Book Launch Ins and Outs

My first mystery was released on October 15 and I did four readings in the week following. This is what I learned. 

If you can arrange for the publisher and/or editor to come, do it. Catherine Treadgold and Jennifer McCord of Seattle's Camel Press outlined the publishing process from beginning to end and answered questions I couldn't, such as "How does print on demand technology help the small publisher?" and "How do you decide what books to release when?"  Jennifer provided meaty content on the editor-author relationship. Unlike most manuscripts, mine needed more, rather than fewer pages. We were both able to describe the subsequent hand-holding from our perspectives, and I could attest to the depth her suggestions added to my characters and story. 

Bring enough books! At two of my events, I was selling copies I had purchased directly. This is a good deal for me, as I buy at half the list price and can sell at full. It's also a less expensive way to give away copies. I can also sign books at home, ready to mail or deliver to stores that take books on consignment. But I sure did underestimate how many would sell at the readings. The majority of purchasers bought more than one copy, perhaps because Christmas is coming. I had to take orders, and have been busy leaving them off and mailing to the buyers. 

This next one is so obvious. Bring helpers for book sales and tech support, and do a tech dry run ahead of time. It's no fun to sign a book and make change at the same time. At one event I was selling to an accountant friend who stared intently as I fumbled with the paper and coins. On the tech side, I wanted to project the cover and a few pictures, and ended up running back and forth between the podium and computer. Yes, I know about slide shows and remote clickers, and I should have bribed a friend to help with a free book. 

Something that worked well was remembering the questions asked at a reading and incorporating the answer into subsequent talks.  Everyone wants to know how long it took to write the book, so I've built that information into subsequent presentations. 

It would be interesting to know others' trials and travails at their first readings. 

Guest post by Kathie Deviny. After retiring from a career as a “government bureaucrat” serving primarily in the criminal justice system, Kathie Deviny studied creative writing. Essays focusing on her treatment for breast cancer and life as the spouse of an Episcopal priest have been published in the Seattle Times, Episcopal Life, Cure magazine, and Faith, Hope and Healing by Bernie Siegel.

Kathie was Features Editor of her high school newspaper and originally planned a career in journalism. After realizing she was too shy to chase after stories, she followed her mother’s career path and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work, attending UC Berkeley and the University of Washington. She nurtured her journalistic ambitions by developing a program at the Monroe, WA, prison which produced a magazine in cooperation with community volunteers.

Death in the Memorial Garden, her first work of fiction, reflects her love of the cozy-style mystery. Her other loves are gardening, choral singing, and locating bargains at her church’s thrift shop, where she volunteers. Kathie lives with her now-retired husband, Paul; they divide their time between California and Western Washington.


  1. You are wonderful!! This is a terrific post!!

  2. Great post! Thanks for the insight, very much appreciated.

    Paul R. Hewlett


I love to hear from you. So feel free to comment, but keep in mind the basics of blog etiquette — no spam, no profanity, no slander, etc.

Thanks for being an active part of the Writers and Authors community.