Book Launch, marketing tips, time management

ORGANIZING a BOOK LAUNCH: Notebook Style!

In just under four months my seventh children’s book, Happy Birthday Christmas Child, published by Paraclete Press and illustrated by Gabi Murphy will release.  For a couple of months already, I have been busy preparing for release day. And as I have been doing so, I’m realizing that over the course of these seven books, I have hit upon a strategy that really works for me in terms of keeping track of all the many moving parts that go into successfully welcoming a new book into the world.  The moving parts include communicating with the publisher to see what their plans are and complementing/enhancing those with your own publicity efforts including setting up social media/blog/podcast opportunities, building and working with a launch team, setting up in-person and virtual book events at stores, schools etc., creating ancillary materials for your book like lessons, activities, etc. and more. 

All this can seem a bit daunting, but I think I’ve found a way to keep it manageable. What’s my secret?  For each of my books I have created a book launch notebook which serves as ground control for all aspects of the launch.  And today, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek into how I have organized it. 

Here’s the cover. There’s logic behind this colorful cover.  I want it to stand out and be easy to find. Having it be book-themed and cute is also motivating to me to persevere with my planning because good things come to those who plan ahead.

Small (but not too small). I have chosen a 5”by 7” notebook with a thick and sturdy cover so it’s small enough to toss into my bag and carry with me, but not so flimsy as to slip between the cushions of my sofa which happened with my first book launch notebook and, oh my, but I was stressed before I found it again!

Front page.  Here I have clearly noted the title of the book that is releasing, the publisher as well as two over-arching goals. 

Five Sections. The notebook is divided into five sections, each marked for now with a post-it, though I may switch those for paper clips as I get going, for extra easy flipping.

Section One: Events. This section has two parts. 

The first is a summary page which will be filled in later, once I have all my events in place so I can list them in date order. This page also include columns with each book title so I can note how many books were sold as a result of each event. (It’s fun to look back and see the grand total of sales I directly influenced over the years and also is good for analysing what worked well (or didn’t) at each event.)

The second is a large, continuing section where I make notes on each of the events as I set them up.  I also fill in dream destinations and then see if I can make them happen. 

Section Two: Blog, Podcasts, Press etc.  This also has two sections. 

The first is a summary page, which again I will fill in later, once I have everything in place.  It will include the date, venue, and topic with the goal of reaching a range of target audiences including teachers, librarians, parents, faith-based ministries, writers and more.  I will also strive for a range of topics and formats so it all feels fresh and fun. 

The second, again, is a large, continuing section where I make notes on each of opportunities as I set them up. I also leave open boxes for dream opportunities and then see if I can make them happen (such as being on a nationally or regionally syndicated show! A girl can dream, right?)

Section Three: Launch Team. This section is for contacts, who aren’t necessarily bloggers etc, but who are active in their communities and who have said they’d be happy to help spread word about my newest book. This list typically includes teachers, librarians, directors, friends, moms in the thick of the preschool years etc.  Again it includes two parts. The first is a list of who they are. The second is a list of tasks/requests for them to do (if they so choose). All efforts are voluntary and doing even just one or two helps!  The tasks include things like telling three friends about the book, suggesting it for purchase at local libraries and schools, taking a picture reading the book and then sharing on social media, writing a Goodreads review etc. 

Section Four: Libraries This is where I record libraries that I or others have reached out to to recommend the book for acquisition – along with a column for the result.  

Section Five: Daily Actionable Steps  This is the secret sauce to the success of the launch.  It’s also what keeps everything manageable.  The secret?  I set myself a goal to take two manageable/actionable steps per day towards reaching my book launch goals and I record them at the back of the notebook, working from the last page towards the front.  I simply record the action taken. This can be as small as reaching out to a venue or creating an order form for a school visit.  Just two small steps per day, recorded at the back of the notebook.  Each daily effort is entered in the left hand column, with the eventual result in the right hand column.  Keeping this list helps me remember what small steps I have taken and serves as a reminder for what I need to follow up on until I have a result.  

