Making a Book #9 Organising the launch party

What?

The book is ready to be launched?

Er, No.

I have still to complete about 25 photographs, the cover is not ready yet, the layout is not finished, and it still needs a final edit and proof reading. And printing of course. But. Planning.

I met my dear friend and Instagrammer Lois for lunch the other day. Here she is showing me how to do a Flat Lay!

Lois at Grangers Kings Cross
Flat Laying with Lois

Lois @the_lois_edits (do follow her if you like beautiful photographs of particularly nice and unusual images of London), is an experienced photographer, marketeer, hairdresser and all round creative. She made me think about how I am going to market and promote the book and it was a salutary experience. I had not given it much thought until now as the baby is not yet cooked (perhaps not the best metaphor). But the launch needs planning and if I don’t commit to a date I won’t actually finish and publish the book.

So I am going to tell you what my first thoughts are, and maybe you would be kind enough to make some additional suggestions?

THE PROPOSED PLAN

  • Book the large room in our Kings Cross offices as this will be fairly cheap, is very accessible, has a garden, toilets, crockery etc. I am thinking of asking everyone I know (!) and all my blog and Instagram followers (obviously many don’t live anywhere near London) via Eventbrite. I will especially encourage my collaborators, models and family to attend.
  • June would be ideal if I can achieve it, but later is probably more likely and achievable. Certainly an evening.
  • Free entrance to anyone who has already bought a book or who buys one on the night. The cover price is £15, but I was thinking of a special offer of two for the price of one. This would enable buyers to keep one and give one away. Another thought is to just offer a discount on the night. And probably a bulk discount for anyone who will take 10 or more.
  • Special homemade food (this is where Nick comes in), tea and coffee, wine, soft drinks and water. Not sure what food to offer, but probably something cold, that can be eaten with the fingers. Ploughman’s? Bagels with smoked salmon, or nut butter. And cake. Any suggestions that appeal to all tastes and preferences?
    Man cooking, with lemons
    Nick cooks aubergines
  • I will sign the book for anyone who wants it.
  • Provide an activity such as sewing/painting/creating something on the night, providing materials. Setting up tables of six to ten where attendees can sit, work with others and network. It is possible that some of my more expert friends may be willing to sit and the tables and “teach” specific things. How to make a granny square. How to choose a harmonious colour palette. How to take a good photograph. Using watercolours. Basics of knitting. How to build your blog or instagram following. Embroidery. Make up advice for all skin tones. Paper pieced patchwork.  How to make slime??? (I know a very good 8 year old expert).
  • An outside speaker – a star blogger, or maybe something completely different – a clothes or textile designer, a museum curator, a photographer. Someone very interesting, perhaps with slides of exhibits.
  • Doing something myself, such as a mini colour consultation. I could ask people as they came in if they want to “win” this, and then choose a name out of the hat. Or a talk, with slides, on wardrobe personality?
  • What about a selfie bay (Lois’s great suggestion)?

I know I enjoyed having my picture taken in the Botticelli shell. I was thinking of creating some areas with the key colour directions eg Bright, Muted etc, using fabric, wall paper, paintings etc, The attendees could try pictures of themselves in their assumed colour direction, or I could give them a provisional guess.

Fabrickated Botticelli
Poser
Fabrickated Yellow
Me with a bright yellow background by Lois
  • Show some of my home made clothes and fabrics, possibly to try on. Include a few mirrors in the room. I noticed at the V&A and other museums that people love to try things on.
  • What about a present for the “best dressed” or “most stylish” on the night?
  • At some point I would want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me. And that includes all of you. So maybe I can also blog about it to share more widely, or even arrange something like a short video via Facebook or Instagram? I would hope someone might take photos on the night to share with attendees.

All this on a fairly low budget as the book is not a commercial proposition, more a celebration of natural beauty, nice things, happy times and community. If you are willing and able to participate of course I would be absolutely thrilled – please comment below or email me kate (at) fabrickate (dot) com.

I would welcome your suggestions, and certainly any help you might offer. Thank you.

