It's not easy planning a launch. I looked it up on the web, trying to find out what other folk had done so I could scrounge some ideas.
Most of what I found was good advice:
1. Plan it well - a bit like a wedding reception but without the angst over the seating plan. Having said that, consider whether you want it to be an invite only or drop-in event; both have their advantages and disadvantages.
2. Find a venue - the local bookshop? A swish bar in the centre of town? Or somewhere more appropriate to the theme of your book? (Fellow cloudies SP Moss and Vanessa Wester launched their respective novels at an aeroplane museum and on Gibraltar!)
3. Include refreshments - something a bit special that fits your book's theme or simple bowls of nibbley bits: it'll all get eaten or drunk.
4. Staff your launch - ensure you have enough willing helpers so it's not just yourself trying to juggle selling books and topping up the crisps with signing copies of the book and posing for selfies to prove it's all really happening.
5. Have books to sell at the launch - sounds obvious, but I have read some horror stories where books were late arriving or didn't turn up...
6. Make sure the press have the details well in advance.
I found lots of other useful tips - like having post-it notes for guests to write names on for dedications (no embarrassing mistakes), a good pen (or two) and having something free to give to your guests, like a bookmark, for example.
I've taken it all on board, and have come up with The Plan.
So far, I've booked the rather super upstairs room in Delice Deli, a lovely French inspired deli-cum-restaurant in town, who support many local companies, for my venue. (See, there's that local thing popping up again!) I've also designed the invites, prepared the press release, made a list of props, come up with a couple of activities for the kids to keep them occupied, bought material to make bunting and decided on the food. I've also devised a rather cunning way to decide which Granny Rainbow story to read...
I'm not going to tell you any details at the moment - I want it to be a surprise for the folk who come! But it won't be too hard to guess the general theme...and there WILL be a blog post afterwards to let you know what I did and how it turned out.
Oh - and the date? Saturday, 15th March. Can't wait.