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IWSG: I launched two books at once! (And survived!)

Thanks to our wonderful leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for trusting me to be a co-host again. What was he thinking?

With great power comes great responsibility, so before I go forth and comment on a gazillion blogs, I just ask one small favour from you. You see, my cover artist, Kelly Ann Martin of kamdesign, is amazing. She works so hard, and the covers she’s made for my books are works of art. I would love to see her get the recognition she deserves, so I entered one of the covers in a “Cover of the Month” contest. Would you please vote for City of Ghosts, if you haven’t already. Everyone who does has a chance to win both ebooks in the GhostWriters series for free! (The trick is you need to create an account before you vote if you don’t sign up with Facebook.) Thank you so much!

Now, on to the meat of this post. Yes, I was crazy enough to launch two books at once. The official launch party for City of Ghosts and The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts was held at McNally Robinson Booksellers, this absolutely gorgeous bookstore in my home city of Winnipeg, on June 2nd.

Response to the Facebook event was strong, much stronger than expected. The folks at McNally, who were amazingly supportive and helpful, hoped for about thirty people. At last count, I had close to double that say they were coming and more than that say they were interested. Still, when the event was about to begin and there were still only a few people milling about, I got a little nervous. What if no one showed up? What if it had all been for nothing? Thankfully, just before John Toews of McNally introduced me, people showed. And wow, did they show! There’s no firm count on how many people were there, but a friend estimated between seventy and ninety, and I sold about as many books. There were people standing at the back, and the book-signing line went on forever! To say it was overwhelming would be a huge understatement. It was a wonderful, magical night, and I got to meet and reconnect with so many fantastic people, which is truly the best part of this writing gig.

Book launch of City of Ghosts and The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts

Part of the book launch crowd. There were people standing in the back! Photo by Robert Barrow.

Hard to believe now, but I never planned on doing an in-person launch event. I thought it might be too ostentatious, or too much to ask my loved ones to show up for me and this book thing again (some of them have shown up a lot), but my publicists talked me into it, and I’m so glad they did. I realize now that book launches of this kind, held in one’s hometown, aren’t just about the author. They’re also about all the friends and family who have bought the books, written reviews, wiped the tears, and talked the writer off the ledge countless times. I really hope that everyone there knew how grateful I was for their support and encouragement, both at the launch and beyond.

All smiles at the book launch for City of Ghosts and The Girl Who Talks to Ghosts

All smiles while signing books. Just a little happy! Photo by Robert Barrow.

We may write our books in isolation, but thank god we can launch them with our friends. Thank you to everyone who showed up for me on June 2nd, to my dear friend Dean Cooper for moderating the book talk with me, and for all of you who’ve supported me virtually–it means a lot. It’s no accident both of these books thank the Insecure Writers Support Group in the acknowledgements.

Cheers to my awesome co-hosts this month: Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner!

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.

88 Comments

  1. Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    Congratulations on your book launch being a success 🙂 The covers are gorgeous.

    Reply
  2. Lynn La Vita

    Job well done! Nice of you to direct people to vote for your book cover design. I’m sure your local book store appreciated hosting your book launch, too.

    We live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and book stores are rare, libraries are not free, and the stores do not sell birthday cards.

    Continued success with your book tours!

    Reply
  3. Vidya Sury

    So wonderful! It is lovely to see your picture. ❤ Congratulations on the launch! It is a great feeling to even attend a book launch; I can only imagine what it feels like to hold the book and interact with readers. Hugs!
    I attended a book launch last Sunday and will be going to one again, this coming Sunday 🙂
    Voted for the cover! Good luck to Kelly!

    Reply
  4. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor

    Huge, huge congrats on our release of not one, but two books! I’ve enjoyed following along with your launch here and on FB. It all seems to be going great! Off to vote 🙂

    Reply
  5. Crystal Collier

    What an awesome experience! I’m with you on the live event front. Very hesitant. Actually, part of that hesitation is the fact that I’m on the other side of the country from my family, who would definitely turn out to support me…if they could afford the plane tickets. As it is, I’d have to rely completely on friends and readers. One day, eh?

