Friday 24 October 2014

How To Create A Memorable Book Launch

Peter McKinnon

By Dorothy Adamek

Last month my Beloved and I attended the book launch of Peter McKinnon’s The Songs Of Jesse Adams at Kooroong Books in Blackburn.

I love attending book launch gatherings. Some have been huge affairs, like the launch of Eating Heaven by Peter Carey Holt, where the food and beverages flowed and Eating Heaven flew off the shelves and into the hands of eager readers. 

Other launches, smaller but no less exciting for me, have been Mary and Ray Hawkins’ joint launch of Mary’s Barragula books and some of Ray’s devotional books. I have fond memories of Amanda Deed’s book launch of Ellenvale Gold, followed the next year by the launch of The Greenfield Legacy with Amanda Deed and Paula Vince. 

I consider myself privileged to have heard about the creation of stories from the heart (and lips) of the author, and each time glad shivers of anticipation have reminded me... I could be next. 

Here’s my three tips for making your book launch and signing memorable. 

Paula Vince and Amanda Deed

1. Get The Word Out Once you’ve decided on your budget, your venue and set your date, you will need to promote your book launch. Start a month in advance. I received facebook invitations and reminders for most of the launches I attended as well as personal email invitations from Acorn Press representatives for both Eating Heaven and The Songs Of Jesse Adams. 

If your venue is a book store, ask about promotion. They may include you in mailings or email newsletters about in-store events. If your venue is a church, like the one Mary and Ray used, think about putting an announcement in the church bulletin. 

2. Learn To Sign If you’ve never autographed books before, start practicing with the pen you will use on the day. Amanda Deed used a metallic pen with gold colored ink for her goldrush period Ellenvale Gold. Spend some time thinking about what you’ll write. A few stock phrases up your sleeve will keep your messages fresh and you won’t feel like you’re signing to the same person over and over. Always ask for the correct spelling if your reader wants their name included. 

3. Have Fun A book launch party is meant to be a celebration. It shouldn’t be a stressful event. Peter McKinnon shared the inspiration for The Songs Of Jessie Adams, a play performed many years ago by dear friends. From the big smiles on their faces, I could tell his friends celebrated their own part in the seed sowing of this story. 

With Mary Hawkins at her book launch in 2011

Mary Hawkins read an excerpt from her book which featured the names of her daughter’s bible study group ~ a cameo appearance of names to honor a significant group of friends. They cheered and hollered to hear their names read out by the author. Amanda Deed’s husband joined in the fun and dressed up with her in 1850s garb, and Simon Carey Holt didn’t disappoint the foodies in the crowd with a delicious spread of yummies befitting a book about food and spirituality. 
Amanda and Morry Deed

Whether you have a crowd ready to mingle, food and chat, or a small gathering keen to hear how your story come about, remember it’s a day for celebration and what better excuse for FUN than the launch of your very own book.

Have you attended a memorable book launch? 

What can you add to my list of tips for the making of a successful book launch?


Dorothy Adamek lives in Melbourne with her Beloved and their three gorgeous kids. 

She's the winner of the 2013 FHL ~ Touched By Love Competition, and is the 2104 Inspirational Category Winner of the TARA Writing Contest. 

Enamoured by all things 19th century, she writes The Heartbeat of Yesteryear, Historical Romance - Aussie style. Come say G'day at her blog, Ink Dots. 


  1. Good post, Dotti. I think a launch, like any celebration, should reflect something of the personality of the author, whatever that may be. At the end of the day, the audience have come to celebrate with their loved one.

    I went to a delightful launch last year for a friend of mine's cook book & we got to sample some of the book's recipes which I guess one would expect at such an event. I particularly appreciated meeting my friend's mum & dad and some dear friends, one or two of whom were lifelong.

    One thing I notice at book signings is that a 'helper' goes around and gets readers to write their name's on post-it notes so the author can't make an error. And yes, taking a good signing pen is always important. I can recommend Sharpie's.

    1. Hi Ian, I love the post-it note idea! Thanks for sharing. The last thing you'd want to do is get a reader's name wrong! :)

  2. Yes, Dottie your time will come. So looking forward to your Australian series!!!!!!

    I was so fortunate for my first book launch. Our NSW Women's conf. had "Share your Story" as its theme. Of course I asked could I launch Fire in the Rock there, and was promptly accepted. This followed after an extra special dinner. It was a real boost as I felt nervous about whether anyone would actually buy my book. But those ladies were so generous, and two dear friends helped me at the book table while I signed.

    1. Thanks for cheering me on, Rita. :)

      Your signing sounds like a lot of fun. Dear friends make all the difference, don't they?

  3. Dotti, lovely post. Thanks for sharing your tips with us, and I look forward to attending your debut book launch :)

    1. Thanks Narelle, I'm looking forward to sharing that day with you. :)

  4. Great post and set of responses Dorothy. The Koorong 'chat'/signing was in fact a follow-up event to the launch that took place at Readings in Carlton about a month earlier. The Readings launch was huge and a wonderful celebration with family and friends. But the Koorong event was no less significant or touching - the fact that people will come along to listen and join with you is wonderful.
    Each event, each signing, each book group discussion, is a time to be valued, no matter how big or small. I was reminded of this about a year ago when I went along to our small, local bookshop in Fairfied to meet Graeme Simsion ('The Rosie Project'). The book was then and continues to be huge, garnering awards and breaking sales records here and overseas. But here was Graeme, offering chocolates and a chat to anyone who wanted to stop, with or without his book ( for the record I did buy one!). And he is back at Fairfield next week( I notice that wine has replaced chocolates on the agenda!) to do it all again for The Rosie Effect, even with Hollywood movie contracts in his back pocket! It was a reminder to treat every encounter as special as the last.

    1. Hi Peter, sorry I missed the Readings launch. I really enjoyed the Blackburn gathering and interview with Paul Arnott.

      Love your advice to treat every encounter as special. I'm sure you'll agree that applies beyond book promotion, but certainly a great way to approach our connections with readers.

  5. Yes, agree Dorothy. Every encounter, every moment.


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