Monday, December 14, 2009

Five, Four, Three, Two, One...Launch!

By Nichole Giles

Well, it’s official. Mormon Mishaps and Mischief is available for purchase online and in stores. Woo hoo! To celebrate this milestone, we asked the Cedar Fort public relations manager, Sheralyn Pratt, to help us schedule a launch party.

I’ve always believed in word of mouth advertising. As long as you tell a few people, the news should get where it needs to go. Correct? In theory. But have you ever tested that theory? We did.

          (Getting started!)

Both Cindy and I publicized this event on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and newsletters. We hung posters around town, we emailed all our friends. But most importantly, we made sure to remind the important people in our lives that this party meant a lot to us. A true milestone in the beginning of our careers as writers.

We planned it, and people came. And when I say people, I mean crowds.

(Yes, that is a line you see.)

How did this happen? It’s hard to say exactly. But here’s one thing I know for sure. I told my mom, who told everyone she knew, which included my grandma, who told everyone she knew (you know, family pride and all). Then I told my dad, who told everyone he knew, and his mom told everyone she knew, and the web branched out from there. Now imagine me telling everyone I met for about three weeks solid. Then consider that Cindy did the same things as me. Then our families and loved ones and friends and neighbors. And we treated everyone like they’d been given a special invitation. (That's a key point, I think.)

The result? Too many people to count. We sold out of the forty books Barnes and Noble had in stock, then opened a box of fifty we’d brought with us. Eighty-one books sold out the door that night, and we left six more for the shelves. (Don’t worry, B&N ordered more books from the publisher and will be replacing those books we brought with us and sold through them.)
(Left to right: contributors Rachelle Christensen and Connie Hall, Cindy, Nichole)

I’m thinking that’s a successful launch! Three days later at the next signing, we sold another fifteen, even though it was the middle of the day on a stormy, cold Saturday. Another success.

We’ve done two events, and have two more scheduled before Christmas. We’re definitely learning as we go, but I want to share a few tidbits we’ve learned up to now.

First, when you have an eye catching table, people will naturally be inclined to wander over and see why that table is set so pretty. At that point, you can talk to them about your book, offer them candy (one of the items on the table) and a free bookmark, and have them enter to win a prize from a drawing held by you.

 (In the back: Authors Rebecca Shelley, Heather Justesen--creator of the gorgeous cake on the table--and Keith Fisher.)

Second, it pays to have drawings. Free stuff always draws crowds, and if you tell people they have to be present to win, they’ll probably stick around for a while. That gives them time to fall in love with your book and buy two or three copies.

Third, whenever people see a crowd, the natural inclination is to mosey on over and see what’s going on. Those people will likely at least look at your book or take a bookmark. These are potential buyers. And if they think they’re meeting a famous author (just pretend, it’s partially true, right? Okay. Lie then. It’ll make them feel good) they’ll not only buy your book, but maybe ask to take your picture. Smile!

Fourth, always have extra books in your car. If the store sells out, they’ll be more than happy to work out something in order to get more books from you and keep up the selling momentum. Aim to sell out every store you walk into, and be prepared to restock the supply if needed.

(Us at the Gateway signing. This was our last half hour, when we sold all fifteen books.)

I’m sure we’ve learned a lot more than that, but this post is getting mighty long. Stay tuned in two weeks for my next post about what I learned at my first four book signings.

Merry Christmas, everyone!



Don said...

Congratulations on your successful launch. This looks like an awesome party!

Donna Hatch said...

That's outstanding! Never underestimate the power of publicizing your event!!!! I think I may have to do something like that for my next book in June. May this be the first of many successes for you.

Kimberly Job said...

Great tips, Nichole! Congrats on your book launch. It was lots of fun.

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks Don, Donna, and Kim. It was a huge success and totally fun as well. I hope to do it again very soon, and wish you all good luck with your future launches.

Kim, I was so glad to get to see you there. We didn't get to take a picture with all our author friends because of the crowd, and that made me sad. Next time for sure, and someone please remind me!

Anne Bradshaw said...

Well done, Nichole and Cindy! What a super event. So pleased for you. And the weather was awful if I remember right. Yet still they came. May your book be in every LDS Christmas stocking :-)

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks Ann! And I'm wishing the same for you and your book. I'm giving away a few copies of "Famous Family Nights" myself to try and help that cause along.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Rachelle said...

This is just too exciting! Your book is fabulous and so are you, Cindy and Nichole!