Kathi and Michele gather around the kitchen table with book authors Cheri Gregory and Amy Carroll to gab and giggle over morning coffee. All four authors are in the middle of book launches and they are telling you everything they’ve learned about book launch parties.
In today’s episode, you will learn:
- What a traditional book launch party entails.
- The purpose of a good book launch party.
- The solution that could make a huge difference for your book launch.
Links and Resources:
Drop a comment below and tell us, what is the best thing you’ve ever seen in a book launch? Whether it’s been done online, in person or even in the movies. We’re going to pick two winners who will receive all three books from our book launches; Relentless, Exhale AND The Christmas Project Planner.
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Join us for next week’s episode (Part 2) when we talk about the 7 minute book launch party. You won’t want to miss it!
Transcript of this Episode
Read along with the Podcast!
Communicator Academy Podcast # 189
Rethinking Book Launch Parties – Part One
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Communicator Academy, where our goal is to help men and women become the communicators God has created them to be. With me today is my relentless cohost, Michele Cushatt.
Michele – Not reckless, or restless, or resilient?
Kathi – I think relentless and resilient are two great words, and you are both of them.
Michele – Yes. I am restless at times, too, and occasionally reckless. We’ll stick with resilient and relentless today.
Kathi – So, Michele, you are deep, DEEP into book launch right now.
Michele – Drowning. Somebody throw me a rope.
Kathi – By the way, let me just start off with saying we have two more guests here. We have Cheri Gregory and Amy Carroll, who just released Exhale. I am in the process of launching The Christmas Project Planner, so even if you are hearing this in February, just know, it’s November, and we’re tired.
Michele – There are lots of black circles around eyeballs, here.
Kathi – We are currently sitting around my kitchen table in San Jose, California, in our jammies. Michele decided to get dressed. I don’t even know what’s up with that.
Michele – One of us felt like she needed to be a professional today. Wait. Was that rude?
Kathi – Wait. You’re our hope for that?
Michele – Touché. Absolutely fair.
Kathi – So, we have just got off four days of Leverage, the speaker conference, and we’re all launching books, and holy cow. So, today, we want to talk about book launches. So, this episode, we’re going to talk about what a book launch traditionally looks like, what’s the purpose of a book launch, and a solution we have come up with that we feel has made a huge difference. Next week, we’re going to tell you about exactly what each of us did for our book launch party. That’s what we’re talking about, book launch parties.
Michele – Book launch parties. We could do a whole eight or ten episodes.
Kathi – That sounds awful, by the way. Just terrible. You know, we should actually do that.
Michele – We could do a whole series of book launch information. In fact, we should probably do that while it’s still fresh in our minds, because we’re in the middle of it.
Kathi – I just don’t like you anymore.
Michele – I’m sorry. Forgive me. I should not do this while I’m sitting, in person, with Kathi Lipp, ‘cause she’s going to throw things at me.
Cheri – You’re in a kitchen, and there are knives behind her.
Kathi – Well, there’s the thing. We’ll do this in a two part segment on parties, then we will come up with more segments to do. Doing eight in a row? I just want to continue to like everybody at the table.
Michele – There is fire coming out of her eyes.
Kathi – You know what? This isn’t even a big book launch for me. This is the rerelease of a book. It’s my planner, and it’s beautiful, and it’s exciting, but I’ve got two big book launches coming next year, and it takes a ton of planning. It takes a ton of finances. Now, it can go a lot of different ways. I think what we’re trying to do is say, “Yeah, you could do the corporate party. You can rent the hotel room. You can have it catered. You can have a trailer of your book going the whole time. Or you can do something that humans could participate in.”
Michele – Broke humans.
Kathi – Okay, so I would love for one of you, and any of you can raise your hand, is, what is your impression of what a traditional book launch party? Amy, I bet you’ve been to some. You’re with Proverbs 31, and you’ve seen what other people have done. I would love to hear, when you think of book launch party, what do you think of?
Amy – Well, I went to one of Lysa Terkheurst’s and it was fabulous, of course. There was a praise band, and it was in a large church setting. There were lots of people and tickets and lots of planning.
Kathi – Were the tickets paid for, or were they free? Just curious.
Amy – I can’t remember. I think they were free. That was the model for me. That’s what I thought I had to do with my first book. I think that was Lysa’s, what? Two hundred and ninth book? I had my first book coming out, so some of my friends helped me put together a book launch party at my church. It was fabulous. Truly, one of the best days of my life. But it was so much work. It was so much money, and I didn’t feel like, in the end, it had a really big return. So, in the end, even though I wouldn’t redo it for anything…
Kathi – ‘Cause you loved it, and it was your first book.
Amy – It was my first book.
Kathi – Everybody’s like, “When are you going to write your first book?” and you finally do it and you want to include all those people.
Amy – Absolutely, but I think you came up with something at Leverage.
