Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lessons I learned from Gwen's launch party

Gwen and I at the book launch!

Monday night, Gwen and I threw the launch party for Circle of Dishonor. It was wildly successful, especially in comparison to Parnell Hall's lament (detailed in an earlier post). We had well over fifty people drop by the ultra-hip bistro Natasha's to celebrate with us and, in most cases, purchase a copy of the book.

We made back the money we invested in the first shipment of books, which will of course go immediately towards purchasing another shipment for Gwen's next signing. I also learned some important things to pass along to folks who haven't had the pleasure of launching a novel yet:

  • Bring plenty of pens. The author needs at least two good pens, and the person writing the receipts needs one, too (you will be writing receipts to show when you get audited, right?). You will also need spares to set out for check writers who have nothing to write with. None of our pens walked away, but it's best to be prepared.
  • Bring change, and lots of it. Unless your book is really expensive or a hardback, people will give you a Yuppie Food Stamp (aka a $20 bill) and you will need to make change... again and again.
  • Try to avoid the night before school starts. Some of your customers will need to attend parent meetings instead of your event. No, my parents never did this either, but things have changed.
  • The unexpected is not always a bad thing. Natasha's had scheduled a pianist for the same time slot as our book launch. I was worried that this meant no one would be able to hear Gwen or each other, but the music proved a pleasant background for our munching and socializing guests. Gwen spoke to the pianist before things got rolling and he 'took five' while she greeted everyone and read an excerpt from the book. Later, our gathering was referred to as 'classy' by one guest.
  • You will be mistaken for staff. You're sitting at a table in a central area, you have inventory, and a cash box. Of course you work there. Be nice to these people; they don't know you're a soon-to-be-famous author. Plus, the site host doesn't want you wrecking their usual business. Just fetch the waitress.
  • You will need to go out for food or have something to warm up at home, because you will be too busy to eat any of the spread you've set out for your guests. Gwen got two cubes of cheese, I got a sprig of grapes. That was it.
  • The caterer will add a gratuity charge to his/her quoted price. This is for the aggravation value of pouring drinks, refilling the platters, etc.
  • The key to the lockbox will drop to the most inaccessible spot in your purse or pocket, just when you need it. Tiny, isn't it?
And, finally...
  • Your bank is more alert than you think. The day after the party, Gwen got a call from her bank requesting that she verify a large charge to Natasha's made on Monday night. Yes, she owned up to it.

We had a great time; I hope you do, too.

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