Launching a Book in a Global Pandemic

My book launch was all beautifully planned last year. I had arranged with the Ness Book Festival to launch my debut book with them in October 2020. It was absolutely perfect because I was going to be having a baby in March 2020 so I would have a bit of time between the book being finalised and going to print and then the launch.

Oh my how wrong I was! By January I was aware that there was a bug spreading rapidly in China. By February I was panicking as I watched Italy go into Lockdown and by March I had my baby girl and we were in Lockdown ourselves. COVID 19 had officially arrived, bringing with it cancellations, confusion and chaos. It was no surprise that Ness Book Fest decided to cancel their events for 2020 and I started to realise that I was going to have to come up with some sort of Plan B for my book launch.

“Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Albert Einstein

Interestingly ‘Plan B’ became more a ‘challenge’ for me, rather than a problem. It seemed to scream at me,

“Well, you can do something or nothing?!?”

I am fortunate that my husband and I enjoy this sort of thinking. We love nothing more than finding a way to make something work that really shouldn’t. (One day I’ll tell you all about our previous endeavours!)

So this was ‘The challenge’.

How do you launch a book when bookshops are closed, events are cancelled and no one has ever heard of you or your book. Like EVER.

A launch is all about finding a way to let people know you have a book out. Otherwise, how will they know to buy your book*?? *genuine, not daft question. Yes it’s great to have a book published – but it needs to sell.

A digital launch was the obvious choice but having spent 4 months at home with my kids I knew that this would be challenging. I’d watched my girls struggle to engage with ZOOM calls and the only story they really seemed to engage with online was CBeebies Bedtime Storytime (maybe because they are just too tired to do anything else other than watch?). A digital launch was still certainly an option but not one that excited me. I wanted to engage with kids and connect with them directly not digitally. I wanted the excitement, the official launch and all the bits!! So how could I make this happen? It was time to take it outdoors and find location for launch…

I have learned a lot about how to market my book on this journey and understanding what the book is about is actually more important than I appreciated and key to finding a solution to ‘The Challenge’. ‘The Girl who Stole the Stars’ is about stars. So where can we go that would lend itself to this? An observatory of course!

What followed was a series of Googling, searching and emailing to find a local observatory that could potentially host an outdoor launch, safely given current Corona Crisis, and luckily I found one! Tucked away quietly in a dark, starry location this tiny observatory was the perfect alternative setting and my Plan B.

So what’s my advice when launching a book in a pandemic?

  1. You don’t have to do status quo.
  2. Find a theme running through your book that presents an alternative option.
  3. Just because your original plan isn’t going to work doesn’t mean that a new one won’t either.

Unfortunately my launch night is fully booked but I am hoping to do some other outdoor story telling sessions so just keep an eye on my web page for more details or sign up below to be on my mailing list to be the first to know.

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As always, if you have any questions just ask or come and find me on my social media pages.

Until next time.

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