Tips for Planning a Book Launch Party (on a budget!)

The moment I started thinking about a book launch party, I was already a month too late. With all the excitement and other commitments I had for GARDEN OF THORNS, I didn’t think about throwing a book launch party until about a month and a half out.

I was sick with a fever that day but I couldn’t sleep, worrying about how I was going to plan something that I had never done or even attended before. I went online and while I found a few things, it wasn’t nearly enough to help me plan something like what I wanted to through. So here are a few tips and tricks that I found helpful to plan an event on a budget:

Start planning early.

Seriously, the earlier, the better! I’d suggest two months out, at least. I started with only a month and a half and it was tight trying to fit everything into a schedule. The more notice you can give your location, the better.

Pick a location.

Is there a local bookstore in your town? That’s a perfect spot to host a launch party since they have easy access to getting your books. I’d suggest calling well in advance. As I mentioned above, two months will usually work so that they can fit you into their schedule and have plenty of room to advertise. You also need to know what they allow. Here are some questions I prepared for when I called my bookstore:

  • Can you get a hold of my books or am I responsible for that?
  • Do you provide tables and chairs?
  • What else do you provide, if anything?
  • How will you advertise this event?
  • Do you allow food and drink? Can it be homemade or does it need to be store bought? If so, do I need to provide receipts?
  • Is there anything I can do to make this easier for you?

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Who do you know?

This is a big one and will allow you to stay on budget, When I started planning, I wanted to stay around $200-$300 for the entire event and that meant I needed to think about the people I knew that could help me. Do you have a friend or family member who is a photographer? Ask them! Does someone you know make the best cupcakes? Maybe they’d be willing to make them if you buy the ingredients. I asked my aunt to make cakes since she makes gorgeous ones and my uncle took all of the pictures at the event. With the help of my mom, dad, and friends, we were able to set everything up and help the book store tear things down at the end.

Make things that will serve more than one purpose.

Think about the themes in your book and what you can take from them to make cool giveaways and prizes. You don’t necessarily have to give away gift cards, get creative. For my novel. I made a paper cut shadowbox of my book cover, jars that I’d glued green glitter to that glowed like Zarenite jars from the book, little necklaces and purchased two dozen roses and attached quotes to them. Everything I made served as decoration for most of the event but I gave it all away at the end. People we so excited to grab “a rose on Rose” and loved the raffle for the necklaces and shadowbox. Think about ways to stretch your pennies!

Plan how you’re going to fill the time.

I had made a little schedule for the hour so I knew how long to take on each portion of the event. It ended up not going that way at all (I’d planned on signing all books after the event but people kept coming up to me before it started to get their books signed and I couldn’t say no. They were handing me a book that I wrote to get signed, after all!) but at least I had an idea. I was really stressed about the part where I needed to talk in front of the crowd so I decided on an interview style so that someone could be up there with me. We spent about 20 mins while I answered a set of 10 questions that we had pre-prepared and then I accepted questions from the audience. After, I read a very short passage. Even if you mess up (and I did in the beginning even though I’d practiced a million times) just take a breath and continue.

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Advertise.

Make sure to announce your event on all social media sites that you use. I leaned hard on Facebook for my event because that is how I was going to target the locals. I made flyers and hung them up at local restaurants (ask before you do this. A lot of them I visited frequently so they already knew me,), visit high schools and talk to the librarians. I found that creating an event on Facebook and asking a few friends to share it with all of their friends really helped spread the word. My mother was a particularly good source for this because she knows everyone in our small town!

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Remember to breathe and have fun!

This is one I took to heart. I made all of the decorations, shopped for deals, asked a lot of my family and friends for help but on the big day, I made sure to enjoy it. I spoke with everyone, smiled big and savored every moment of the big day.

Hopefully these tips that I learned help you! There isn’t a right or wrong way to do an event like this. As long as there is something to eat, you talk about your book and you celebrate this huge event with friends and family, you’ve done a great job.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Garden of Thorns Book Launch Party

Book launch 2On Wednesday night, a bunch of folks came out to celebrate the release of GARDEN OF THORNS. It was a pretty overwhelming evening and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Luckily, I knew so many of the faces that had come to celebrate with me and as people came up to my table with my book in hand, it become a lot easier to breath.

