicity basically stopped.

Now I wasn’t naïve to the fact that this was going to happen. I’ve read enough about the publishing industry to be well aware that most books get a polite nod from the marketing department and are then relegated to the has-been department. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

So this is the part where I had to make it happen. (It being anything.) Here’s where I get all “Lean In” on you:

  • I had a chat with my local bookstore owner and she was keen to host a party for a local author (win-win for both of us).
  • I decided for a late-afternoon/evening party that would be kid-friendly rather than a weekend-morning ‘reading’, because let’s be honest, it’s the parents that buy the books. And parents like wine.
  • We chose a date and I contacted the marketing department of my publisher to let them know. They were excited and offered to put up the money for said wine. (Hooray!)
  • I sent them all the details and their design department made a lovely invite. (Double hooray!)
  • I created some puzzles and colouring games for the kids who would be coming, since kids need something to do At All Times. Plus their parents will be drinking wine. I asked the marketing department if they would make photocopies of the games and they agreed.
  • I sent out invites to every one of my kids’ classmates, even though many of them don’t read picture books any more. Who cares! People buy books as gifts (children’s book sales were up 11.7 percent in the UK for much of 2016) and who better to invite than supportive friends?
  • I made a list of columnists and reviewers who should be invited as well, and sent them the details.

And that’s it! Next Tuesday there will be a party to support This Is a Serious Book. I feel like this has gone from 0 to 60 in no time flat. Will this party rocket my book up the bestseller chart? Probably not. But am I happy that I got the attention of the publisher and made this happen? Absolutely!

 

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