Saturday, 12 November 2016

Book Signing Event Preparations

Well, I am really busy preparing for our book signing.

I went to JK Rowlings`Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them` book release at my local Waterstones Book Store. My daughter had already pre ordered her copy and we had to book a place in order to make sure we got entry.
It felt really special as there was security at the front doors and we had to give them our names.
I could see a white owl through the window of the book store and someone dressed up in a wizarding costume. It all felt very exciting and intriguing. What else is there to muse upon i wondered? 
We were able to meet the owl before engaging in a quiz about Harry Potter, tasting some butter beer and tucking into sweet treats, jelly beans and slippery snakes. We took photos next to, you guessed platform 9 3/4. This created a fantastic atmosphere and with people in fancy dress; there was such an anticipatory buzz before we were called to make an orderly queue to get our book.

This all made me think. It was just a simple book release which was made into a magical experience; a memory not to be forgotten. Waterstones did well ! :) 

Well i am not JK, but i have written a children's book that i love and feel passionate about. No one knows me; i am a complete novice and i am promoting and marketing my own book along with members of my family as this after all is a family project and arose out of a need.

The background (Kickstarter, Publishers and exclusive chocolates)

Firstly i was told about an online funding platform called Kickstarter

I never thought that we would get any funding as i have never done anything like this before and i was told that i was unlikely to achieve the target as i didnt have a history with Kickstarter. Well that made me more determined. I worked extremely hard, and eventually it paid off as we got all the funding and actually exceeded the target amount.
I had to offer pledges to my `backers` in exchange for their funds. This is what is required on Kickstarter.
I thought that it would be amazing to have some exclusive dairy free Figgs chocolates as a gift for my backers alongside other Hollie and Figgs goodies. I  thought about making the chocs myself, but as it is not something i have ever done before i messaged a lovely lady at Cocoalibre who offered to make some delicious chocolate orange Figgsy chocolates for me.

So we now had the money (and some choccies :) ) and the book was ready to send to a publisher. I had no idea which publisher to contact. Do i need an agent? What do they do anyway? Its all new to me. I just phoned local publishers and eventually found the one i have gone with, who is local to me and has a good reputation, Matador apart of Troubador Publishing in Leicestershire.

I decided not to pay for marketing the book, mainly because of the cost, but also i wasn't too sure what we needed. Then i decided to start promoting and marketing the book/business myself. Using social media for business purposes is alien to me, but now its becoming an exciting challenge. 

My eldest daughter is at University studying Business and Marketing and so i thought that she may be able to help me. My interest grew and i wanted to learn all about business and marketing myself.

I am on an unfamiliar journey, but somehow one that i must embrace and do it justice. I am never a person to do half measures when i commit to something i believe in.

The Venue and Prize Draw

I approached my local Costa Coffee Shop as i had read that coffee shops are good venues for events like book signings. To my surprise and excitement they said they would host it. So that was amazing. I feel like i am running without touching the ground if you know what i mean; and on territory that`s unfamiliar.

The date has been set for 19th November 2016 at 11am till 3pm. 

One of the reasons i decided on four hours duration is because we are also running a prize draw.

As the book is based on my daughter Holly and our cat Tiggs. My daughters compassion for animal welfare has grown as a result of her bond with Tiggs. So it seemed appropriate to fund raise for animal charities. We chose a local animal charity and a world wide conservation charity. I thought that i could also utilize this platform to generate funds toward the next story in the Hollie and Figgs Series of books (another post waiting to be written) The funds will be equally split into three.

I have had to get legal advice about running a prize draw as there can be legal implications to fund raising.

I set to work on contacting companies to generate some prizes and have been overwhelmed at their generosity, from big corporations like the local Rugby Club (Leicester Tigers) and Football Club ( Leicester City Football Club) to a smaller independent gift shop like Mustard in Leicestershire.

I want to do it justice and likewise our book signing event.

Then i began to think about JK Rowling's  Fantastic Beasts event and wondered if i could make our little event as special. 

I have already had the main characters made into plush toys. Rather than just take them with me i set about making a small scene; a background for them to be in. Something colourful, relevant and visual to attract attention.

My daughter designed a banner which is around six feet tall. This is a great visual marketing tool. 

It demonstrates the story very well and also gives readers all the relevant social media links.

Now i have a scene with our plushies, the banner, and some cute book marks. We even have printed T shirts. What more can i do? 
I know i can make a fluffy sweetie tree that represents the magical kingdom. So i have now set to work on making this which will sit behind the scene. It is around 6 feet tall and made out of a branch from my garden and other decorations to make this a spectacular prop.
This photo is just a part of what our pink tree will look like.

I am on a roll now. I need more props.What about a cloud lollipop holder and a rainbow pen holder with swirly rainbow pens for the prize draw.

My imagination is running wild :) 

There is only one week left now. I am getting very excited. We still don`t have the books, so i hope they come in time. I cant wait to hold a book and see all our hard work come to fruition.

This week i will be finalizing all the props,sharing, advertising and promoting our book and the book signing event; utilising Instagram, Hollie and Figgs Face Book Page and Twitter.

After the book signing i have Christmas Fairs booked in already to do a book reading, fund raise and sell our cute book. I hope our readers will love the story and our characters as much as we do.

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