Everything was beautiful for the night. I was lucky enough to have an amazing photographer in the family, my uncle, who took all the pictures. It was a lucky thing because I was so busy, I didn’t get a single one. I also have a talented aunt who baked three gorgeous cakes for the event and even replicated my cover.

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It’s funny, I’ve been to so many book events before but when I went to plan this one, I had no idea what I was doing and by the time I got up there, I blanked for a moment and completely forgot that I was the one that needed to be answering the questions.

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I chose an interview style presentation since I figured it would be much easier to do a back and forth than try to maintain the entire conversation on my own. It really helped my nerves to have someone up there with me and it helped me expand on what I was talking about. I find it easier to speak when I have someone to go off of.

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After I spoke about my book, my writing process and excitement about GARDEN OF THORNS being released, I did a short reading. Even though I’d practiced reading like four times, I ended up tripping up at the beginning. I just took a deep breath, went back and continued so everything turned out okay. Everyone I know tells me I did fine and I even hear there are some recordings floating around but I don’t want to see them!

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I knew I wanted my giveaways to double as decoration and wanted to be creative. I ended up getting two dozen roses, attached different quotes from the book and asked people to take a “rose on Rose” since a strong theme in the book is about flowers. My husband and I make papercraft shadowboxes so we made one of my cover to giveaway for the event and I also made Zarenite necklaces out glitter.

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While people got their books signed, I put out raffle cards for them to fill out. My biggest fear of the night was spelling someone’s name wrong but one of my friend’s let me misspell my own name in her book to get that over with!

Over all, it was an incredible evening. I couldn’t believe how many people came out to support me for my very first book launch party and I wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. I can’t thank everyone enough for coming out, buying books, supporting me, asking questions and being so kind. It meant so much to me.

In my next post, I’ll give a few tips on how to throw a book launch party on a budget!

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If you were there and have pictures, I’d love to see them. Also, if you have read my book and loved it, it would be great if you would review it on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any other website! Thanks!

#WeShipIt Live Twitter Chat and Prom Photo

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Entangled Teen is going to be doing another live twitter chat this evening at 9 PM ET and I’m excited to be participating again! This time around a bunch of Entangled Teen authors will be chatting about various couples we ship. We’ll be chatting about movies, books, t.v. shows and more! It’ll be a great chance to join in the fun, ask us questions and a way for us to get to know you guys.

Make sure to use the hash tag #WeShipIt during the chat so we can catch your questions and you can see our responses!

Entangled Teen will also be giving away some prizes (US only) to those who participate so make sure to come talk to us about all your favorite ships! And if you happen to mention Rose and Rayce, I’ll love you forever because I definitely ship them!

 

Prom Photo

In honor of another fellow Entangled Teen author, Cindi Madsen, whose book Operation Prom Date came out this week, Entangled asked us to share prom photos. I went looking through my old things and found photos from when I went to prom as a sophomore.  The guy in the photos who took me to his junior prom is now my hubby. We met young but knew we were crazy about each other from the beginning.

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Even though this isn’t a flattering picture, I’ve always loved it. It was the first time I actually stopped to breath that day. That mess in the background was my bedroom!
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We had dinner at the fanciest restaurant we could afford…Carrabba’s! My french braid is pure magic with my braces.

 

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We’re right outside of the prom here.

Admittedly, I was pretty nervous about the whole affair since I was part of a younger class and none of my friends from my grade were coming. But the evening turned out fine and I had nothing to worry about. Funny enough, I’ve never been a big fan of pink but something about that dress, actually it was the back since it was open, made me fall in love with it.

It’s so strange looking at these photos. My husband and I both look so young!

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Make sure to check out Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen and share your prom pictures with us!

Release Day Giveaway!

