Preparing for the Book Launch event—a journey filled with potholes.
March 31, 2023, was the launch day for Jam Run, the second crime book in the Eddie Barrow series and my fifth thriller. The events leading up to yesterday’s book launch did not occur without problems. A few mishaps nearly derailed my efforts at a successful release. This is expected because I’ve yet to hear or read about any author who’s had a successful book launch without problems. Fortunately, I work with professionals with enough experience to help me get matters back on track.
For Jam Run, I did something different than with my previous books. I worked with a marketing company that specializes in books. The company assigned me a book launch team that helped me develop a book launch marketing plan. For the first time, I also worked with a publicist who gave me some book launch party ideas. Below is a summary of my preparations over the past year, which were part of my book launch plan.
Planning a book launch involved several months of preparation. I started my campaign to make myself known locally by participating in as many local festivals as possible. Only one was very successful, while the others did not attract people I consider part of my audience. However, I was able to add a few subscribers to my newsletter.
This year, I plan to do the same. The only difference is I’ll only attend festivals with significant traffic and where I had previous success.
Delayed book launch date
Originally, Jam Run was supposed to be released on November 20. This was to tie the launch date in with Transgender Day of Remembrance—one of the book’s themes. However, my editor had a few setbacks that forced her to step away from her duties. Therefore, the date was postponed to March 31, the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Postponing the launch date had its benefits. It allowed me to visit the locations in Jamaica where my story takes place. This allowed me to make some much-needed corrections to a few scenes to be accurate in my descriptions.
A major setback was when my beta reader did not honour his commitment to reading the entire manuscript. When he fell four weeks behind schedule, I had to ask my book formatter to fill in. This caused significant delays, as my editor and formatter were pressured to complete their tasks before the deadline.
Unfortunately, I could not get softcover and eBook copies delivered to book reviewers at the time needed for them to finish before the launch date.
Book Launch Day
The great news is that with the help of my publicist, I scored an interview on CTV Ottawa Morning Live with Rosey Edeh. This was a treat since Rosey and I had known each other since we ran track and field. I was ready, with Skype downloaded to my laptop. Then, moments before I was to go on air, Rosey’s team couldn’t connect with me. This went on for about 15 minutes before we resolved the problem. Fortunately, the interview went well.
After rushing to pick up the Jamaican patties, I was stuck in traffic delivering them and the other items to the Jamaica Association of Montreal, which hosted the launch. I risked getting a speeding ticket rushing home to change and heading back on time.
In the end, the launch party was successful. There were a few last-minute cancellations. However, they were replaced by others who accompanied those I invited.
Aside from the event being well attended by friends and acquaintances—some of whom I hadn’t seen in months, the most touching moment was when my grade six French teacher, Mrs. Marie Bédard, attended. I was eleven when I wrote my first short story. She caught me with it, took it, and read the story to the class. I thought that I was in trouble. She surprised me when she led the class in applause. Mrs. Bédard then left me a note that she hoped to read one of my published novels. Because of her inspiration, she’s now reading my fifth.