Kathi – We can talk about that, because I do think we did something pretty special. Here’s what I want to drill down to. What, really, do you feel like is the purpose of a good book launch party? It’s fun to celebrate, also to share with all these people who have been cheering you on. I guess it could have a couple of different purposes. One, to celebrate everybody who’s helped you come along, but let’s talk about it from a publishing standpoint. What do we feel is the need, the purpose, of a book launch party?
Cheri – Well, I used to think it was to sell books.
Kathi – Isn’t that adorable?
Cheri – Like it was this one big event that was going to kick off the ascent to best seller status. I think that is what we can get in the back of our mind. I know, when you and I were working with Overwhelmed, and we were thinking of our book launch party, we came up with the idea of really focusing on gratitude, and just making it something where we could just say “Thank you!” to anybody who had participated in any way. Whether it was our manuscript development team, or our own personal teams, or our book launch team. We wanted to make it something where, if they were local, they could come and hang out with us, and we could love on them in person. If they were remote, they could participate through Zoom, or something like that. We just wanted to make it something where we were building community, and extending that community.
Kathi – We made it a work party. We had some of Cheri’s friends, some of my friends. It was mostly my people ‘cause it was in San Jose. A lot of people from my church came, and we packed Overwhelmed boxes. My living room looked like an explosion of crinkle paper. We found crinkle paper for years. I’m like, “I thought I was a better housekeeper than that, but apparently not.” It got imbedded into everything. But, we packed boxes, we gave away books, we gave away other people’s books. We had loud music and tons of food. It was a really fun time.
Cheri – That’s what it comes down to. I think, for a lot of us, we work work work. Before I wrote a book, it was the glamour. It was going to be so fulfilling and every word was going to be so marvelous as it dripped from my fingers. No. It’s work. It’s blood, sweat and tears. I think, at some point, you have to stop and just celebrate, and have the fun. Whatever that looks like. Really say, “We did it!” before you get back to the work.
Amy – I think the point that I hope everybody is hearing is that expectations are important. If you expect to sell lots of books from your book launch party, which was my flawed expectation, then you’re going to be disappointed. If you are celebrating the people that you work with? In my case, it ended up being people from all different parts of my life coming together.
Kathi – That is fun.
Amy – Amazing. So, if your expectations are in the right place, you will not be disappointed, but you are not, probably, going to sell a lot of books.
Kathi – Right. A lot of these people are your friends and your family. Are you charging your mom for a book? You know? Just a thought. Just something to put out there.
Michele – I have a real time example. So, my book comes out, at the time of this recording, in five days, but who’s counting? Actually, four days and a few hours, but anyway. I’ve never done a book launch party before. This is my third book. The first book, I was way too sick to do a book launch party.
Kathi – We had a book launch party.
Michele – Our book launch party was Kathi Lipp, Renee Swope and Crystal Paine, at my house.
Kathi – You were drugged.
Michele – I was drugged and in my pajamas, and I don’t remember much of it, but that was our book launch party. We had ice cream. I remember that. And donuts. Which I couldn’t eat.
Kathi – Oh, I took care of that for you, ‘cause I’m a friend.
Michele – Watching you eat donuts is the highlight of my life. Thank you. I couldn’t have a book launch party. Second book, I was still not super well, and I didn’t have a book launch party. So, I was planning to do one for this. A big one. It was going to be an invitation only party. It was going to be hosted in Franklin, Tennessee. I have so many colleagues there. I was in the process of planning the whole thing. Just last week, we cancelled it. We decided not to do it. The reason is, we have way too many things going on right now. I’m exhausted. There is not enough time, and it was a high ticket item. It was expensive for me.
Kathi – It’s very expensive to do.
Michele – So, we just cancelled it. My purpose for doing it was to thank the people that have supported me. It was a gift to them. Not necessarily to sell books. Well, I don’t have to do that now. I can do that two months from now. So, rethinking expectations like Amy said, then getting clear about the timing.
Kathi – It’s interesting. The worst time to have a book launch party is in the midst of a book launch. There are so many things that you need to be doing. Really, in many cases, you are the only one who can do it. I think about the four resources we have: Space, time, energy and money. How am I going to use and balance those four resources to make the best book launch possible? A book launch party sounds so fun. A book signing sounds so fun, until, you realize, for most of us, even if Barnes and Noble sets up the table and everything like that, it’s just you inviting your friends. That’s really, kind of, what it is most of the time. So to really reset our expectations is so important here.
Cheri – For Exhale, we were planning an East Coast/West Coast book launch party, but you had a child in your life that didn’t check your calendar for something.
Amy – Yeah, he decided to get married two weeks before book launch.
Kathi – Rude!
Amy – I know! Turns out, young people in love really don’t care what’s going on in your life. They are just ready to get married. I understood that, but it was difficult. There was a lot going on around that time. So, we did have a party, but it was delayed. It turned out that was okay.