And that’s my notebook!  Anyone else have something similar?  I’d love to hear what works for you or if you plan on giving something like this a try. Happy Monday, all. 

Book Launch, faith, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday LITTLE EWE! (Plus FIVE FUN FACTS)

Baah! Baah! Yay! 

It’s on its way!  

Sweet LITTLE EWE

Releases today! 

Here’s the official description from Beaming Books:

Little Ewe would rather jump on logs and investigate spider webs than follow the shepherd when he calls. But what happens when she gets lost? How will she find her way home? Told in whimsical rhyme, this humorous counting book for our littlest ones is a delightful reminder that, like a loving parent, our Shepherd will find us and care for us, even when we wander from the path.

In Little Ewe: The Story of One Lost Sheep, award-winning author Laura Sassi and illustrator Tommy Doyle tell an endearing tale of a distracted sheep and her persistent shepherd, inspired by the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15.”

This book has an extra special place in my heart because I am so grateful for the Good Shepherd, Jesus, who cares for us unfailingly! I hope the book is read and enjoyed by little sheep and their flocks, er I mean, little ones and their families, for years to come!

Now, to celebrate its release, join me over on Glenys Nellist’s blog as I share five fun facts about the book. And in the extra fun category, she’s organized a three-book giveaway! So grab a cup of tea and head on over. I’ll make it easy for you. Here’s the link.

book events, Book Launch, Crafts

LITTLE EWE Book Launch Party Craft: MAKE YOUR OWN FLUFFY LITTLE EWE!

All my book launch parties up until now have been in-person, but this year is different! This year I’m having a virtual party, but one that I hope will feel just as fun as the in-person version. To give it that “in-person” feel, I’m keeping all the elements of an in-person party including a story time (of course!), games, a snack (virtual of course) and a craft!

I’ll explain about the snack as we get closer, but I wanted to share the craft today so you can be sure to have all the items on hand for the party. The materials are easy to gather and if you are local, it’ll be extra easy because I’m putting together party craft kits which you can pick up at The Town Book Store in Westfield, NJ starting later this week.

Now for the craft:

PARTY TIME CRAFT: MAKE YOUR OWN FLUFFY LITTLE EWE! 

Inspired by illustrator Tommy Doyle’s sweet rendering of Little Ewe with a red kerchief, our launch party craft will be to create our own Little Ewes. 

To make one, each child will need:

  • a cut out of lamb body (approx 2.5” x 1.5”) from card stock with three holes punched for legs and bow (as shown) 
  • two cotton balls
  • two six inch-long chenille sticks
  • a piece of yarn or ribbon (about 8 inches)
  • markers and glue. 

Here are the steps:

Begin by coloring in Little Ewe’s face on the cardboard body. Be sure to color in both sides.

Next, have each child thread the yarn through the hole at the top and tie into a bow. This will be Little Ewe’s “kerchief”.

Next, fold each 6” chenille stick in half and gently twist together to create sturdy legs, as shown.

Let each child thread a twisted strand through the front leg hole. Stop half way, then bend in half and twist (like you would a twist-tie) to secure in place.  Adjust the ends to form two short legs. Repeat for back leg hole.

Stretch and fluff the cotton balls. Then, using fingers or toothpicks, apply tacky glue to the front and back of the little lamb body and press. Let dry.

Baa-ahh! Your fluffy Little Ewe is finished and ready for a game of “Oh,where is Little Ewe?” (Rules for that can be found in the activity kit.

As a closing reminder, this is the adorable craft that I’ll be presenting at the Little Ewe Book Launch Party which will take place LIVE on my Author Facebook Page on Thursday, February 25th at 7pm eastern.  Here’s the event link for that or you can just “like” my Facebook author page and then you’ll be sure to get all the updates for this and other bookish things.  