32 Responses

  1. Joyce

    Oh my goodness….so exciting! I’d love to be there! ( travel is out of the question , tee hee) but I’ll be there in spirit…and I want lots and lots of photographs…and I’d like to buy the book! Fun fun fun. If I think of any suggestions, I’ll add them later…it’s past midnight here in Canada.
    Joyce from Sudbury …so proud of you!

  2. Grace

    Perhaps there would be an opportunity to buy a signed copy even if because of travel you can’t attend. Maybe some sort of small charity donation. All sounds very lovely anyway, well done you x

  3. Anne

    The launch event sounds great and very comprehensive. I couldn’t add anything but would perhaps consider paring it down a little? You would need a long time to set up for what you describe and the event is one evening. I think a whole day would be required to do justice to your fabulous description. I’d enjoy that event!
    Timing permitting, I’d certainly like to be there.

  4. Liz

    That all sounds a lot of fun, if a great deal to organise; sometimes it is better to do a few things really well than to spread yourself too thinly. The only thing I personally wouldn’t like is a prize for best dressed, that would make me feel quite anxious, unless it was for something more specific such as best hat or accessory. It all sounds a blast though.

  5. Anita Steiner

    As Anne says what you are planning would fill a day or more. If you want to keep it simple and cost effective I would do it more like a “Cocktail” Party with finger food (sandwiches, little morsels of wrapped vegetables or meat, raw vegetables with dips, etc.). I would love to come, once you have a date fixed I will see whether I can wangle a few days off then. Of course I will buy your book, with a dedication it would be even more special. If I can come and would be needed I could help out. Anita from Basel

  6. Chris

    Very exciting! I like your idea of a selfie/photo backdrop. Something that occurred to me re colour consultation aspect… if you printed a number of posterboards with life sized upper body illustrations using the various colour stories, that had a cutout for a head – so that people could photograph themselves “trying” out an outfit in each colour story. (Maybe based on some of your own creations?)
    It would give people something fun to post to Instagram or twitter, and work as an ice breaker too!
    Re :Marketing… choose a suitable hashtag and display it at the event to help people promote your book.

    I also have an 8yr old expert in slime…but I don’t think we’ll make it to London!

    • fabrickated

      Oh yes!! Brilliant suggestion on the cut outs Chris. It might be a bridge too far, but it is the sort of thing that could be used on other occasions. I will look into it. And a hashtag – of course. What could it be???

  7. Paula

    I am newish to your blog and book project, so I’m not up to speed about the purpose of your book, but I am very interested in the processes you’re chronicling. As I read your post the question that came up repeatedly was the one my patternmaker-sewing teacher would ask me, “What do you want to accomplish?” At the end of the evening, what would have to have happened for you to say, “This was a success”? Also, what is the single most compelling impression you want the participants to leave with? I think I may have a book in me, too, so I am very interested in your real-life experiences and decision-making processes as you grapple with so many details and sort our your priorities.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Paula. I think the purpose of the launch is to celebrate my achievement and to get the book into the hands of people who I hope will enjoy it. And perhaps to encourage them to “promote” it to people they know so that I sell the copies. I am doing the whole thing myself (with help of course) and I will write up how it is. I do think anyone who is passionate about something, or who is running their own business, can write a non-fiction book. Fiction, however, that is another story.

  8. Jenny l

    What an exciting event you are planning. Having followed you for a long time now I would not expect anything less. You throw yourself into everything you do and I am sure it will be a success. I like lots of your ideas, including the selfie bay – they do it at lots of parties and events now. I also think you should pare it down and not to put too much pressure on yourself. I think you will found it enough to be the hostess! I wish you lots of luck and would love a signed copy after the event. I’m afraid I can’t cope with big social occasions.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks for your encouragement and your introvert’s admission. I don’t really love parties myself but I soon get into them when I see my friends. Often I don’t enjoy my own parties as I seem to be so busy looking after everyone else I cannot just relax

  9. Bridget Carpenter

    This all sounds so exciting! I love your ideas for the book, except for one, if I have understood correctly. I think you should be the speaker, not anyone else like a blogger or textile designer. You have such an interesting story to tell about your experiences with creativity and your journey to write this book. You have a very broad range of experience and knowledge of techniques which would be fascinating to hear about.