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Today, Garden of Thorns is released into the world and I want to celebrate! I’ve decided that the best way I can do that is by giving away two awesome prize packs. So are you ready to win some great books and some Garden of Thorns swag? Because I’m totally pumped to give it out!

So what can you win?

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The first prize pack consists of:

  • 1 ebook of Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron*
  • 1 blue rose Zarenite necklace from Garden of Thorns
  • 1 signed Garden of Thorns bookmark
  • 1 signed Garden of Thorns postcard

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The second prize pack consists of:

  • 1 ebook of Spindle by Shonna Slayton*
  • 1 grey rose Zarenite necklace from Garden of Thorns
  • 1 signed Garden of Thorns bookmark
  • 1 signed Garden of Thorns postcard

*Should you win a prize pack and you already have the ebook, you can swap out your prize ebook for any Entangled Teen author you wish!

So how can you enter? Well, there are lots of different ways. You can follow me or the other two authors on Twitter, you can like my Facebook page, you can tweet about the giveaway, add Garden of Thorns on Goodreads or even review. Trust me, there will be plenty of ways you can snag one of the two prize packs!

All you need to do is check out this form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here’s a bit more about my book since we are celebrating it’s birthday today!:

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After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.

Garden of Thorns is available everywhere today from Entangled Teen.

You can buy yourself a copy at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Books-A-Million, Google Play or Book Depository.

#TeamEpic: Top 5 Epic Fantasy Books I Love

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As part of Entangled Teen’s TeamEpic vs TeamUrban fantasy week, I wanted to share my top 5 favorite epic fantasy reads. A few of these are older but they are all worth a look.

So let’s get it #TeamEpic!

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I’ve said many times over the past few days that I love epic fantasy because of its escapism. When I read, I don’t want to remember the problems of the real world…I want to be thrown into a new one.

I write it because of the same reason. I’m obsessed with the blend of research that has to be done to bring in certain cultural influences in as well as the imagination you get to bring into. Creating believable cultures, politics, religions, languages and magic systems always preoccupies my mind and is one of my favorite parts about writing. Here are 5 novels that cultivated my love of fantasy:

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  • The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix- I read this series in college and it blew my mind. The magic system was so dangerous and intricate, Sabriel is such a strong heroine and I was absorbed in the world Nix created. I’ve been itching to read this series again and probably will soon!

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  • Poison Study (series) by Maria V Snyder- This series was in the “adult” fantasy section while I worked at Books-A-Million. I was putting away books and saw the cover of Poison Study. I couldn’t get it out of my head so I purchased it and BLEW through the book Every book in the series is just as good as the first and I loved Yelena and Valek. Danger, a new world, lots of mystery? Um, yes please!

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  • Defiance by CJ Redwine- Sadly, I’ve only read the first book in this series but I couldn’t put it down. I plan on getting the others now that they are out because I loved Rachel and Logan. In fact, Logan is one of my favorite fantasy heroes OF ALL TIME. He’s so stinkin’ clever.

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  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo- This is a newer one to my list but I couldn’t put it down. I loved the Russian influence, the magic system and ALL OF THE CHARACTERS (give me the Darkling any day, thank you, please).

So there are my top 5 favorite YA epic fantasies. Of course, I would also add my book GARDEN OF THORNS on there but I’m a little partial to is so I didn’t think it was appropriate!

What are your favorite epic YA reads?

Book Swag Giveaway!

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I just got in some very pretty book swag that I want to share with all of you. My husband made bookmarks and postcards using the cover for GARDEN OF THORNS and to celebrate it coming out so soon, I want to mail SIGNED bookmarks and postcards to you. And trust me when I say, you definitely want these pretties!

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So how can you get your hands on them?

It’s pretty straight forward. All you need to do is pre-order or purchase a copy of GARDEN OF THORNS, fill out the form below with a link to your receipt and I’ll send you a bookmark and postcard in the mail!

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Rules:

  • This giveaway ends March 14, 2017
  • US or Canada only
  • You must have purchased a copy of GARDEN OF THORNS, it can either be digital or in print, but you will need to show a receipt.
  • Fill out the form!

