Last week I celebrated two book launches for Heroes without Capes (check out more info about my book by clicking here), my new book of poems from Main Street Rag Publishing Company. I read my poems, sang my songs that originated from my poems and told stories about how this collection came to be born. My first launch was at So & So Books near downtown Raleigh off of Person Street, where I hold my monthly open mic series (co-sponsored by Main Street Rag). The second one is a very cool, local art gallery and coffee shop, Lucky Tree, in whose space I launched my FIRST ever book, Right Lane Ends, nine years ago.
I gave away doorprizes, we enjoyed good wine and nibbles—the So & So launch had a birthday cake complete with candles—and there was a lot of networking and fellowship! I had a strong turnout at both launches, which I sincerely appreciate because I was the only featured author. In most poetry reading events, there are multiple poets reading together so that they can draw a good crowd from each reader. Or, there’s a featured poet, with an open mic that follows, which also draws a built-in crowd. The tricky part is to go “solo” and have a launch where you’re the only one, the only feature, the Big Kahuna. If you are the Big Kahuna, you better bring something unique to the shin-dig!
Here are Five Ways to Host a Book Launch Like a Boss!
Plan the Program
Way ahead of time! And it goes without saying that you need to have your books already shipped to you from your publisher before you have a book launch. To provide extra motivation to get my book done, I scheduled my book launch for late October in April BEFORE I had the book even ready to send to my publisher—by working backwards you can provide yourself extra stress while ensuring you’re properly planning your launch.
I wanted to write and sing original songs for this launch three years ago, so I started taking guitar lessons then. Three guitar teachers and many frustrating, but exhilarating hours later, I did it! Playing music adds an extra layer of fun and relatability to any launch or you can invite your friends to play music at your launch if you’re not yet a musician.
Get to the Venue Early
Arrive an hour early so you can set up the food, books, giveaways and chairs. If you can leave some stuff at the venue earlier in the day, then that’s even better. In addition to my books, I also traveled with sound equipment (microphone, microphone stand and 50 lb. amp, plus cords). I know I feel rushed and scattered when I’m pressed for time, and who needs to start out your launch in the negative?
Send Out Invites
I sent out invitations to all of my social media networks including LinkedIn, Twitter Facebook. I posted the events on my Meetup groups: Wonderland Book Club and ReadWritePublish and I also publicized the launch starting in August using my e-newsletter from Constant Contact. I created a flier with all of my book tour dates on it and included the launch parties at the bottom of my email signature.
At the event I gave away mugs with my book cover on them filled with my giveaways (a blue letter opener and pen) plus bookmarks. I also gave away a Star Wars: The Force Awakens lunchbox/purse and corkboard journal, along with copies of my older poetry books and the anthology, Tattoos.
Food and Beverage
We had plenty of wine and nibbles. Make sure you have enough beverages (including water for non-drinkers) and food for everyone and make sure you plan for everything to be set up before the first guests arrive (see Get to the Venue Early). Also plan for enough chairs—no one really wants to sit on the floor at a book launch. Plan to buy enough food and make sure the portions are bite-sized and non-messy—no BBQ wings!
Sure, I was tired when it was all over, but wow, was it fun and I think folks are still talking about it! I delegated the photo-taking, so I could talk to and thank as many people as possible.
If you’ve had a book launch, what would you do or not do over again? What is one piece of advice you’d give a brand-new author hosting his/her very first book launch?
Here’s what’s coming up next on my Heroes without Capes’ book tour:
Meet the Author, Alice Osborn, at Wake Forest 2nd Friday Art Walk
Location: Page 158 Books, 158 S White St, Wake Forest, NC 27587
Join us for a festive reception and book signing event
Friday, October 9, 2015 Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
What makes a great hero? She or he is likeable, tough and honorable. Are you ready to be your own hero? Alice Osborn’s new book Heroes without Capes is about the struggle against daunting obstacles, especially the fear of completing our goals and the fear of not being good enough. It’s also about doing the right thing when no one is looking and what it does cost us when we do the right thing. Come out to meet Raleigh poet/book coach/editor/Star Wars nut Alice Osborn at the 2nd Friday Art Walk in Wake Forest at Page 158 Books. Alice will be happy to autograph your books!
Meet the Author: Alice Osborn Heroes without Capes
Location: Harmony Life, 915 Kildaire Farm Rd, Suite 1, Cary, NC 27511
Saturday, October 17, 2015 Time: 1-3 p.m.
Open to the Public
Calling all heroes! Meet Raleigh poet/book coach/editor/Star Wars nut Alice Osborn at Harmony Life to discuss her new book of poetry, Heroes without Capes. This book is about the struggle against daunting obstacles, especially the fear of completing our goals and the fear of not being good enough. It’s also about doing the right thing when no one is looking and what it does cost us when we do the right thing. Former North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti says, “These poems by Alice Osborn—a number of them wonderfully hybrid and distinctive in form—draw a steady bead on heroes and the heroic and, within that malleable context, the anti-hero as well. Heroes without Capes deftly imagines a hierarchy where the fanciful as well as the mundane are rendered not only heroic, but mythic. The language is tough, sanguine, funny and, above all, memorable.” Find out more about what Harmony Life offers: Medical Reiki, Aromatherapy , Neuromuscular Massage, Lymphatic Massage, CranioSacral Therapy, Meditation, and more at www.surchange.com
Wine Tasting for Alice Osborn’s new book of poetry, Heroes without Capes
Location: The Book Bar, 10511 Shadowlawn Dr., Suite 115, Raleigh, NC 27615 in Falls River Town Center
Sunday, October 25, 2015 Time: 2-4pm
Open to the Public. Wine and light refreshments served.
Enjoy a complimentary wine tasting as you get your copy of Alice’s new book of poetry signed at the Book Bar, a recently opened used bookstore that loves to feature local authors. Network, win doorprizes and hear Alice read and sing from her much-anticipated release, Heroes without Capes.
Monday Night Poetry & Music, featuring Alice Osborn in Charleston, SC
Location: East Bay Meeting House, 160 East Bay St. Charleston, SC
Monday, October 26, 2015 Time: 8-10 p.m.
Open to the Public
Alice will read selections from her new book, Heroes without Capes, as well as sing and play guitar at Monday Night Poetry & Music, which is a weekly show of poetry and music with a feature starting the night followed by open mic. Hosted by Jim Lundy.
Alice Osborn’s Heroes without Capes Holiday Celebration
Location: Center for Excellence, 3803‐B Computer Dr. Ste. 106 Raleigh NC
Friday, November 13, 2015 Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
Open to the Public. Wine, hors d’oeuvres and more!
Celebrate Alice Osborn’s first full-length poetry collection, Heroes without Capes at her writing headquarters in Raleigh. Alice knows how to make a book launch fun and festive: there’ll be doorprizes, food, wine, live music and she’ll read some of her favorite poems from the new book. Get ready for the holidays and get your copy (and your friends’ and family’s copy) of Heroes without Capes personally autographed and please bring your friends!
The Nexus Poets of New Bern Present Alice Osborn
Location: Trent River Coffee Company, 208 Craven St, New Bern, NC 28560
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Time: 7-9 p.m.
Open to the Public
Celebrate Alice Osborn’s birthday and her new book, Heroes without Capes! Poet Alice Osborn of Raleigh, North Carolina, is the featured reader at the Nexus Poets of New Bern. Since Alice is a Star Wars nut and the new movie is coming this month, get inspired to share your Star Wars poetry during the Open Mic. Please arrive at 6:30 p.m. to sign up for the open mic which takes place after the featured reader.