Appearances, Book Launch, Picture Books

You’re Invited to a VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH PARTY for LITTLE EWE!

Click here to get to the event page on Facebook. If you mark yourself as “interested” or “going”, then you will receive a reminder on Facebook so you don’t miss it. It can also be viewed after the event.

Who’s ready for a party? I am and so is Little Ewe. That’s why we’re inviting “ewe” to join us for a FACEBOOK LIVE BOOK PARTY on Thursday, February 25th at 7pm Eastern to celebrate the release of LITTLE EWE: THE STORY OF ONE LOST SHEEP (Beaming Books, February 23, 2021). Enjoy a reading, games, a virtual snack (inspired by Little Ewe’s taste buds) and a simple book-inspired craft. To access the party, simply stop by my Facebook Author Page at 7pm Eastern on the 25th.

BUT, WAIT. THERE’S MORE!!! Since SIGNED copies are part of the fun, I’m delighted to share that my local independent books store, The Town Book Store in Westfield New Jersey, will have copies available for purchase and I will come in and sign any books that are ordered through them. Anne, the owner, is even offering a 10% off the book if you mention the “LITTLE EWE DISCOUNT”.

If this interests you, please call the store or stop in to order LITTLE EWE. Be sure to explain that you would like to have the book signed by the author and pass along the names you’d like included. They will take the order and do the transaction. I will then come in and sign the book or books.  Depending on where you live, you can either pick them up in-store or curbside at no extra charge, or have them mailed. There will be a shipping fee to cover the cost of mailing, but they can give you those details. 

You can reach The Town Book Store at (908) 233-3535. You can also email the owner, Anne, at anne@townbookstore.com. Either way, remember to ask for the “LITTLE EWE DISCOUNT”.

NOTE: If you are long-distance and prefer to order from your own local book shop, I’m also happy to make arrangements for a signed book plate to be sent to you. Just let me know.

HOLD ON… THERE’S EVEN MORE!!! The craft is all ready! We’ll be making our own fluffy Little Ewes and then I’ll explain how they can be used to play a game. It’s all going to be so, so cute and so, so fun. (Just saying.) You can find craft instructions here. Local people can also pick up craft kits at the Town Book Store beginning February 10th and while supplies last. Here’s picture of the craft.

author spotlight, Book Launch, Picture Books

Celebrating KARATE KID with… a Launch Party!

There’s an ADORABLE new picture book out just in time for the new school year called KARATE KID.  Written by Rosanne L. Kurstedt and illustrated by Mark Chambers, KARATE KID (Running Press Kids, 2019) is a kid-friendly introduction to the basics of karate starring a goat! Here’s the official blurb: “Follow Kid as he goes through the major stances and karate moves, teaching readers to channel focus and strength through each pose. Karate Kid‘s simple, measured, and meditative text is complemented by playful yet instructive illustrations by Mark Chambers to teach youngsters how to get involved in karate–and to have fun while doing so, too.” A great and accurate description… and I’m not the only one who agrees. Booklist recently praised the book this way: “Solid color backgrounds keep readers focused on the book’s entertaining but accurate content, and the smoothly written text incorporates the mental component of the sport. . . . [A] solid introduction to karate.”  

To celebrate its release, Hands of Life Martial Arts in Garwood, NJ hosted an amazing karate-themed launch event.  The two hour event included…

goat-themed crafts…

demos with Sensei Arthur and some of his students as well as an opportunity for guests to try their hands and breaking boards……

a reading…

lots of opportunity to chat with the author and pose at the photo booth…

and wait eagerly in line… to have our books signed!

I hope these pictures give you a sense of the charm and fun, not only of the event, but of the book itself.  I can’t wait to share my newly signed copy with all my teacher friends as well as our children’s librarian.  Happy reading, all!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR:

Rosanne L. Kurstedt, Ph.D. has been an educator for over 20 years –first as a classroom teacher in NYC and then as a staff developer. She lived in Hong Kong where she was part of the development and leadership team that opened Hong Kong Academy international School. After returning to the United States, she received her Doctorate from Fordham University in Language, Literacy, and Learning. She currently is an Adjunct Professor at Hunter College, writes for educational publishing companies, and is the Associate Director of READ East Harlem. 

