I Was A Book Launch Virgin.
After self-publishing nine books, I decided to go all out with my tenth! Self-publishing is quite similar to an at-home birth! You are on your own and all alone!
The process is laborious and the labor is arduous!!! But, oh when you hold that baby in your hands for the first time…turn the pages…run your hand down the smooth glossiness of the cover…check the ISBN for all its digits – you breathe deep. You no longer remember the pain or the waiting or the sweating or the fill-in-the-blank! Your baby has been born and all is well.
My launch team was in place and awaiting their review package to arrive in the mailbox. This, my very first launch team, consisted of twenty-five, known-to-me bloggers. I hand-picked them and I was confident in my selection.
This baby, lovingly referred to as #52commands, is a devotional book for parents, guardians, and teachers to use with kids and it includes coloring pages! I wanted my team packages to be whimsical and fun.
Here’s what I planned:
- One 8-1/2 x 11 book
- One pack of colored pencils
- One small pencil sharpener
- Two packs of Kool-aid™
- A labeled baggie with 4 teabags enclosed
- A bookmark card
- A writers business card
I purchased beautiful 9×12 light turquoise envelopes from Amazon. Turquoise is the pop color on the book’s cover! I was very excited when they arrived. I was very despondent five minutes after I opened the carton from Amazon. All the launch contents wouldn’t fit.
Back to Amazon. I found ugly blue, plastic envelopes that I knew would hold everything. The carton arrived and I began loading the team packs. Everything fit and I even utilized the prettier envelopes by putting all the fun stuff in them. I sealed the ugly blue’s and began hand-addressing with a permanent marker. I placed all the ugly blue’s in a wicker basket and took off to our local post office. My husband stood on the deck of his workshop and yelled down, ” Way to go, Sus’, I’m proud of you!”
We live in a rural area and Deb, our postmaster, saw me come in loaded with envelopes – she gave me a big smile. “Where’s my book?” Was her first question! Of course, I had one for her. I handed her an envelope. She laid it on the scale. She looked up and said, “Let me do that again.”
I sensed trouble brewing. On second weigh-in she says, “Did you weigh these at home?” Why of course not, I said. “Each one is going to cost you over $8.00 to mail. It would be cheaper to send them Priority Mail flat rate.” Well, of course it would.
I picked up my boxes, grabbed some extra Priority Mail mailers and headed home. My husband came right out of the workshop and saw the boxes and said, “What happened?” Don’t ask, I answered, I’ll tell you later.
Up to my office and I began the task of inputting 25 addresses in the USPS mail site and printing and attaching all the labels to the NEW envelopes. The ugly blue’s slipped right in. I sealed and got them ready for mail pickup the next day. Finally, the review packs were on the way to the team.
So, is there a moral to this story? A lesson to be learned for future book launches? For you, a potential launcher?
Oh yes, and I offer the following:
- Plan ahead. But not so far ahead that it’s in vain!
- Get your books in.
- Gather your “extra’s”.
- Take a sample packet to your post office and have the clerk weigh it and make envelope and mail suggestions. USE THE FREE POSTAL ENVELOPES, if possible.
- If necessary, assess the contents. Does that one item put it over the cheaper mail rate? Is that one item really important? You be the judge of that.
My launch packets cost me more than I had figured BUT, God is so clever and kind – that very same day? A royalty deposit, from Amazon, landed in my bank account covering the exact amount of the mail-out! Isn’t that amazing?
My tenth baby has launched and the team did exceedingly, abundantly more than I could have asked or imagined! I am pleased and #52commands continues to bless me each and every day!
Susan Chamberlain Shipe
Grab your copy of Susan’s awesome family-style devotional right here, “52 Commands of Jesus for Children.” Drop her a note below. Did any of these tips resonate with you? They sure did for me, especially about running through a practice course with the mailers! How wise… – ♥ Meg
Connect with Susan
I am an encourager with a heart for women. My devotion-journal, A Pruned Branch, was self-published in 2004 and is a compilation of 365 devotions for women in all walks of life. APB is full of practical principles for all, from the baby Christian to the mature believer. The Lord delivered a message of Hope deep within my soul in 2002. Jesus, the Hope-giver met me in my hour of need and my heart overflowed with hope – the theme of my life since that time has been HOPE! I am the mother of three adult children, grandmother (a/k/a Mimzy) to 20-year old Hannah and 14-year old Simon, and I am the wife of one man and together we share our love with one awesome dog, Sam! My husband, Lowell, and I attend Community Church in Mountain City, Tennessee. I enjoy writing, reading, organic gardening, traveling, and spending time with our family. I love the Lord with every fiber of my being and my life’s purpose is: That I may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10 (NKJV) My life vision is: I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth. 3 John 4 – My heart overflows with a good theme…my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalms 45:1 (NASB)