LESSONS FROM THE LAUNCH OF PAINTED: A THRILLING NEW HORROR NOVEL

Yes, I can now shout it from the rooftops!

PAINTED has been published! 

Available at all online retailers.

It is entirely true when I say that PAINTED wouldn't be the book it is without a barrow full of help from some amazing friends and family, and from strangers. From people who chose to join the Launch Team over on Facebook, and acted as Beta readers and ARC readers. They really are amazing people. Thank you.

I tried following all the launch plans littering the internet. Launch plans written by authors and experts with a lot more experience than I have. And here are my key learning points:

  1. You need a plan. You cannot wing a proper launch.
  2. You need to write that plan down. Do not rely on remembering everything. You will forget something. Trust me.
  3. You may have only just started your Man Booker Prize winning novel, but start prepping  your launch now. Don't laugh, this bit is true. Start nurturing the bloggers, the media contacts, your launch team, now. Massage them, wine and dine them, tempt them with tantalising snippets from your work. You can't turn up begging on their doorstep three days before the launch and hope for some media. That's not the way it works.
  4. Pay for help. "Oh but I've got no money." Yes well, that may be true. But put some aside for all the things you're going to need - a great cover, an editor, formatting software, Amazon advertising, inclusion in catalogues, membership to various society groups - Alliance of Independent Authors, Society of Authors, Society of Horror Authors etc etc.
  5. Are you still following that plan? Step-by-step?
  6. Newsletter swaps - these need to be organised weeks in advance. Start working on those now. Yes, even if you don't have a firm date for your launch. Make contact. Write those contacts down in a master list somewhere. Same goes for blog sites, review sites. You cannot wing this part. Be like the Avon Lady, and know the best doors to knock on.
  7. If you are doing paperbacks, get them into your hands before the launch. It makes marketing so much easier if you can take photos of those bound beauties. It also makes it easier to tempt people to review your book by offering them copies. Media sites like to give away copies if they're going to put in the effort to interview you. This is a marketing cost. Be prepared to shoulder this cost.
  8. Don't try to do everything, all at once. You need to space out your energies, or you will burn yourself out. Trust me.
  9. Your launch team is your best asset. Don't ask them to do too much. Reward them. And be grateful for the effort they put in on your behalf. They didn't have to do it. Don't underestimate how important they are to your success.
  10. And as Rachel Hunter said, "it won't happen overnight, but it will happen".
Rachel Hunter

You can buy PAINTED from all online retailers now

CLICK ON THE BOOK COVER BELOW

HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCH A BOOK IN WELLINGTON

KiwiBookFeast

Dear Wellington...

Your taxi drivers are very polite.

Your streets are bustling.

You love books.

Thanks for having me.

Kind regards,

Kirsten McKenzie, Author


On the 18th February, I flew down to Wellington for the inaugural Kiwi Book Feast with six other New Zealand authors. The concept being that sharing the costs involved with a launch, and sharing the publicity, and the work load, would make all the more impact. And it did.

Having seven diverse authors all marketing the Kiwi Book Feast to their own networks was far more effective that slathering the city with posters and tweeting into the ether...

For an inaugural event, it was a learning curve, deciding on the run sheet, the catering, the venue, the date, the time, the authors, the layout. A hundred different decisions. For an event we hope to repeat around the country - with future books, some new authors possibly, who knows, it's a fluid thing.

Potentially a library or a bookstore may have been a better location, although holding it in a bar ensured fantastic food, a flow of beverages, and a dedicated sound guy, and a stage. So there were plenty of pluses! 

We had a lovely bookish Wellington crowd, and plenty of Twitter personalities turned up to support us, which was fabulous. And I was blessed by two friends flying down from Auckland to surprise me. I should have worn waterproof mascara...

We were also all very grateful to the support given to us by the New Zealand Book Council. They've just launched their beautiful new website. You should go and have a look at it - NZ Book Council Website

Ten things you need to know for a book launch, anywhere in the world:

  1. Sensible shoes. I sat down once, for about 10 minutes, over the four hours of the event.

  2. Cash - have a float. $10 notes, $5 notes. Just enough to provide change if everyone only pays with $20 notes.

  3. Have a display which is sympathetic with the content of your books. Historical? Have a couple of vintage props. Western themed? Horsey type props. Science Fiction? Not sure where you'd get your hands on some space junk, but maybe cobble something together!

  4. Extension cord... I have battery powered lights which I tuck in the side of my suitcases, but I did note that one of our authors came prepared with a multi plug and an extension cord. Pack it.

  5. Mailing List Sign Up Sheet. I've put that in bold, because I didn't have one. I must pack this into my book display suit case. That's this weeks job. Pack some pens too. Practice signing your book. 

  6. Price List - People don't like to ask the price of your books. They like to see clear signage showing the price of one book, two books, or the complete set. Make it easy for them.

  7. Books. Self explanatory. But also book type things that can be slipped into your books, or into handbags. Nothing bulky. A bookmark, a postcard, all with your book and contact information printed on them.

  8. Don't sit behind your table. I know lots of people feel more comfortable doing this, but I'm more a stand to the side, or stand to the side in front of the display. Its easier to engage. Easier to pass the book to a prospective customer. And on the topic of your table. Buy a table cloth. If you can't afford a table cloth, use your top sheet and iron it first.

  9. Dress to impress: You're trying to portray that you are a professional, that you're serious about your writing. You don't have to go all Annie Hall, but maybe think beyond your usual old jeans and t-shirt. At the first two NZ Book Festivals I went with a long skirt and a velvet jacket. At the Kiwi Book Feast I wore smart jeans and a white cotton shirt, with a brooch. I felt smart and comfortable. The brooch was a nod towards the vintage theme of my books. Something to think about.

  10. Smile. Smile and engage. Ask the people at your table about the weather outside. Ask if it's improved, or if the rain has finally arrived. Weather is a very safe topic. It's an easy opener. Even if you're shy you can say "Has it stopped raining today?" or "Isn't it a lovely day for being out and about". Give it a go. Relax and have confidence in your work. That'll flow through to your own personal confidence. Good luck.