Lessons in book launches

I am currently on a visit to Pietermaritzburg to visit family and promote God in the ICU.

I am learning valuable lessons, which you might know, but which I, as a first-timer who is not too market-savvy, needed to experience first hand.

This is what I’ve learned so far:

·         Before I came, I was asked if I would use the opportunity to raise funds for a young single mom who had a disabled child. The child, having already had heart surgery, needs further surgery and rehabilitation. Of course I agreed to donate a percentage of the book sales to her. I did that because I wanted to. Her predicament was one with which I identified. She had been offered an abortion, but chose not to kill her child, but rather to accept her as a gift from the Lord — a gift who needed life-long special care and attention.

People streamed in to support her. She was hoping for about fifty people but on the day over three times that number arrived. They gave a donation to hear me talk, and many bought my book. It proved a valuable lesson to link my book promotion to a worthy cause with which people could identify and which was appropriate for the content of God in the ICU.

 

·         Secondly, I learned that good quality and subject matter are vital. My talk had to be excellent, entertaining and relatable to the cause, while still focussing on the book’s content. I found it an onerous responsibility to provide those who had come with something enriching and memorable. With God’s help, I was able to hold their interest and to entertain. As a result, they were keen to buy the book. Some, who seemingly were not intending to buy, since they did not bring money, obviously changed their minds. They either dashed off to an ATM or bought one later.

·         Thirdly, I needed to be well prepared for follow up opportunities. After the meeting I had three other requests to talk. One was on a night on which I knew I had another launch, so I turned it down. As it happened, however, I was not fully au fait with my schedule. My launch was in the late afternoon, so I could have accepted to speak later. A missed opportunity from lack of preparedness.

·         Fourthly, obviously one needs to have something special to offer (a signed copy), so that they will want to buy the book then and there. However, it is a good idea to be able to say where else the book is available for future sales.

·         Lastly, it occurred to me later that, surrounded by such goodwill, I could have used the opportunity to ask them — if they enjoyed the book — to write a review for Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads and/or Faithwriters.

I hope this is helpful to those planning book launches as promotion. Feedback and your own experiences of this sort of thing would be much appreciated.

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