    On a practical note, how will you take payments for the books both online and at the launch?

    Good luck with it all!

    • fabrickated

      Gosh – thank you for saying no to an outside speaker, that I can be the main event. I guess I am a bit hesitant there. And money. Ah yes. I was thinking of cash on the night or IOUs, with the online I have a facility to take money on this website. I am also investigating selling it through Amazon, but I think they take 60%. Also a huge issue is can a down load version be made available. It has 40 colour photos so a Kindle down load would be disappointing, but maybe OK for those who just want the text. I need to investigate…

  10. Ellen

    How wonderful! Can’t wait to buy copies of the book! I agree with the other commenters–simplify the event so you can focus on the conversations, as everyone there will be full of love and congratulations, and will be happy to meet each other and talk about how inspiring we all find you. (That said, I love the idea of some Fabrikated themed selfie station!) So excited for you, and what a huge accomplishment–wish I were closer so I could meet you and all your terrific followers!

    • fabrickated

      Sweet Ellen – you know what you are talking about being a successful published author yourself. I wish I could get everyone together in one place as we would have so much fun. Simplify seems to be the core message. Thank you.

  11. Joyce

    I am agreeing with the other…less might be the way to go…..then I’m going to add something, ha ha….music? I always loves littke entertainment at such things….and music does make life more beautiful, doesn’t it. Keep us posted on the new developments. Fun fun fun!
    Joyce from Sudbury

    • fabrickated

      How could I not think of music! Mainly because I rarely put any on. But of course people love music and it makes a party go much better. I will have to find out how to do that. Would a phone be loud enough or do we need special equipment?

  12. Jenny

    This sounds a fun event but you are right planning is crucial.

    Some great comments above but I agree with Paula it needs a clear focus which isn’t just the commercial side but an event that’s aligned to your book but in the flesh so to speak. So with that in mind thumbs up for the creative side activities as most coming will be makers I suspect, finger food, examples of your clothes particularly the show stopper ones, venue that can provide cutlery/glasses etc . And thumbs down to another speaker (will just distract and we will want to hear you), too much going on, competitions.

    I’ve just had a big birthday do catered by myself with help from friends/children but in a home thing. Great fun but hard work. Hence my comments about having a venue geared up to catering for large numbers. I found on the food front that as a rule healthy stuff like dry salads, veg sticks etc got completely ignored (!), sandwichs were popular but finger food type things on cocktail sticks, spring rolls, the whole salmon went really fast.

    • fabrickated

      Food advice is well said – it’s the trickiest I think. My best party in this venue was Pret Sandwiches and crisps. I am not sure people really care that much. More about not getting too drunk too fast.

  13. Kim

    I read your ideas with growing awe ….. and impression that it was going to be a massive amount of work. I see from comments that I’m not alone in thinking maybe a simpler evening might be more enjoyable for you. Yes to drinks and finger food. Maybe some of your most admired work on stands (or however they are best displayed). The people you are aiming for already have a common interest so I’m pretty sure that just filling an evening with conversations would work.
    Good luck!

    • fabrickated

      Yes you are right. My party formulae is good friends + lots of booze + hot snacks (doesn’t have to be gormet, even sausage rolls are nice hot with a glass of red).

  14. AB

    Wow! So many ideas! It almost sounds as if you have enough for two events.

    The Fabrikated Selfie Station sounds like an excellent idea, along with a hashtag. They’d be both good fun and good publicity.

    Have you thought about your background music? Maybe tracks with links to fabric, sewing, clothing etc?

    Let me know if I can help in any way.

  15. Su

    The launch party sounds very ambitious to pull it off well. Do you have enough helpers to do it well?

  16. Nina

    It sounds like an incredible event and I can’t wait to read the book. Only advice I have is to enlist enough support to manage the event, so that you can enjoy it and be the focus. If you’re also trying to make sure it all runs smoothly, (figure out problems with the payment system, find someone’s coat, order taxis etc etc) then you’ll miss opportunities to connect with the people you’re bringing together. I do hope that you get a real sense of celebration in the launch, because this is all such an accomplishment.

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