Looking back on Lulu

I am surrounded by book launching friends which is a wonderful thing.

Di Bates launches two (!!) new books in October, Awesome Animals: Cats and Awesome Animals: Dogs. On 8 August, Jodie Wells-Slowgrove launches Daisy’s Gift, the fifth book in the Wilderness Fairies series at Sutherland Library. And on October 3rd I’m launching Sad, the Dog at Dean Swift Books in Nowra.

lulu cupcakes

Photo credit: Georgie Donaghey

So it seems timely to look back on another friend’s book launch to get some info on how to get it right. Today I talk with Georgie Donaghey about her June launch of her debut picture book, Lulu. Imagine two friends sitting at a kitchen table, a teapot and a plate of polar bear cupcakes.

When did you begin planning the launch? 

Before I could walk. Seriously though.  I always believed I would be published, well you have to in this industry, or you will drown under the rejection letters.  I just needed to do the work and refine my writing.  It was a bit of a surprise that my first book published turned out to be a picture book.  I thought it would be the chapter book that has consumed my time for the last few years.  Lulu was born, fine-tuned and published within two years.  A dream outcome really.

Why did you choose Sutherland Library as the venue? 

There was never a question where I would have my first launch.  Sutherland is my local library, and one of my old school friends runs the children’s section.  She would never have let me have it anywhere else.  I think she was planning my first launch before I had even signed my first cont

Did something go wrong and if so, how did you solve it?

There were several bumps in the road along the way.  Life would be pretty boring if there wasn’t any bumps but just like Lulu if you believe, persevere and find the solutionyou can achieve anything.  I did, and the launch was a HUGE success.

What will you do differently next time?

Hmm, not sure.  I was pretty happy with how this one turned out.  Everyone left with a smile on their face and a copy of Lulu under their arm, so pretty successful.  I did have fun planning and although I swore I wouldn’t go to that much effort next time I’m pretty sure I will.  Someone said to me on the day I was a publishers dream putting so much effort and promotion into Lulu.

What sort of publicity did you do for the launch? 

Having founded Creative Kids Tales a few years ago and then hosting my radio show, The Author’s Shelf, I find promotion fairly easy.  Creative Kids Tales receives over 115,000 hits per month and has been archived with the National Library and partnered with Love 2 Read.  It’s important to time your promotion carefully; you don’t want to overwhelm people and turn them off you or your work before it is even launched.  I selected local pages on Facebook suited to the Sutherland Shire and messaged admin requesting they post.  Never assume it is ok to post on someone’s page unless they promote it as ok.  Always ask first. 

Then I targeted Australian children’s writing sites, again a few posts over several monthsand on key sites. It’s important to spread out your posts but keep the momentum going.  Creating a Facebook page was good too which allowed me to post not just about Lulu’s launch but polar bear fun facts and pictures of polar bears.   Sending out review copies just before the launch date to create a buzz is another good way to promote your work.  Once the launch is over it is important to keep interest up for your book.  Post launch interviews, giveaways, etcare also a good way to promote.

Lulu twinkled

Image source: Georgie Donaghey

Were you an event organiser in a previous life? 

Haha no, but I believe an event should leave a lasting positive memory.  I wanted Lulu’s launch to be magical.  I wanted the kids and grown-ups to have fun and live the dream too.  From the polar bear cupcakes, Lulu slice to the craft masks and take-home goody bag filled with balloons, stickers, a polar bear chocolate and an activity book.  The activity book I have to say I am very proud of how it turned out.  Co-ordinating the colours from the book with the decorations was important to add to the overall presentation of Lulu.  Of course, what would a launch for a dancing polar bear book be without pink tutus (worn by my daughter’s) and a hand made polar bear hat (worn by me).

Thanks, Sandy for inviting me to chat with you about Lulu’s launch.

You can purchase a copy of Georgie’s beautiful book at www.creativekidstales.com.au

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