As the Assistant Regional Advisor of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, she helps other authors and illustrators navigate the children’s book industry and hone their craft. 

She’s also the founder of The Author Experience, a 501(c)3 organization committed to the transformative power of sharing stories. In collaboration with students, families and educators, TAE provides sustainable literacy-based experiences that build a culture of literacy–one that elevates connections and delivers lasting impact.

Mark Chambers is an author and illustrator of children’s picture books and young fiction. He studied Illustration at the University of London. In 2017, he was shortlisted for the AOI World Illustration Awards, and in 2013 for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Since then Mark has illustrated a wealth of picture books and young fiction. In 2013, he won the Sheffield Children’s Picture Book Award and was also highly commended in the young fiction category. He also illustrated KARATE KID’s companion book, YOGA FROG.

Book Launch, Early Ed, Extension Activity, Guest Blog, Picture Books, Uncategorized

LOVE IS KIND Blog Tour: Stop ONE!

Please help yourself to one these these delectable virtual chocolates (made by Miss A.) and take a look at that sweet Little Owl, who’s the protagonist of my new picture book LOVE IS KIND, then head on over to bestselling author and blogger Becky Koptizke’s inspirational blog, as we kick off the LOVE IS KIND Blog Tour with Six Book-Themed Extension Activities!  (Hint: One involves sharing a yummy treat!)  And… there’s a giveaway too! Thank you for having me, Becky!

Book Launch, Picture Books

LOVE IS KIND Blog Tour!

 

It’s official! In celebration of the release of my newest picture book, LOVE IS KIND, we’re going on tour, BLOG tour that is! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be making stops at the following blogs. There will be interviews, giveaways and more.  Please stop by!

Love is KInd Blog Tour Schedule

Author Visit, book events, Picture Books

PLEASE COME: Ocean Grove Meet and Greet with Laura Sassi!

Ocean Grove 2018 signingIf you are vacationing along the New Jersey shore, or live there, please stop by this Saturday, August 11, from 1 – 3pm at the Comfort Zone in Ocean Grove, NJ where I’ll be chatting with customers and signing books. I’d LOVE to meet you. And don’t you agree that books make perfect stocking stuffers, birthday gifts, baby shower gifts etc? So, stock up and I’ll even sign them for you to make them extra special.  Hope to see you there. Thank you for having me, Comfort Zone!

Book Launch, Inspiration, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday LOVE IS KIND!

photo promo with text love is kind instagramIn her memoir A CIRCLE OF QUIET, Madeleine L’Engle writes, “Those of us who write are responsible for the effect of our books… Like it or not, we either add to the darkness… or we light a candle to see by.”  As a writer for children, I take those words to heart and now, today, with the release of my newest picture book, LOVE IS KIND, I hope Little Owl’s story will do just that.  Certainly showing love towards others is something that our fractured society needs, especially, right now, so my book birthday wish is that LOVE IS KIND will resonate in little hearts everywhere and inspire children of all ages (and grown ups too!) to show love and kindness towards others in ways big and small.

Happy birthday, LOVE IS KIND!  And Happy Reading, all!

Book Launch, Picture Books

SNEAK PEEK: Love Is Kind (my newest picture book with Zonderkidz!)

Ready for a sneak peek at what arrived on my porch this afternoon? It’s an advance copy of my upcoming picture book LOVE IS KIND, delightfully illustrated by French artist Lison Chaperon and published by Zonderkidz. I just love the world Lison has created to set the story.  Each spread is more adorable than the next!  Thank you, Lison, for your creative whimsy and thank you, Zonderkidz, for publishing! I can’t wait for this one to release on August 7, 2018.   Happy reading, all!