    Huge congrats on a successful event! I love it.

    Reply
  6. Denise Hammond

    I’m impressed. Congratulations! That’s amazing news.

    Reply
  7. Michelle Wallace

    “…talked the writer off the ledge countless times…” LOL
    I saw the launch pics on Facebook.
    Congrats once again!

    Reply
  8. Chrys Fey

    I’d be afraid not even 10 people would be there. I don’t think people are as supportive where I live.

    Had to do a lot before I could vote, but I did. 🙂

    Reply
  9. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    Awesome you had such a great turnout! I’m not surprised. Well done. And thanks for co-hosting today. Now, go visit those gazillion blogs.

    Reply
  10. CD Gallant-King

    Congratulations! What an awesome success! I hope the books continue to rock the world. 🙂

    I voted for your cover. I even signed up for an account to do so!

    IWSG June

    Reply
  11. Anna

    You told me once you fell in love with Winnipeg. Apparently it fell in love with you as well. I’m glad it was such a success, and it’s just the beginning. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Reply
  12. Jen

    Congratulations on BOTH your book releases! And I’m so glad you had such a great turn out. I just experienced my first book signing last month and it was so delightful to be surrounded by supportive friends and family. Happy IWSG day and thanks for co-hosting! – Jen

    Reply
  13. Pat Garcia

    Congratulations!!! That was indeed a huge success. Hoping your books take on wings and fly.
    Thank you also for co-hosting this month.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia
    Everything Must Change

    Reply
  14. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    So incredibly happy for you!!! The book table is wonderful and the crowd really looks involved and interested in your talk, as they should. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Christine Rains

    Congratulations! How wonderful it came together so well. And I do love your covers!

    Reply
  16. Megan Morgan

    That’s wonderful! Congratulations! It looks like you had a lot of fun with it.

    Reply
  17. L. Diane Wolfe

    What an amazing turnout. I had a launch party for my first book and it was full of good food and supportive friends.

    Reply
  18. Mary Aalgaard

    That is so fantastic. You are an inspiration!! And, you’re right. It’s not just about the author, it’s about the community that they author has built.

    Reply
  19. Tami Von Zalez

    How excellent is that! Congratulations on a successful two book launch ~

    Reply
  20. C. Lee McKenzie

    Book signings are the reward for all those lonely hours you’ve spent creating the stories. How great that yours was such a success. It’s hard to get people out for book events. And congrats on being an admin this month!

    Reply
  21. Tamara Narayan

    Congrats on the successful book launch! The covers are beautiful and the stories themselves are excellent. I read them on my vacation. Huzzahs and keep writing! I love this series.

    Reply
  22. Jacqui

    Hearty congrats on your great event. You give me courage should I ever be brave enough to try it. It looks like everyone was excited about it.

    Reply
  23. Samantha Bryant

    Wow! Two at one seems . . .crazy 🙂 And I mean that as a compliment. So glad it went well for you! @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    Reply
  24. Meka James

    Congrats on your successful double launch. I would have those same worries about if people would show up or not, but I think I’d have a bigger worry of what to say or do when they did.

    Reply
  25. Stephanie Scott

    Oh my gosh! I’m so happy for you and your releases and the wonderful launch party! Wow! Now I’m off to vote for your book and follow you on Facebook!

    Reply
  26. Victoria Marie Lees

    This is wonderful! More power to you. I am truly happy for you. You deserve this, my dear. All the luck with your new releases.

    Reply
  27. S.E. White

    Congratulations on a successful launch! IWSG has been a huge support to me as well. It’s awesome to find such a supportive community.

    Reply
  28. Michelle Athy

    Congrats on the book launch! That crowd looks engaged and very full.

    Reply
  29. Ryan Carty

    Hooray for successful book launches! You deserve all the success and I’m not just saying that because I really like you. You work hard, you put yourself in strange and difficult (and rewarding) places, you write well, etc. I love the picture with your genuine happy smile.

