14 Apr

Launch, Crunch, Oh My! Introducing Sarah’s Secret to the World

Airplane banner Sarah's Secret

A Time to Celebrate

The room was bubbling with conversation, laughter and congratulations. The book cover was fabulous and everyone loved the title. I felt energized and pleased. When I read suspenseful excerpts from the story, the audience wanted to know what happens next. Many of my guests engaged me with questions about the story and my journey as an author. I had finally held my very first book launch event, in January 2017.

Despite several guest cancellations due to a winter rain storm of epic proportions, I had an overflow crowd. I autographed and sold many books which was gratifying. Thus, I looked forward to the second launch party in February. But that was not to be. On the last day of January, I tripped and fell, breaking my arm near my wrist.

 A Time to Step Back

Since I needed to have surgery on my arm, I was forced to cancel a week’s vacation in Hawaii and the second book launch party. I solicited help to complete the publication on Amazon Kindle and Ingram Spark; friends came to visit and brought me meals. I had to learn to let go and let others take care of my needs. Once I accepted this slight twist of fate, I felt deep gratitude for the supportive community that surrounded me.

Journey of Independent Publishing

I’ve experienced quite a journey of research, learning how to write historical fiction, writing many drafts and deciding how to publish. Although this was my first novel, writing and editing were familiar from my prior work in non-fiction. But I had no idea what was in store when I decided to self-publish. I joined the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) and learned a lot from the generous and experienced members. Publishing tasks and promotion tasks piled up on my to-do list. Even so I didn’t know about the promotional advantage of scheduling the “Cover Reveal.” I missed understanding about fixing the launch date far enough in advance to have time to send out advance reader copies for review and to set up a pre-order process.

Who’s Coming to the Party?Plan A B C

As I planned the book launch, I was thrilled to have a friend offer a venue for a second launch party. So initially, I sent out invitations via an online event management program for guests to choose one of two dates. That turned out to be complicated and some people overlooked the need for an RSVP to get the venue address resulting in much confusion and frantic emails.

This reminded me that coordinating any sizable event, with RSVPs, is still a big undertaking despite the software and apps that supposedly “simplify” the process. I learned that many people still do not respond to or are a bit baffled by e-invite systems. I had to keep updating my “e-list” manually and respond to emails sent to me directly. I felt anxiety because my invitees were good friends, colleagues and family members. What if I inadvertently had left someone out or forgotten to follow up?

Lessons Learned

Still, despite the challenges and the weather, the first launch party was a great success. Now as we begin to re-schedule the second book party, I look back on what I learned about launching my book:Magazine with Sarah's Secret

  • Most importantly, given my goals for the book, I don’t need to rush to meet anyone else’s expectations or schedules. Stressful deadlines are not worth it. I have enjoyed my slower pace.
  • It is important to plan extra time for key first time tasks that are likely to take longer than expected.
  • There are many ways to promote and launch a self-published book; and all of them don’t necessarily fit for my book.
  • Simplifying the invitation process makes it easier on both the guests and the host.
  • Appreciate colleagues and friends who provide support and laughter for the milestones.


  • I am inspired by your lessons learned, we can all learn from them as they apply to life in general. Did I mention…I really enjoyed the book, I feel like I know Sarah very well!!

    • Karen,
      Thank you so much for your posting..glad the lessons learned have application to others as well. So you are well acquainted with Sarah…would love it if you could share your thoughts in an Amazon review.

  • What wonderful suggestions! As an independent publish-
    ed writer myself your article is very helpful to me. I
    loved reading your book
    and was able to see the many changes you made to
    it. Sam is a more fully realized character and it’s possible
    to see how he and Sarah were drawn to each other.

    • Jan,
      Yes, as self-published authors we can all share our experiences and learning. I certainly learned from many others especially at BAIPA. I am also pleased that you noticed the changes I made in the book from earlier drafts. Glad you loved it!

  • Hi Bev,
    I love following your journey to self-publishing.

    When I was ‘dreaming’ four years ago of what my next career would be, I heard myself say “…I want to do something that nearly scares me to death, and I will learn something new every day…(that something) will require me to lean into my uncomfortableness, will develop my under developed creative side, and it won’t require me to get another college degree.”

    Out of that came my first children’s book and then my publishing company and I’m still scared to death.

    So much of what you have shared in this post is spot on.

    I’ve also found that IBPA is an amazing organization and attending their conference each year has been my worth its weight in gold.

    Good luck with your second launch.

    • Thanks, Skeeter. Good for you to be scared and take risks. It certainly brings on growth, if we are willing and open. I have grown a lot in my process of writing and publishing, and I’m sure there is more to come. I am a member of IBPA, too. And I am actively involved with the local organization here in the Bay Area, BAIPA.

      Take care and enjoy your future adventures.

So, what do you think?

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