I feel happy whenever I see all these pictures put together in a collage.
My goddaughter, KC, is my #1 young reader fan. She has all my books!
She practically grew up reading my books. She can enumerate all of them. What a smart kid!
I enjoyed The Purple Cotton Candy Arts Book Party that I organized last July 28-29, 2017. I got to celebrate the completion of by 8 book titles with acquaintances, friends and family from different parts of the world--Philippines, India, New Zealand, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Canada, South Africa, Italy, USA and few other countries. Now the big news is out in the vast universe and it has reached a broader audience!
It wasn't a very huge success, though, in terms of the number of attendance, the guest participation, and the book sales. It paled in comparison to the Virtual Book Launch of The Bluebird's Cry last year. During the PCCA Book Party, I had interview segments, debut of my book trailers, book giveaways, book discounts, haiku contests, sharing of childhood photos and experiences, tidbits about the author, inspirational quotes, and a couple other interactive posts, but why did it seem like it failed in those categories? I wrote down all my theories below and thought of sharing them here for those who are thinking of having a virtual book party. Here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Invite your target audience. - I think the Virtual Book Launch of The Bluebird's Cry was a hit because most of my Facebook contacts are poets. Who would be interested in a poetry books but poet? I didn't have a big market for children's books on FB. That was why there were hardly any sales, only a big purchase from a relative.
2. Plan it on the a day when your audience is more likely to be on the internet. - Last time I did it on a Saturday and a Sunday. For the children's book party, I did it on a Friday and a Saturday. So which works better? I'm really not sure. I just held on two days so that the time frame is open to more people. But then, you might think that two days would be dragging. That depends if you can hold the attention of your audience with a variety of entertaining posts. During the Virtual Book Launch of the Bluebird's Cry, there were a lot of interaction between me and the guests. Perhaps, it's because the subject matter GRIEF was a topic that most of my guests could relate to.
3. Make sure you hold the attention of your guests. - During the book party, I posted all the things I mentioned above. There was only one thing I didn't do which was post a video of myself. I didn't have enough time to make a good one so I guess the virtual party didn't turn out as personal as my first book party.
4. Advertise your virtual book party way ahead of time and make your invitation an attention grabber. - I did advertise mine one week ahead with all the pictures of my books spread out and my puppy Haiku in the center. I thought that the puppy will attract more attention and I posted all the things to expect on that day. I think what worked last time was that I posted the book trailer of The Bluebird's Cry along with my invitation. That piqued the interest of many people! With 8 children's book titles to promote, I should have selected at least one book trailer and saved the rest for later. I saved it all on the party itself! Perhaps, posting one would have created a very interesting invitation.
5. Focus on one theme. - The focus of my virtual party was the celebration of my 8 book titles. Should I have celebrated it one at a time? I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate them all at the same at the same time so that guests had a variety of choices if they plan on purchasing. At craft fairs, I noticed that I had been selling more book because I had more book titles to sell. Also, I think could have picked a common message or theme from my book and worked around it. Sometimes I wonder if that would have worked better.
These are the only advice I can give right now based on my experiences. I will add some more as I learn along the way. If you want to know how to launch a non-virtual book party, read 12 Tips for Successful Book Launch Parties. I did one non-virtual book party to launch my book, The Magic Paintbrush. I threw a big party to celebrate and promote my book. You can check it out here.
Last year it was just a dream. I walked by the California Author's booth and took this picture. I told myself, one day I will be here.
I approached one of the authors and asked how I could participate in the next state fair. Fortunately, I introduced myself to Naida West, the author of the California Gold trilogy and the person who was at the helm of the Authors Booth. She advised me to send her one of my books in January 2017 for her approval.
I had a very strong feeling I was going to make my dream come true. The months went by while I kept on believing in this quote by Earl Nightingale--"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."
True enough, on July 25, 2017, I was at Cal Expo in Sacramento, CA as one of the authors. On my first day, I sold 17 books! I was ecstatic!
The second time I was there business was slow, but I was still smiling from ear to ear. Why not? I met a few indie authors who were friendly and accommodating. I was also invited to join a poetry group and was advised to join a book contest. I tried to absorb every new information I could to become a successful author. And that includes some ideas on how to advertise myself with displays (medals, awards, etc,) and other marketing tools (leaflets, sign-up sheets, bookmarks). Next year I will be more CREATIVE!
My last day was still a very exciting experience for me. I decided to ask parents who bought my books if I could take a photo of their kids. All of them responded positively.
Another highlight of my last day was having a booth side by side with Naida West. I couldn't resist having a picture with her. :-) I'm so grateful to her for giving me a chance to sell more books and to learn new things.
I’m Christine L. Villa, the creative explorer who eats, sleeps, and breathes everything creative from children’s books, Japanese short-form poetry, to arts and crafts.