    Reply
  30. Lee Lowery

    Congrats on both new releases and an awesome book launch. You cover art is amazing. You have a wonderful gift in your local community support. Thanks for co-hosting today’s great on-line community support group. We all need this.

    Reply
  31. Louise (Fundy Blue)

    Kelly Ann Martin’s cover is striking, but so is the happy smile on your face during your book signing! All and all an uplifting post to those of us who don’t have a published book yet!

    Reply
  32. Elsie

    Congratulations on such an amazing success! That turn out was awesome and your smile is priceless. Good for you! Thanks for co-hosting today.

    Elsie

    Reply
  33. Karen Lynn

    It sounds amazing! And terrifying. Way to go!

    Reply
  34. joylene

    What a small world. I’m from Portage! I love Winnipeg. We have something in common. I’m launching an ebook and an audiobook at the same time. Fun, eh? Congratulations. So happy for you. You take a lovely photo!

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks Joylene! What a small world. Thanks for reaching out, and congrats with your double launch! I hope it went well.

      Reply
  35. Olga Godim

    You book launch sounds great. Congrats! I also think that the cover is amazing. You should submit it to the Book Designer’s book cover award: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/category/cover-design/
    He runs it once a month, every month, on his blog, and the blog has thousands of subscribers. Even if your cover doesn’t win, it’s a great exposure for the artist.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Olga! I entered it right away. Fingers crossed. I love that it’s not a popularity contest.

      Reply
  36. Shannon Lawrence

    That’s an awesome showing! Congratulations on a successful double release. I admit, I get terribly nervous when I think about an in-person book launch. An empty room would break my heart.

    Reply
    • JH

      Me too, Shannon. I was so concerned when it was five to and only about ten people were there! I would have made the best of it, though. What else can you do?

      Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Barbara! I can’t think of how it could have gone better. I was elated.

      Reply
  37. Adrienne Reiter

    Wow! Congrats! You’re an inspiration. Great photographs.

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks so much, Adrienne! What a wonderful thing to say.

      Reply
  38. Julie Flanders

    Wow, how wonderful!! Congratulations on such an amazing turnout. It made me smile from ear to ear just to read about it. I can just imagine how excited and happy you were.
    And I’m glad you co-hosted so I learned about these books – they sound great to me and I’ll be checking them out. Awesome covers too!
    You asked about the running training I’ve been doing on my blog – it’s http://personalrunningtrainer.com/. I definitely recommend it!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Julie, and thanks for sharing the link! I’m glad to hear my post made you smile.

      Reply
  39. Lynda R Young

    Congrats on a hugely successful book launch. That must’ve been such an amazing experience.

    Reply
    • JH

      It really was, Lynda. There were several times during the evening when I was moved beyond words. Thanks for the congrats. 🙂

      Reply
  40. Toi Thomas

    Thanks for co-hosting this month and for visiting my blog. Congratulations on the dual releases. I’m very excited about these. Good luck on the cover contest too.

    I’ve released several books, but I’ve only done one live book launch. It went really well, though it was mostly just family (who didn’t and still haven’t read my book); still, it was fun. I find that I sell better to complete strangers. My online launches have all gone really well. Don’t know if I’ll ever do another live launch.

    Reply
    • JH

      Glad you found something that worked for you, Toi. I didn’t think I’d do a live launch, either. I was floored by how well it went.

      Thanks so much for voting for City of Ghosts. I can always count on you. xo

      Reply
  41. Random Musings

    Brilliant that you got such a good turn out. Really pleased for you 🙂
    Debbie

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Debbie! And thanks for all your support and encouragement. You’re so awesome!

      Reply
  42. Birgit

    This is great and you seemed to have a large amount of people interested in your books and I hope you sold a lot. I knew it was a good day because that was my birthday:) congrats to you!

    Reply
    • JH

      Ah, that explains it! Thanks, Birgit, for always bringing me luck.

      Reply
  43. Susan Gourley

    Congrats on the super book launch. Sounds like a great success.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Susan. I have nothing to compare it to, but it was to me!

      Reply
  44. Diane Burton

    Congrats on the launch. You look so happy! Best wishes and thanks for co-hosting this month.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Diane! I really was. It was a fantastic day.

