By Sarah Sundin
With a brand-new series launching August 4, I wanted to throw a launch party. Then my daughter chose July 18 as her wedding day. I knew I’d have no time or energy for another big event. I knew my sweet husband would grumble about spending more money-and rightly so. How could I throw a party-and survive to see September?
So I brainstormed with my agent and my publicity team at Revell. Instead of a full-blown party with a venue and caterer, what if I had a “book signing plus”? Set up chairs and do a reading and some giveaways.
How about light refreshments? I could make cupcakes! Decorations? I went with low cost and high impact-balloons and nautical flags.
Then my agent, Rachel Kent, quietly said, “You know, I used to teach swing dance.” No, I did not know that! She offered to teach some steps at the party. Visions filled my mind of friends and family dancing in the aisles of the bookstore. I loved it. But was it too wild to work?
Go Ahead and Ask
I met with the community resource manager at the local Barnes & Noble. Since I’ve worked with Shannon for many signings, I know she’s savvy, creative, and energetic. She loved the whole concept, including the dancing. She modified some ideas-the store doesn’t allow outside food, but they generously provided cookies and beverages. And she added other ideas-why not play big band music on the store loudspeaker?
I didn’t want the party to be “all about me” (ick). Shannon arranged a book fair through a high school music program that donates the proceeds to the charity of your choosing. Wow! Based on the hearty recommendation of a friend, I chose Homes for Our Troops, which builds adapted homes for wounded veterans.
As an added bonus, the musical group performed at the party, and the teenagers joined in the swing dancing!
Spread the Word
My publicist at Revell prepared graphics for the party, using outtakes from the cover photo shoot, and they wrote a press release. The local paper published an article, plus I spread the word through my email newsletter and social media.
Total time? Way less than expected, and completely manageable.
On August 8, over sixty people came to the party. We chatted and hugged. I read the first chapter of Through Waters Deep and gave away fun items related to the story. And we danced in the aisles!
Sarah Sundin is the author of seven historical novels, including Through Waters Deep (Revell, August 2015). Her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten is a 2015 Carol Award finalist. Sarah enjoys speaking to writers’ groups, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. Visit Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com.