publishing, publishing news, Uncategorized, writing

Book Launch!

On February 18th you can find me at Meow Cafe in Wellington, between 1-4pm (FB Event page here!), where I will officially be launching Serafina’s Flame, along with six other authors and their books at Kiwi Book Feast’s inaugural event.

book-launch-final

I’m terribly nervous as it’s my first book launch, but also excited! Serafina’s Flame has been a long time in the making, and with last year being a pretty awful one on the writing front this is the first book I’ve published in… well, let’s not count, huh?

I’ve never done a physical book launch, so it’s a totally new experience for me. If you are in Wellington, why not come along and say ‘Hi!’, there will be some giveaways and nibbles, and I will do my very best not to speak too fast…

Anyway, if you’d like to get your hands on this book early you can sign up to my newsletter (here). I’m giving all my lovely subscribers a digital copy to say thanks for being so patient with me. If you’ve read Burn and wanted to know what happened next, you’ll want in on this as Serafina’s Flame includes, and continues, what Burn started.

Hope you’re all having a fabulous week!

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Guest post, new zealand author

Z.R. Southcombe – On organizing a book launch

Today we have a guest post from my friend and fellow writer, Z.R. Southcombe, who recently had a physical book launch for her second release. She’s popped over to share her experiences with us all! Thanks Zee 🙂 

I’d read a lot of advice saying not to have a book launch, because indie publishing is a long term game (which it is) and a launch is not worth it. I decided to have a launch anyway, not just to be a rebel, but for celebratory purposes.

And since I decided I was going to do one, I figured I might as well go all out.

Venue

Most important thing, obviously, is where the book launch will be held! I had the fortune of meeting Helen at The Pt Chev Bookshop in Auckland, who has held events at her shop before. It’s an awesome little shop with a fantastic range of books. My friend Lizzi Tremayne had hers at her local library in Waihi, which was also a success.

One benefit of holding the launch at a bookshop was that they could handle sales for me. They also didn’t charge an upfront fee, just a commission on sales.

While libraries and bookshops are the most obvious places to launch a book, you can also think about themes in your book. For example, I could’ve picked on the theme of chocolate cake & cupcakes to hold it at a café. Lizzi’s book has a strong horse theme (it centres around the Pony Express) so she could have launched at an equine venue.

Catering

It helps to have an idea of numbers, and this is where I fell short. The little bookshop wasn’t quite big enough for the number of people who turned up, so next time we’re going to have to think more creatively about how we’ll house everyone.

For catering, I rounded up a few friends who basically did pot luck for me. There were cupcakes galore, and even a few savouries. The food seemed to last (I didn’t see much of it, so I can’t really say!) and the people I asked were happy to bring a plate for me.

Incentives

I wanted something to draw a crowd – especially children and their parents – other than, you know, ‘buy my book!’.

I went for goodie bags and prizes. As I was pretty much running on a $0 budget, I reached out to others for these on a sponsorship basis. I put their advertising on my site, and for the online giveaways I included their social media profiles in the entry options. I also did a bit of promo for them along the way, and some of them gave branded items.

Would I do it again? I’m not sure. The kids liked having something to stop from being bored while their parents stood in line, but it was a lot of effort. I’m thinking that next time I’ll have some freebies available (postcards, stickers and the like), but not with the hassle of creating individual bags.

Online Component

This is definitely something I’d like to focus on more next time. I had giveaways from the website during launch week, which got a few entries, but I’d really like to have something more interactive on launch day itself. We are marketing to an international audience, of course!

All in all, the book launch was well worth doing, despite the hard work (and stress!). I’m hoping that it’ll get easier each time, and I’m already enjoying the creative challenge of coming up with a different event for each book’s launch. Watch this space.

The book I launched was The Caretaker of Imagination, an adventure fantasy for children ages 7-12 (but sort of for grown-ups as well). You can get it from Amazon, Kobo, or in good ol’ fashioned print.

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Au Contraire 2013

I had hoped by now that I’d have something coherent and intelligent to say about my weekend away, but I really don’t feel like I do. It could take me another week, or more, to fully process the whole thing. But I thought it was better to say something, than nothing at all.

It was amazing.

I drove down to Wellington on Friday, stopping to catch up with a friend in Palmerston North on the way, and then arrived in Wellington a mere half hour before the Regeneration book launch. It was dark, and drizzly, and I went the wrong way, and then was doubling back when I managed to find a car park and decided to walk to the hotel as I thought it might be quicker (it was!). By the time I made it to there I was feeling pretty fragile and emotional, but I bumped straight into Anna and she showed me where the launch was. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in years, and finally met other people in person, and I signed books! (haha, it had never even crossed my mind that I might be asked to do that – super cool).  It was kind of surreal, really! I grabbed a burger with Anna for dinner and then pretty much stayed in my room.

It was a big day. First time being so far away from my babies. First time in… over seven years that I’d been anywhere out of town that wasn’t visiting family. First book launch. All these people, and then on the other hand being alone, in a room, just me! Just, massive, on so many levels for me. The hibernation was super important because it meant I got my home sickness out of the way and Saturday I could launch myself into attending panels, meeting more people, having great conversations and just enjoying myself in general.