Thanks so much for your support! If you’d like to support me further, please head over to Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever else you can think of and review my book when you’re finished with it.

Happy reading!

Garden of Thorns Launch Party March 22nd

 

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To celebrate the launch of GARDEN OF THORNS next month, I will be appearing at The Vero Beach Book Center on March 22nd at 6 PM and I would love for you to make it!

If you are local (or local-adjacent), please consider marking this date on your calendar and stopping by because it is going to be a party and I would love to celebrate with you.

When?– March 22nd at 6 PM

Where?– The Vero Beach Book Center, 392 21st ST, Vero Beach, FL, 32960

So what is a book launch?– It’s really just one big celebration. There will be some light snacks, water, a giveaway, and some free book swag for you to pick it. I will talk a bit about my book, do a Q&A and then GARDEN OF THORNS will be available for you to purchase and for me to sign. It’s a great way for you to support a local bookshop* and share in the excitement of a book entering the world!

What do I need to bring?– Just yourself and maybe a question for me, if you want.

Is there a dress code?– Not really. Come as you are!

Can I bring a friend/cousin/someone else?– YES! It is an open event and the more people that attend, the better. Bring whoever you’d like and spread word about the event.

I really hope to see you there!

*If you haven’t purchased a print copy of my book, please wait until the event! That way you can support this amazing local bookshop and I can sign it for you.

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Here’s a bit about my novel:

After seven grueling years of captivity in the Garden—a burlesque troupe of slave girls—sixteen-year-old Rose finds an opportunity to escape during a performance for the emperor. But the hostage she randomly chose from the crowd to aid her isn’t one of the emperor’s men—not anymore. He’s the former heir to the throne, who is now leading a rebellion against it.

Rayce is a wanted man and dangerously charismatic, the worst person for Rose to get involved with, no matter what his smile promises. But he assumes Rose’s attempt to take him hostage is part of a plot to crush the rebellion, so he takes her as his hostage. Now Rose must prove where her loyalties lie, and she offers Rayce a deal—if he helps her rescue the other girls, she’ll tell him all the Garden’s secrets.

Except the one secret she’s kept for seven years that she’ll take to her grave if she must.

GARDEN OF THORNS will be released from Entangled Teen on March 6, 2017.

#TeamEpic Fantasy for the Win!

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Are you ready to take a side on what type of fantasy you like? Time to decide whether you are #TeamEpic (which you gotta be) or #TeamUrban!

Entangled Teen is holding an event that I’m apart of. They thought it might be fun to make a friendly little wager and pit authors and fans of epic fantasy against authors and fans of Urban Fantasy. Naturally, since GARDEN OF THORNS is an epic fantasy, I’m one of the authors on #TeamEpic! I’m in good company too but I’ll announce the other authors tomorrow after they’ve announced themselves!entteen-urbanbattleepic560x315opt3

It’s going to be a fun week long event starting with a LIVE twitter chat tomorrow night (Feb 28,2017) at 9 PM EST. All the authors from both teams will be taking questions and chatting for the entire hour.

There are also going to be lots of posts on a bunch of different blogs and plenty of smack talk so make sure you grab your badge below and show your love for epic fantasy with me!

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Do you like the gritty realism of #TeamUrban fantasy or do you like to be swept away into lush new worlds like #TeamEpic?

Garden of Thorns Disney Trip

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This weekend, we’d already planned to go to Disney for a very special birthday party, but since I got print copies of my book in on Thursday, I thought it might be fun to bring along a novel and get some shots of it out in the wild. I love when books are posed on Instagram or folks take pictures of books in places they aren’t suppose to be. So I thought it would be a great way to celebrate finally getting to hold my written words in my hand!

We headed off to Disney with my book tucked in my bag and stopped at a few iconic places to get some shots. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the day right along with us!

We figured the Big Entrance should be properly photographed. It was a little overcast at the beginning of our journey so I wasn’t sure how long my paper book was going to make it, especially if it rained. Luckily the rain stayed away.