      Reply
  45. Nancy Gideon

    Well done! Congrats on packing the house and thanks for co-hosting. My first two books came out in the same month (under two difference pen names!) so I know how stressful and fun that can be. Enjoy . . . and LOVE your covers!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Nancy! My cover artist did a great job.

      Congrats on your double release. I actually ended up thinking it was a great idea. I’d recommend it to other writers in a heartbeat.

      Reply
  46. Angela Wooldridge

    Awesome! Both books look fantastic & are now on my to read list. I’ve voted too, so good luck 🙂

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks so much, Angela. You’re awesome! I hope you enjoy the books. Thanks so much for voting. xo

      Reply
  47. ChemistKen

    Yes, that is a nice cover. Congratulations on surviving the dual book launch. I can’t imagine how stressful that must have been. And thanks for cohosting this month’s IWSG blog post.

    Reply
    • JH

      I was really lucky, Ken. My publicists and the bookstore staff did most of the heavy lifting. All I had to do was spread the word, show up, read for a bit, have a chat about the books, and then sign for over an hour. Give a lot of hugs. Smile for photos. Imagine having a party where you didn’t have to clean the house, before or after. It was pretty awesome!

      Reply
  48. Deb R.H.

    That cover is awesome. Congratulations on getting through a dual book launch! :O You’re a hero. hehe Thanks for co-hosting!

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, you’re very welcome, Deb. Thanks for the kind words and welcome to my blog! Come back any time.

      Reply
  49. Liesbet

    What a wonderful, wonderful post to read! Cheers to your success! I’m still smiling after reading about your launch event. It sounds like the cherry on top after so much work and, so satisfying to see the crowd and the interest. That photo of you is gorgeous as well. And, so is the cover. Off to go vote for your cover artist now. This whole campaign seems to be a major success. Congratulations! And, thanks for co-hosting.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Liesbet! The only downside is that my international friends couldn’t be there. How awesome would that have been?

      Thanks for voting! You ROCK.

      Reply
  50. Natalie Aguirre

    Congrats on your launch of two books. So great that you had such a great response to your book signing event.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Natalie! And welcome to my blog. Hope to see you back here again.

      Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Arlee!

      Reply
  51. Heather M. Gardner

    Congratulations! So proud of you for making it all happen! I know what I’m reading this summer! Best of luck!

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks Heather! I’d love to hear what you think. I really appreciate your support and encouragement. You’re so kind!

      Reply
  52. Patsy

    Wow! A double book launch. Looks as though it was a big success.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Patsy! I think it was. I don’t have much to compare it to, but I can’t think of any way it could have been better from my perspective. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  53. Misha

    Oh wow that’s an amazing turn-out! I’m so happy for you. ^_^

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Misha! It was a blast. Humbling and gratifying at the same time.

      Reply
  54. Rebecca Douglass

    Beautiful covers! And what an event. Congratulations to you for such a successful start to the books.

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! And thanks on behalf of Kelly Martin, the wonderfully talented cover artist.

      Reply
  55. dolorah

    Wow; how awesome JH. Every aspiring author’s dream. Mine, anyway. And the covers are truly awesome.

    Reply
    • JH

      Aw, thanks so much, Dolorah. I’m really glad I did it!

      Reply
  56. Diane Weidenbenner

    Congratulations on the book launch! Two is twice as exciting as one. Your book covers are very creative, also!

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks so much, Diane! And welcome to my blog. Can’t take much credit for the book covers. My designer is amazing!

      Reply
  57. Loni Townsend

    Woot! That is so awesome! I love seeing the rows of people at your launch, and you look so happy and beautiful.

    When I am something bigger than a phone, I’ll head over and vote. And I agree, those covers are worth voting for!

    I’m stoked to see your event was a success. Someday, I hope to try this. 🙂

    P.S. reminders only work if one has one’s phone around to see said reminder. Doh.

    Reply
    • JH

      Welcome back, Loni! I missed you.

      Thanks for the kind words. And thanks for voting!

      Reply

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