If you’ve ever wondered what a virtual launch party is – look no further! Newcomer to our Crooked Cats’ cradle, historical novelist Emma Rose Millar has all the answers.
With the vogue for self-publishing now in full swing, it’s getting extremely difficult for any author to make their book stand out against the three million others or so being published each year on Amazon. So, how do you make the most of the four to eight week window just prior to and immediately after your launch? One answer might be to host an on-line launch party. When my publisher first suggested I should do this, I must admit, I was filled with panic. How can you create a virtual party, with virtual wine and virtual food and drink? Would people enjoy it? Would they even turn up? I wasn’t sure, but I was going to throw caution to the wind and give it my best shot anyway.
Facebook didn’t allow me to set up the event on my author page; I had to use my own Facebook profile then create it as a public event. I invited friends, friends of friends, people from every on-line reader and writer group I’m a member of. Then prior to the party, I put up blog posts on the event page; little snippets of what the book was about: famous pirates, piratical dress and behaviour codes. People started to become interested in the book and the on-line dialogue began.
I was lucky that the setting of my novel lent itself to a party atmosphere. Most of the action in Five Guns Blazing takes place off the coast of Jamaica; so much great music, tasty food and exotic drink comes out of the Caribbean that it was easy to sort out the virtual bar and buffet and to have a ska and reggae soundtrack playing in the background, courtesy of the lovely people at You Tube.
I’m so lucky I have so many wonderful friends and an amazing family who all mucked in and supported me, posting pictures of themselves dressed as pirates and other extracts from films, poems and television, and the man who edited the manuscript prior to it being taken up by Crooked Cat Publishing posted a lovely review on Amazon to coincide with the launch. They made their own parties at home, eating jerk chicken and curried goat and making delicious rum cocktails, (yes I know: it’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it!) And all of a sudden, I found I was really enjoying my virtual party, sitting in my pyjamas on my sofa drinking Pina colada. In fact I drank so much of it that I somehow managed to step in a bowl of cat food and fall over on my kitchen floor! Oh dear….
It’s important you include the buying links and create an incentive to buy at your party. This could take the form of a competition or posting your favourite excerpts from the book. My publisher came up with a great idea which they included on the opening pages of my e-book: “Tweet a photo of yourself holding Five Guns Blazing to @crookedcatbooks,” they said, “and something nice will happen.” I still don’t know what it is, but I’m told it’s very nice!
I think in the end a good time was had by all. I’m yet to find out what effect it had on sales but I would definitely host one again, whether for a book launch or any other reason. It’s a virtual world we’re living in these days after all!
“Never had she imagined she would be brought so low, and all for the love of a very bad man.”
Convict’s daughter, Laetitia Beedham, is set on an epic journey from the streets of London, through transportation to Barbados and plantation life, into the clutches of notorious pirates John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, Mary Read and the treacherous Anne Bonny.
Who will win her loyalty and her heart?