I think it looks especially nice next to Cinderalla’s castle but I could be biased.

Since the main character’s name is Rose and it has garden in the title, I figured it would look right at home next to greenery. We made sure to snag a few photos among the beautiful flowers blooming at the Magic Kingdom.

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Next up was a trip to the wishing well. This is where dreams come true after all. We decided to take some photographic evidence of this theory in practice. Luckily, the well did NOT disappoint. All I need to do was think about my book really hard for it to appear.

Next up, we visited Alice from Alice in Wonderland. We all know she loves to read and is big into fantasy, so of course, my book felt right at home. Not to mention, Alice in Wonderland holds a pretty special place in my heart. It happens to be the subject of my current WIP!

Next up, we went to a few different locations around the park. In Adventure Land, the barrels of rum called out to us, surrounded by beautiful flowers. We had to get a picture next to Cinderalla’s iconic fountain and GOT tried its luck at pulling the sword from the stone. Alas, neither Rose nor Rayce was meant to be king of Camelot. It’s probably better though. They have enough to worry about in Delmar.

Since Beauty and the Beast has my heart, we stopped by Belle’s neck of the woods next and visited Gaston’s pub. I know people THINK Gaston is the villain in Beauty and the Beast but he’s my favorite. Especially the park Gastons. I think it is the best character to play because you get to be rude, conceited, and funny all the time. Since he was my favorite, we mimicked his classic poses in his chair (with my short legs) and stood out by the fountain (water seems to be in a lot of these photos which is funny since it is so bad for paper).

Since we hit all the best spots in the Beauty and the Beast area, we decided it was time to say hello to the characters. I showed Belle my book and made sure to mention that there was another Rose that needed her help. After that, we caught Gaston. I told him he probably wasn’t going to be too impressed since I wrote this book and we all know how he feels about a woman that reads. Well, it turned out that not only did he like the book, but he decided that it was a book all about him and scribbled out the book title to sign it.

Even though he was joking, I don’t think it is such a bad idea. I’m not going to go adding him into GARDEN OF THORNS but a book focused on Gaston is something I’d seriously like to do in the future.

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What better way to end the day than to take GASTON, I mean, GARDEN OF THORNS by  the new statue of Minnie Mouse? After such a long day, I think my book enjoyed some(mouse) fawning over it just a bit.

So that is what GARDEN OF THORNS looked like out in the wild. I had so much fun with this that I can definitely see a contest coming in the future when it has been released! Thanks for taking the journey with us.

It Smells Like…Books!

 

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Yesterday, something awesome happened. Though, if I’m being honest, it feels like every day something awesome is happening. But yesterday, I got a spiffy package that made my day. I was pretty sick so I didn’t really think too much on it when our friends let us know that we had received something. As I ripped open the package and peeled back the brown paper, I saw my cover and pretty much freaked out. I got to hold my book in my hands!

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I GOT TO HOLD MY BOOK IN MY HANDS.

It has my title on it, my cover is gorgeous and it has my name on it! I’m still in shock. This is a moment I’ve been dreaming about forever but I wasn’t prepared for all the mixed emotions that overcame me when I opened the book and saw Rayce and Rose’s names in print. I mean, it smells like a book.

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GARDEN OF THORNS is now available to pre-order of Amazon as an ebook and as a trade paperback (you can have one that looks exactly like to one in my pictures).

Also, in a few days I’ll be getting in some awesome book swag including postcards and bookmarks. Keep your eyes peeled for a nifty giveaway in the future!

Currently, I’m working on sitting up a book launch party at The Vero Beach Book Center. When I get more information, I’ll share it but it is looking like it will be March 22nd at 6 PM (as far as I know). It’s going to be one big celebration–there will be food, drinks, a little of me talking and a whole lot of books. I hope to see you there if you can make it.

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Thanks so much to everyone who has supported me thus far. This really is a dream come true and all of your words of encouragement have meant so much to me. Please, if you read my book, let me know what you think of it! You guys are the best!

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