The most valuable thing for me, I think, was making those connections – finally getting to meet people face to face after years of online interaction, and having it more than confirmed that NZ is truly a great place to be a writer. I have always been an advocate for the groups that we have in NZ, for the work SpecFicNZ does, for the important conversations that need to happen to raise the general public awareness of the fantastic speculative fiction writers we have in NZ. Meeting up with all these writers really boosted that feeling.

These are really awesome people, awesome writers too, but awesome people who love what they do, who have unique ways of viewing the world and bring those to the page. And I got to soak that up through the weekend, both inside the Con and out by catching up with a couple of other writer friends who weren’t attending. It was amazing.

Where I live there are very few writers, and I certainly felt the loss on Monday when I had to pack up and come home. Oh well, there is always next year, right? lol I’m still working on getting ‘back to normal’ though it feels like it has gone out the window entirely. I’m hoping that next year I am actually capable of taking notes and making a more intelligent post, but this will have to do for now 😉

If you’ve never been to some kind of convention or conference where you can connect with other writers, then I urge you to give it a shot. Making those writer connections is super awesome. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, say hi to new people, ask questions, feast on the shared passion of writing. It’s totally worthwhile.

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Updates

So… I have been pretty bad with the blogging over the last couple weeks, but I swear I have good reasons!

I’ve actually been busy with writing. My new novella is sitting just over the 8,000 word mark and growing every day, I’ve had my results back for my first semester paper and got a stunning A- (best mark I have had in ages! And considering my ridiculously busy life, I was pretty chuffed with myself), and am now gearing up to head away for a weekend at Au Contraire.

This will be the first time since having Lauren and Natalie that I will be spending time away from my family, out on my own in the big wide world. And while I am SUPER excited about it, and crazy ready for some time ‘off’ from being a Mum, I’m also really nervous about the whole weekend and being away from my babies for so long (yea I know, a weekend isn’t really that long – just remember I home school, and I’m with them ALL THE TIME). I’m going to miss the heck out of them, I can already tell, and if you do see me over the weekend and it looks like there is something wrong with my arms it’s just because I am used to lugging a 3yr old around with me most of the time and my body isn’t quite sure what normal is outside of that. Maybe I’ll just keep them crossed?

I can’t wait to hit the road, I really can’t. I love driving, and it will be really nice to crank up some of MY music, and sing crazy loud. Some of the other rather mundane things I am looking forward to are:

sleeping all night
not starting my day at 4am
not mediating any kiddie outbreaks/tantrums/arguments for a few days
not being responsible for ensuring everyone is satisfactorily fed/clothed/watered/whatever
not cleaning up after everyone
(hopefully) not being yelled at for three whole days
maybe even sneaking in some writing in peace? Who knows.

I’m also very much looking forward to attending my first ever book launch (for Regeneration), meeting people face to face that I have known online for years, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone (and let’s face it, the entire weekend is out of my comfort zone!). It’s going to be an awesome weekend.

I just have to actually make sure I make it out of the house tomorrow, and stop imagining all the terrible, horrible things that could (but never will) happen.

Deep breaths. I CAN do this.

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Regeneration – now open for pre-order

As some of you know, I have a new short story (Carving Out a Life) being published in the very near future. Well, pre-orders for Regeneration are now open! And, the stunning cover has finally been unveiled. I LOVE it.

Here is the blurb:

Some things are gone forever; but that is not the end. There are new lives to be lived, new discoveries to be made, changes to be fought for, enjoyed, or feared.

Experience worlds where existence continues beyond death and much-wanted babies become something else entirely. Where humanity endures in hostile environments, societies adapt to new challenges and inventions, and strange creatures live secretly among us. Travel from a curiously altered Second World War to other universes at the end of time, taking in diverse visions of New Zealand and worlds beyond along the way.

Regeneration, the second volume of New Zealand Speculative Fiction from Random Static, presents 22 original works of science fiction and fantasy by Kiwi authors. Stories of loss and renewal, of fantastic technology and mysterious transformations, of supernatural predators and survivors building new futures. Life always goes on, but seldom the way you’d expect…

Featuring stories by Matt Cowens, Tim Jones, Mary Brock Jones, O.J. Cade, Grace Bridges, I.K. Paterson-Harkness, Kylie Thorne, Debbie Cowens, J.C. Hart, Jennifer Compton, Simon Petrie, Anna Smith, Rebecca Harris, Elizabeth Gatens, Jonathan James Todd, A.J. Fitzwater, Fran Atkinson, Anna Caro, Dan Rabarts, Lee Murray, Grant Stone, and Toni Wi.

I’ve read stories by many of the authors listed above, and they are fantastic writers. I’m very excited to read the stories from authors I don’t know. Random Static always put together a good antho.

If you’re in Wellington on the 12th of July, there is a launch party for the book, and I’ll actually be there! Details can be found here.