Kathi – Nobody is going to be upset by that. So, what we did, all three of us, instead? We did something a little different. Tonya Kubo, who so should be sitting at this table, because she has worked with all of us, and has helped all of us. She and I were trying to work through what we could do. So Leverage was this week. Here’s a key ingredient: People were gathered. It’s hard to get a bunch of humans in the same room. It just is. So, we already had people gathered. You guys were the mentors at Leverage. I put on Leverage. We thought, “What if we did a book launch each day?”
Cheri – Best idea ever.
Kathi – You know, it turned out better than I had hoped. We called it a seven minute book launch. So, right there, you are setting expectations. Nobody is winning a trip to Hawai’i. Nobody is doing anything like that. It was so successful for us that we’re thinking, for my next two books, which are big launches, that we are going to do a seven minute book launch for those. Now, it’s going to look different than this, but I love this concept so much. One, it’s finite. Two, the expectations are clear. Three, there were two outcomes I wanted. I wanted people to be talking about my book and sharing it on social media, and I wanted a big, goofy picture of all of us together holding up the book. You guys needed to have less goofy pictures, ‘cause you’re not writing goofy books. I’m saying goofy is a good thing. You know. We wanted to show people excited about our books. By the way, can I tell you? We spent hundreds of hours putting this conference together. People were more thrilled about getting three books. Especially in Michele’s case, they were getting it before it was being released in the world. So, that was really exciting to them. So, what I want to do here is, we talked about what a book launch party traditionally looks like. The seven minute book launch, which is just sharing a little bit about the book, handing the book out, taking the pictures, then instructing people how to share about it on social media. Really. Those are the four things we are doing. Let me repeat those four steps. Handing the book out. Telling a little bit about the book. Getting the pictures that you can share on social media, and helping people learn to share about the book on social media, in an authentic, excited way. So, we were able to do all of that in about seven minutes. Some of us went overtime. Just saying. I’m not going to name names.
Michele – Excuse me.
Kathi – Here’s what I want to do. I want to invite our listeners and all of you. I’m inviting you to stay in your pajamas, and we’re going to record another episode, but I’m going to invite our listeners to come back next week and I want to talk about the three different book launches we did, and how you can use those seven minutes to really create the kind of book launch party that represents you as an author, and your books so well. Also, we want you to be part of our book launch. We want you to share in what Leverage was doing. So, here’s what I want you to do. I would love for you, either this week or next week, to put a comment on our post about this podcast, and just tell us, what is the best thing you’ve ever seen in a book launch? Whether it’s been done online or in person. In the movies. I don’t care. What we’re going to do is, we’re going to pick two winners who will receive all three books from our book launches. It is Relentless. It is Exhale. It is The Christmas Project Planner.
Michele – I just want to thank you for calling my book by the right name.
Kathi – I really love the word restless.
Michele – We have to have a different subtitle. If it’s called Restless, then it’s The Unspeakable Presence of a God Who Never Sleeps.
Kathi – There you go! So when is that book coming out?
Michele – It’s a fabulous book. It really is. What we’re doing is, if you buy the book, get a prescription for Restless Leg Syndrome.
Kathi – Oh my goodness.
Michele – We feel that would make sense. So, for those of you who struggle, we’ll give you a copy of the book and a prescription.
Kathi – Oh my goodness.
Cheri – Off the rails.
Michele – I’m an author who gives. I don’t know. I have no ability to write a prescription. I’m going to have to, somehow, figure out how to do it legally.
Kathi – You were a nurse.
Michele – I was a nurse, but I’m not allowed to write prescriptions. So, if you’re at home thinking this is for real, whatever you ate for breakfast is not serving you well.
Kathi – Oh my goodness. Well, guys, the other thing I’m going to encourage you to do is come to our podcast page, not only to enter to win this trio of books, but also, we are going to have a cheat sheet for your own seven minute book launch party that Tonya Kubo and I will be creating together to give to you. So, when it’s time for you to write your book and for you to publish it, you are going to be all set.
Michele – Alright. Well friends, thank you so much for listening to us as we, some of us, sit in our pajamas. Some of us are professionals, drinking our coffee. You have been listening to Communicator Academy. I’m Michele Cushatt.
Kathi – And I’m Kathi Lipp.
Michele – You’ve been given the best message in the world. Now, go live it
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items
Meet The Guests
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.
- Listen to others with love so that you can understand even when you don’t agree.
- Feel people’s pain with a soft and strong heart, empowering you to respond with healing solutions.
- Do good that gives credibility to your words and outshines a thousand clever memes.
- Speak into the battle of extremes with gentle confidence and Scripture-grounded wisdom.
You can find her at https://amycarroll.org/.
Meet Your Hosts
Author, Speaker, Communicator Academy Creator and CEO
Author, Speaker, Mastermind Coach