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Launching 'Girl Cop in Trouble'

Published: 18 Feb 2015  - updated: 19 Mar 2015

Author Sandy Osborne compares her two book launches...

I spent almost the whole evening of my first launch sitting at a table signing books. I’m not complaining - I was extremely flattered by the queue of people who patiently waited to have their books signed and I sold over 100 books on the night, but I wasn’t able to mingle and the evening passed in a bit of a blur.

So, this time I prepared a stock of pre-signed books which I left clearly marked by the till and invited personal dedications prior to the event in an attempt to reduce the queue. I didn’t want to deter those who wanted their books signed in person on the night so I also had a pile of unsigned books next to the till too and an obvious 'signing table’ was set up adjacent to the counter. The plan worked and as a result I enjoyed the evening far more than my first launch. I was able to 'work’ the first floor of Waterstones where the event was held, mingling amongst my 150+ guests and only went to the table when people requested I sign their books.

Pre-launch prep

In the months running up to the launch, I kept a lookout for any wine deals and managed to get a respectable wine at a very reasonable price. This is one of the biggest outlays for a launch so worth shopping around for.

I had kept my 'to do’ list from last time and wrote out a weekly planner for the final two weeks to plot when I needed to order my helium balloons/place an order for the wine glasses hire etc.

I recruited 6 good friends to assist on the night - to 'run the bar,’ chaperone the singer and graphologist and sell the raffle tickets. All were involved as helpers or guests last time and willingly volunteered their time.

I also wanted to make this launch different in some way to the first as many of the guests would have supported me at that first launch, so I hired a professional graphologist who did a fantastic job (I had some great feedback) who provided free hand writing analysis throughout the event. She really did go down a storm. I invited a young singer song-writer to provide some music - this was background music and not a performance and was perfectly balanced.

Finally I gathered some of the 'props’ that are included in the story - most of which were donated by local businesses. Some of these were serious prizes including two meals for two at local pubs that my heroine enjoyed in the story - and they also included a haggis, a toy hamster in a ball and an Easter egg! I raffled these for my charities and together with bar donations raised £175.

The first launch seemed to end quite abruptly without being able to speak properly to lots of my guests - plus I did my best to do the 'get out’ on the evening. This time I arranged with Waterstones to leave everything in their storeroom and announced in my (short) speech that the party was continuing at a nearby pub. It did and I went back to Waterstones the following day to do the 'get out.’

Though I’m sure JK Rowling doesn’t have to wheel her hired wine glasses back to Waitrose in a shopping trolley after her launches.....!

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