Book Launch Memories

Speaking at Golden Ears, Oct 21, 2014This week, I had the pleasure of attending a book launch for a colleague who’s about to have her first children’s book published. It’s been a long haul for her, and I wanted to get my hot-off-the-press copy. Her name, by the way, is Eileen Holland and her book is Sophie Trophy (I hope to have her guest blog in the near future!). It’s a delightful story for the 8 to 10 age group.

Her event Monday night was held in the same room where I launched my second novel back in 2008. Seeing Eileen’s happiness and exuberance brought back great memories of other book launches I’ve attended and hosted, and I have to say there’ve been a few of them. Looking back, I’ve attended launches at arts centers, community halls, libraries, bookstores, a pub, a restaurant, a church, and of course, there’s been a few Facebook online launches.

My first launch back in 1995 is still one of my favorites, not just because this was my first published book but because it was a house party for friends, families, and writing colleagues. We served a lot of food and wine that night, I sold books, and everyone had a good time. Best of all, I didn’t have to worry about being out of the room by a certain time or cleaning up early. Honestly, if I hold another one, I might just do it again, which brings me to my second point. Will I ever do another launch? Even though, I’ll be bringing out book number ten over the next few months, it’s not a question I can answer right now.

While I didn’t hold a physical launch for my latest Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock, I did the usual launch-day announcements. It was the third week of November and I was in over my head with weekend craft fairs, the day job, and my publisher’s launch of one of my novellas a week after that.

While it’s still gratifying to see a new book in print, I’m not overly excited to be the center of attention again. The speech preparation, venue rental, RSVPs, and catering issues have always caused this introvert a fair bit of anxiety. Still, maybe another house party is the answer. We’ll see. The Blade Man is coming either later this year or early next…I’ll let you know when.

Should I Choose Instagram?

Social network imagesChoosing social media platforms has always been hit and miss with me. Over the years, the two constants have been Twitter and Facebook. I still belong to Goodreads, LinkedIn, and Kindleboards, but no longer take part in group discussions. Frankly, the spamming and contentious attitudes among too many people make discussions less appealing than they once were.

Some writers insist that you need to be everywhere on social media and I can understand their viewpoint. But for me, it’s neither desirable nor practical. There is one I’m considering, though: Instagram. Indeed, I’ve been invited to join by several writers but I can’t make a decision until I’ve visited the site. I know the audience is generally younger, and I do know a gift shop owner who says that it’s really helped raise her store’s profile. People even offer her advice about improving her store window design, etc.

But does a site that focuses on photos really work for a writer? Before I spend a lot of time setting up and sending out photos of my book covers and events and other experiences, I’d like to know what you think. Do you writers out there use Instagram and is it worth your time?

Last week, I read a blog advising writers to stay away from social media period, as it’s become too negative and troll-infested. This person’s argument was that one’s time was better spent on building their business page rather than connecting with people through blogs and group discussions, and suffering abusive and offensive comments.

I’m not attracting enough attention to have that many negative experiences, and maybe never will. I still enjoy FB, Twitter up to a point, and now WordPress, but should I take a closer look at Instagram, or are there other new sites that are useful for writers? I’d be really interested in knowing your thoughts.