11 January 2013

Planning Your Own Book Launch


by Jody Aberdeen

Our fearless leader and occasional radio personality Carrie Bailey has set us the challenge of writing on the theme of problems and solutions. I'd like to talk about a "problem" that I always wanted to have: namely, launching my own book as an independent author.

Lucianna, testing the art of Japanese shibari bondage,
one of the fun things guests will get to see at our launch
I'm doing just that for my novel "Convergence".  My writers guild, the Toronto Wordslingers, is hosting my a launch for my time travel romance.

My friend and fellow guild-runner Lucianna LiSacchi is also joining me to promote her erotic drama "Mommy's Little Playgroup".

Everything happens at 8pm on Friday, February 1st, in Toronto, at Arta Gallery in the Distillery District.

Appropriately, we're billing it as "An Evening of Sex and Romance". 

So, what's the "problem"?  Well, let's first take the advice of a multi-millionaire gentleman I happened to meet in Toronto a few years back and change the word "problem" to "challenge". Mindset is everything when you start to make a living doing what you love the most, and challenges contain far more opportunity than "problems". 

Why are we doing this?  Shouldn't we wait until we get picked up by a publisher. Absolutely not!  Independently published books are now so prevalent that publishers are now scouring e-pub sites for new talent. 50 Shades of Grey began as an independently published e-book. British author John Locke made over a million dollars selling his e-books for just under 99 cents. 

All this means that, as unsigned authors with books now ready, we have no incentive to wait to celebrate our achievements.  And if you're going to celebrate, you may as well go big.

Creating a Platform 

Arta Gallery, Toronto, the site of our book launch. 
That's not to say we're opposed to being signed: in fact, that is still the dream. We still query agents and publishers, and we're hoping that some representatives from Random House and Harper Collins will show up.

However, one thing that publishers look for in these risk-averse times are serious writers who will have more where that came from, and that's hard to demonstrate with just one book unless you have a platform.

We're investing thousands of dollars, an Indiegogo campaign, several media outlets, and all of our social and professional networks behind this evening.  That's not even counting our websites, smaller events that we're going to host and take part in to promote ourselves, and other ideas we haven't even thought of yet but are seeking out.  As platforms go, they don't get much bigger than that.

Challenges We Face Planning Our Book Launch 


^^dressed for success (really,
a friend's wedding, but you
get the idea)
Becoming salesmen.  Not one person in our little boutique guild has a background in sales.  We don't like it.  We've had to evolve some cojones to shamelessly plug our launch at every turn.  As artists, we all share a reluctance to be inauthentic, and I've always viewed selling as a sleazy business.  That being said, reality dictates that we learn techniques to show people why what we're doing should matter to them.

The solution?  See yourself and your work as worthy of the time, money, success, and attention of others, and keep going. 

Learning on the fly.  I tell my guild and coaching clients that sometimes the best leaders and teachers are only ever twenty yards ahead of you on the way to the end zone. This is definitely the case with planning our own launch: we're learning as we go.  We will screw things up.  We may lose our investments.  We may miss out on opportunities.  That's okay, because this is our first of many books we want to crank out, and many more book launches we want to host.  This is the life we chose. 

The solution? Forgive yourself in advance, keep learning, and keep going

^^scared shitless
Being scared shitless. There's a veritable Zeno's Paradox of things that could cause our event to fail.  Then again, a million things can happen to you stepping out your front door: that doesn't mean you're going to be housebound the rest of your life.  Still, that rational assurance does nothing to quell the butterflies buzzing around your solar plexus.

The solution? Let the fear do its thing....and keep going.

Aside from the details of getting things booked, putting down deposits, and meeting with people, there's little that separates hosting a book launch from the art of expressing what's in your soul onto the page.  The solution to every challenge the writer's life throws our way is the same: keep going.

My Shameless Plug 


Speaking of sales-y things: if you're not in Toronto, but would like to support us anyway, visit us on Indiegogo and choose the "Pen Pals" perk.  A $20 USD donation will get you an e-anthology featuring short stories from our Toronto Wordslingers writers, including yours truly, along with the thanks of a grateful group of writers just like you.

And if you don't donate, feel free to promote us to your friends and contacts by sharing our link.

Book signings, champagne, and a little light bondage.
What more could you want
from An Evening of Sex and Romance
I'll be sure to update the Peevish Nation on how it all turns out, and share everything that we'll have learned by then.

Until then, boys and girls, continue to believe in yourselves, your stories, and your work,  and always keep going despite your fear. This is what you were born to do.

13 comments:

  1. I absolutely love these photos of you Jody.

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  2. Haha, thanks! Some of them are self-taken, you know? ;)

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    1. I could have guessed, but seriously that winning smile. I'd buy your book just to know what you're smiling about.

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  3. Jody, this was so encouraging and exciting and terrifying. I'm thrilled for you. I really am. I like most what you said about the publishers scouring ePub sites for talent. it's out there... i love the pics too. :)

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    1. Thanks, Molly! It's very true, especially in the romance/erotica categories. At the bookstore where I work, I was reading that the alternative to "50 Shades", the "Crossfire" series by Sylvia Day, also began as a self-pub. Publishers are catching wise that new talent is lurking about the independent sites. That should give all of us hope that we now have an additional tool to use along with querying.

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  4. Yes Jody! Thank you for leading the charge for self-publishing! The self-publisher is gaining momentum, both on the physical and digital front. While it's easier to have a big corporate publisher to support you, the DIY method is still a viable way to get into the business and that's why I'm forever optimistic as a literary infant in the middle of an Indiana cornfield.

    Note to self: convince wife I need to go to Toronto for "writing research"

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    1. Hahaha, thanks Rob! And thanks for the retweet! It's true, as I just commented above to Molly: publishers still need to make money, and I'd imagine that sifting through the slush pile is just as inefficient for them in the search for new talent as it for us to get noticed. Sometimes it really does take an attitude of "LIGHTS, LIGHTS TEN FEET HIGH!" to get the attention of people who would support you.

      Plus, we'll be in great shape after February 2nd, because at least 50 to 100 people will be reading copies of our books, and that can only spread.

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  5. Yes Jody! Thank you for leading the charge for self-publishing! The self-publisher is gaining momentum, both on the physical and digital front. While it's easier to have a big corporate publisher to support you, the DIY method is still a viable way to get into the business and that's why I'm forever optimistic as a literary infant in the middle of an Indiana cornfield.

    Note to self: convince wife I need to go to Toronto for "writing research"

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  6. I like this writing research in Toronto idea...

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  7. Having worked at a student-run press, I'm well-acquainted with the occasional "oh shit" moments that can happen as a group of people plan a book launch when maybe one of them has ever done it before. You and your group obviously put a lot of thought and effort (and cash) into your launch, and I'm sure it'll go off great. That you've got side events ready to go just sweetens the whole thing.

    I always find it interesting when I see writers talk about sales as being "sleazy." On one hand, having dealt with used-car salesmen, I totally see it, but in my own promotion, I've always focused on the fact that when you're good at something and you're proud of something, you should *want* to sell the hell out of it. I'm glad you got there, too. I look forward to the updates!

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