Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Launches: Yes, No, or Maybe?

Recently, I attended a writing colleague’s book launch for her debut novel, Exit Strategy. It was great fun and I was happy to be invited. I know what it’s like to stand in front of a room of people talking about one’s book, and then signing said book to an appreciative and friendly audience. It’s both gratifying and terribly nerve-wracking.

Since I have a book launch coming up at the end of March, it got me to thinking about launches in general. I’ve attended a few in my time at a variety of locales: restaurants, recreation centers, art centers, an Anglican church (the subject matter was appropriate to the location), and even in my own home for my first novel.

I like attending book launches for two reasons: one is that it’s a joy to see all the years of work, doubt, and struggle pay off for a writer. Secondly, I get to be among the first to read the book and acquire a signed copy. I’m building a wonderful collection of signed books from all sorts of authors, and they’re treasures I plan to keep.

Book launches are like weddings: they bring people together to celebrate an important event in an individual’s life. After the talking and signing is done, there are refreshments and often a party-like atmosphere. Book launches are mercifully shorter than weddings, however, and you don’t have to buy a gift; just a book, if you choose. It's always optional.

I respect the fact that not everyone likes book launches. They are a great ego boost for the host, after all, and difficult to execute for introverted authors (many of us fit this category). They can also be expensive if one goes all out with food, drink, and decorations. Also, if you’re hoping to put a book a year, is it realistic to expect friends, family, and acquaintances to attend year after year? On the other hand, maybe launches are the excuse people need to come together and confirm that dreams do survive in an increasingly fragmented and turbulent world. Stripped down, book launches can be intimate, humble, friendly, and even moving.

With the growing number of people owning ereaders, iPads, and iPhones, I don’t see why ebook authors can’t hold launches as well. While not everyone owns one of these devices yet, odds are they will in the future. Can you imagine reading from your new book at your launch, while your guests download the book simultaneously? Wouldn’t that be cool?

This year, my launch of Deadly Accusations, the second Casey Holland mystery, is taking place at the Port Moody Library, which is close to home. I chose the library because book launches are a bit scary for me and libraries have always been safe harbors. The event is Saturday, March 31st from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., and yes, refreshments will be served. Because it’s in a library, they ask that attendees phone to reserve a seat, at 604-469-4575. If you live in BC’s Lower Mainland, I’d love to see you there. Port Moody Library is at 100 Newport Drive, right and shares the same building as the City Hall. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at
By the way, if you’ve hosted a book launch, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, now available for iphones, iPads, and iPodTouch at Also available in paperback at and on Kindle at


Colleen Cross said...

Looking forward to March 31st, Debra!

Catherine Astolfo said...

Wish I could be there. Love your idea for the ebook launches, too. Why not?

Unknown said...

Good luck with the book launch. I understand the need to go to the library...
Interesting post. Most of us are a bit nervous about promoting ourselves I think. It takes a real step out of the skin. Just when we thought writing and plotting and character building was hard enough, now we have to market too...

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks Colleen, Cathy, and Gwynneth for your comments. Yes, marketing is often the toughest part. That's why my first launch several years ago was in my home surrounded by friends & writing colleagues. It's always nerve-wracking to step out in public & make this all formal with public notices and RSVPing and all that!