Planning a Book Launch

This week I want to go over planning a book launch. A book launch is a fun and exciting event--a celebration of something you've longed for and awaited. *Taken from a series of articles on the CAN Marketing Blog.
Finally, the day arrives when your book is released from your publisher. You hold it in your hand. You want to celebrate with friends and family, or even with your church or your community. And you should! A book launch is the perfect opportunity to do this.
Little Engine, this part of the journey is all downhill. Take a break, relax and enjoy the scenery.
When my debut book Snow Melts in Spring came out with Zondervan in 2009, I'd given a lot of thought about what I wanted to do to celebrate its launch. Because the Seasons of the Tallgrass series is set in the Flint Hills of Kansas, my first thought was to hold the launch in Cottonwood Falls, a wee little town in the heart of the Flint Hills, which was also the basis for my fictional town of Diamond Falls.
I made some phone calls and started planning. I shared my thoughts with Sue Smith, the owner of the Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls. Sue was delighted with the idea and offered to host me for a two-day book signing during their Flint Hills Folklife Celebration, one of their biggest attractions of the year.
She set up signings for the Friday night music event and then again the next day during the Festival, going so far as to provide Snickerdoodle cookies and punch for the reception. (For those who aren't aware, I provide a recipe for Snickerdoodles in the back of Snow Melts in Spring.)
Flint Hills Launch 007 
After a few more phone calls, I managed to collect two awesome giveaways for the event--a one night stay at the 1874 Stonehouse B&B and a dinner for 2 at the Grand Central Hotel.Both offered to me at no charge. I never could have imagined such generosity. I was amazed and so thankful!
Once we had the plans set, I began collecting a list of librairies and bookstores in the area that might be interested in promoting the event. With the help of my publisher, fliers and posters were sent to these places, and a media release went out to radio and newspapers in the area.
In the end, the event was a wonderful success. Not only did I celebrate the launch of my book in this lovely place in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas, but I made new friends and gained new book readers.
Erie launch 003
I also held a local book launch at my hometown church. This, too, was a lovely celebration with friends and family who were unable to attend the first launch. For this event, we had music, a decorated cake, a chocolate fountain and two more giveaways--a handmade quilt and a lovely teapot. Local newspapers promoted the event. 

 Last summer when I launched my second book, Seeds of Summer, I again chose to celebrate in the beautiful Flint Hills. Because my main character is a former Miss Rodeo Kansas, I decided to hold the event at the Flint Hills Rodeo in Strong City, KS. I shared a booth with the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys who gave away free New Testament Bibles. I couldn't have chosen a better vendor to be with.

Again, my publisher sent out flyers and posters, plus they provided some amazing prizes for drawings--$$ gift certificates to local western stores. I also awarded a special prize to the winner of the Rodeo Princess Contest, which was a lot of fun.
So, from all this, my best advice is to be creative with your launch and have fun. If possible, draw elements from your book that will bring meaning to the event. Enjoy this moment and celebrate with your family and friends!
Next Tuesday I'll go over scheduling book signings! Until then, keep chugging up those hills . . .