Book Launches – What to do!



Holidays take effort and so do book launches. Choosing the venue and booking a date, planning and preparation, sending out news to family and friends and remembering. It all forms part of an exciting build up, but it can prove over whelming if not stressful. The quest for a book launch can leave you exhausted by the time it arrives and even too drained to properly enjoy it.

But it doesn’t have to leave you drained.

Recently, Kingdom of Room’s book launch took place in a cosy setting at Little Book Nook in Palmwoods with owner Kay Nixon agreeing 2 months in advance to my request of having a face to face celebration.

photograph by Kim Schoenberger


As authors, Jenny Catalano and I would love to share with you some of our tips and reflections in preparing and managing a positive book launch. Here are Jenny’s thoughts first.

What we worked on.


Recording poems at the Sunshine Castle – reciting, dress ups, photos

Dress up with Carmella and Regina

Bli Bli Castle, Qld

Photo shoot at the Sunshine Castle – author photos, photos for competition, recording competition video.

Weekly Blog 6 weeks? (Creative Grandma) Local collectors, book inspiration, worlds to visit etc.

Costume prep – Op shops, marketplace, borrowing from friends

FB posts weekly/ daily lead up

Book Launch flyers – distributing around town, school, friends etc

Bookmarks, stickers – Vistaprint

variety of stickers

Minna proudly displays her jewelled crown

I hope these ideas give you insight into what we did.


For my part, I secured the date and time, organised a marquee for the rain, gathered many craft supplies for the making of crowns and shields ( gem stickers, cardboard, glitter foam, coloured papers, glue, scissors etc) photo copied sheets, packed a bright tablecloth, book stand and props. This is the fun part in browsing the shops to find little treasures to use as objects to promote your book. (op shop castle toy $3, rocking horse $6, plastic shield $2, fireman’s hat $2, figurines of princess and knights $10) and so on.

My tips are:


1   Pack the car the night before. Include a water bottle.

2   Set up the space/ tables carefully and with photographic appeal.

3   Issue books for sale to shop owner and signed.

4   Connect to your audience, enjoy opportunities to talk to and engage with face/ gestures and voice.

5   Use children’s names if possible. Have 2 prompt questions written down to ask the audience yourself.

6   Leave time for questions/ watch time.

7   Don’t be put off by weather. Track your thoughts. Reflect.

Buy 2 good pens for book signing. Ensure you contact people if you promise this.


crown making table

book signing

Personal thoughts…

I can be a highly organised person at times and research everything before taking on new projects. Being my first book launch and publication, I knew (mostly) what I was in for – so being a part of the preparations was important.

All distractions were put aside i.e. my toddler stayed at home and her elder children helped with the morning’s proceedings. 

“For anyone new to writing or pursuing publication – writing is the easy part! Marketing is a massive and continuous part of being an author, it can be hard work but rewarding!

The launch went smoothly and 1.5 hours felt quick, it was a hive of interactions between authors, children and parents in attendance. 

We had amazing support from friends, family, community and fellow writers”.  Jenny Catalano.

 Marg’s Thoughts

“For me, dressing up in costume was quite different. I wore comfortable sneakers. I arrived very early to set up with my husband helping me.

Once things were in place, I relaxed more knowing that children would come and the fun would start. Be spontaneous if newcomers hover or are curious, and invite them to stay. Be excited. Smile. Show enthusiasm. Clean up well afterwards, with a thank you gift to the owner.”      Marg


Two other authors who recently celebrated their own book launches offer their tips.

Dhana Fox and Inda Ahmad Zahri both enjoyed the interactions and engagement that their new picture books gave to their audiences. For Dhana, who published How To Make A Friend in 6 Easy Steps (Scholastic), she recommends:

Dhana signing her picture book

1   Make sure your selected launch date does not clash with another event.

2   Prepare an ice breaker.

3   Try to make it an interactive reading with props and questions for the kids.

4   A craft activity is usually a big hit.

Dhana provided prizes and incentives for the children to participate. She was supported by family and fellow writers. And her own girls were happy to see their Mum in a new light.


Likewise, Inda Ahmad Zahri, allowed me an insight into her planning of her recent book launch.

It was very exciting planning my first launch for Salih. I asked around for advice, and was very happy when I was directed to Scrumptious Reads bookstore as a venue. I met the owner, Julie, who helped me decide on a date and contacted the publisher to stock my books. I knew that I wanted Isobelle Carmody to launch my book – Salih is a story of a refugee journey, and I have long admired Isobelle not only for her writing, but for her refugee activism – and was delighted when she agreed!

I also invited a Rachel Carter, a representative from refugee aid organisation You Belong Australia, who gave an informative and inspiring talk about how important it is that we as a community welcome and empower refugees. I could not have asked for a more inspiring duo to be a part of this launch!

Illustrated by Ann Ryan

I was so happy to celebrate the launch with my writing friends, and in moments like these, I feel honoured to be part of such a beautiful kidlit community. And as another picture book author said to me, be sure to pencil in a nap afterwards, because as exhilarating as it was, it was also completely exhausting!

Well, we’ve all had our naps and post recovery reflections. We hope these new books find the perfect homes and may book launches continue to thrive and provide fun and meaning.

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1 Comment

March 31, 2021 at 10:01 am

I use to dream of publishing my stories. I’m so glad you have been so successful. The time and effort you have put into promotion has certainly paid off.

M.J. Gibbs
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