Thursday, April 25, 2013

Virtual Book Launch

I’ve been attending as many on-line Virtual Book Launch Events as I can fit into my schedule. Who knew there was such a thing? Certainly I did not until the magic happened, and with book contracts and promotion expectations, I was thrust into the midst of figuring it out.

On-line author friends from my various FB writing groups have been very generous with their advice, feedback, and suggestions. I am grateful to them. Three in particular stand out as great events and especially helpful authors: Tonya Kappes, Raeann Blake, and Debra Parmley.

One realization I came to was that writing is such a solitary pursuit, but a book launch is a celebratory sharing. People want to be part of that energy!

I made note of what each of the virtual book launches included. Here’s what I found. Features that were the same in each of the events were:
         Cover art
         Book blurb
         Purchase info
         Links to author pages of various sorts
         Giveaways (often run by
         Tweet, post, share to win prizes
         Video or audio links 
         Book trailers for own/others’ books)
         Pictures of the era/theme

Some of the virtual launches included:
         Trivia of the era/book/theme
         Pictures of foods, sometimes recipes
         Opportunity to be named in a book/vote on character name
         Links to free stuff on your site--bookmark, excerpts, etc.

Here is the tentative plan I have drafted for the virtual book release of Mission Impastable by Oak Tree Press. I will have the event one week after the release to ensure the book is available. That’s just a little insurance policy decision!

Plan a Facebook Event and invite people from my on-line writing and cooking groups. This is several thousand people. FB will track invitations and acceptances. I am planning a four-hour event. The book cover and buy button will be prominent, as will be the book blurb. Post a link my web page, blog, and Twitter account.

1)   Tell invitees to bring cream cheese, chutney, and crackers with them. Post a recipe for a quick appetizer to munch on throughout the event.
2)   Start the event with the book trailer for Mission Impastable and run it once every hour of the event.
3)   Provide links to YouTube cooking videos I made.
4)   Provide links to YouTube videos of short mystery stories spaced throughout the event hours.
5)   Provide link to YouTube cooking videos I follow.
6)   Post recipes from the book and accompanying pictures throughout the event hours.
7)   Share pictures from my Pinterest board of what characters look like.
8)   Post pictures of Phoenix and Glendale, AZ throughout the event hours.
9)   Give away free books, recipe cards, and cooking gadgets.
10) Post fun food facts, kitchen gadget reviews, and provocative statements about the book content.
11)  Post a link to an excerpt for the second book in the series.
12)  Post a link to a book club guide for Mission Impastable and an offer for me to participate via Skype or in person.

So that is my plan right now. I intend to revisit it and expand the plan if I see a glaring omission that will impact the event. Want to come? I don’t think it’s a mystery at all why my book will be nicely launched!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Well, at Least I Tried

Yep, you read that right. Close (well, I don't know if that's true or not), but no cigar.

The three finalists in The Arizona Republic's first-ever "Top Home Chef" contest were announced yesterday evening on EVB Live (Channel 12 in Phoenix) and my name was not among them. The staff prepared a dish from each finalist and showed them. Amazing food! I can't wait to read their recipes in the food section.

Still, what fun it was. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

And maybe my essay, listing that I am to publish a culinary mystery this summer, will get me some press in the press!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Lot to Learn

Keeping up with three blogs is clearly doing me in! I am posting (as Angelica French) over at "Romance Righter" ( as part of the April A-Z Blog Challenge with a different alphabet letter each day. Fun, but it's beginning to wear on me a bit to post 6 days a week.

You may have heard me comment on the same issue relative to my Month-of-Recipe series each February at "Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time" ( Posting 28 days straight is hard on a girl! (But, I love it, right?)

So the poor step-child blog, general writing issues, often gets shunted aside for the sexier topics I can post at the other two blogs. How pathetic!

Here's a new commitment: I will post here once a week on some topic of interest to writers. And now that I am to have two of my novels published, I don't feel quite as much the fraud as I did! 

Sizzler Editions is bringing out Streetwalker, the first book in the "Sex Sells" trilogy. July latest,  maybe sooner, according to my editor.

Oak Tree Press is releasing Mission Impastable this summer, the first culinary mystery in my "Dinner is Served" series.

After waiting for these years, I am pumped! And now the work part, the part I am not a comfortable with begins! Marketing and promotion.

I was an educator for 39 years. Promoting myself wasn't part of my make-up. In fact, I was quite adept at dodging self-promotion and deflecting praise by deferring to others. Now, I am Promo Woman! (or Promo Woman in-the-making). I'm going to do a series for you on the planning I am doing preliminary to the books' release dates.

I am in the enviable, but scary, position of getting to plan launch parties--virtual and RT (real-time)--for the two novels coming out this year near the same time. Yikes!

Do you wonder what in the heck a launch party is and how it can be RT and Virtual? Here’s is your quicky guide for when your own books are unleashed on the world on their way to the New York Times Best Seller List!

A launch party happens when the book is first available for purchase, and you want to introduce it with as big a splash as possible.

Here’s how I planned my book RT launches (I will cover my virtual book launches later):

1)   Id themes that run through the book and specific locations mentioned. Is there any connection between the two?
2)   List venues that are compatible with themes, locations, or both.
3)   Create a budget for the event.
4)   Plan events, giveaways, activities, speakers.
5)   Make a list of who to invite/inform (media, guests).
6)   Get permission to hold the event from someone with authority. That includes sharing what you want to happen, when, and for how long.
7)   Invite media and other guests and have a great time!

For Mission Impastable (culinary mystery, Oak Tree Press), the launch is scheduled for a kitchen store in my local mall. I’ll demo pasta-related gadgets (to connect to the title and recipes in the novel), guest will solve mini-mysteries, and I will offer to sign books after I talk a bit about how wonderful it is! I am distributing postcards with book info/cover on one side and a recipe from the book on the other. I can’t cook and serve food at the mall since I don’t have insurance, license, blah blah. Sigh.

The launch for Streetwalker (erotic romance, Sizzler Editions) is scheduled in my home for a smaller number of guests. The Pure Romance consultant (sex toys, lingerie, etc.) will present info about sexual health and issues as well as intro her products. I will intro my book. Guests are asked to wear glam clothes (to simulate Harlan’s x-rated prom dress look in his salon). I will serve food with a sexual overtone (cupcakes that look like nipples with nipple rings, for example). We’ll have cocktails and conversation. Since it is an e-book, I need to share a link for purchase. I am giving away a bookmark with book cover and purchase info on one side and “Carrie’s Top Ten Sex Tips” on the other.

I’m excited about doing a book launch (never done it before, of course!) for two books. I’m bound to get one of them right. Right? Launch away! Share your book launch ideas in the comments section.