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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Facebook Launch Parties ~ by Normandie Fischer


Sailor and baby-boomer author Normandie Fischer wrote stories while cruising Pacific Mexico. She’s a former sculptor and editor with Southern roots, whose plans to sail the world came to an abrupt halt when her mother developed dementia and needed care at home near the small port town of Beaufort, NC. Becalmed is her debut novel, to be followed by Sailing Out of Darkness.

On Facebook Launch Parties: A Pressure Release Valve

Before Becalmed released, my publicist and I went back and forth on the value of a Facebook launch party. Half the writers we polled loved their experience; half hated it.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of chest-beating, begging, or any of the other things the marketing folk say we’ve got to do to sell our books just about sends me over the edge. I’m the sort who’d rather sit at the back of the gathering and watch what’s going on around me. I like chatting one on one; I don’t like being the object of attention.

What’s more attention-grabbing than the obvious me-me of a Facebook launch party? We beg folk to drop by, comment, speak to us, please, and, oh, don’t forget! We Have Prizes! Free Books!

That begs the next question: Just why should anyone care about our words? I mean, if someone already wants my story, it’s probably because we’re buds. But for the rest of the not-yet-known public? The folk who may have seen my face or read my name, but to whom I’m nobody? Why should they be interested in this particular book out of all the others published? (At least until the reviews come in and word of mouth acts as its supposed to.)

You can see how this whole thing gets to me, an introvert who loves people, but only in small doses. Who welcomes friendships, but wants them to be meaningful. Who is happy to discover that folk like her story, but doesn’t want to be the one pressing it on them, thank you very much.

So. I decided to diffuse attention on Facebook by sharing the launch party with other writers. As soon as I found six enthusiastic women’s fiction authors whose work I admire and with whom I’d developed a relationship—mostly online—my burden lifted. I could spend my energy promoting their stories on my launch and, in doing so, relax about my own. Their involvement guaranteed attendance, if only for the time each of them had the helm. Because they brought different personalities to the discussion, it remained lively for the entire day.

We found snatches of humor, especially when the author on board from noon to two had trouble logging in. The hilarity grew as one of her friends promised to stand by the water cooler to keep watch, another promised to check the halls, and I tried to help her figure out the log-in issue. We eventually got her there, but the humanness of the incident and the jokes that surrounded it added to fun. And you know what, the gal at the water cooler won the drawing for our missing author’s book (along with an e-book of Becalmed.)

My 85-year-old mama drew names from a hat of those who’d commented during each period, and a winner went home with a paperback from that author and an e-book from me. After my two hours, the winner took home both an e-book and a signed paperback of Becalmed.

I have no way of knowing if I gained new readers in the process, but I do know that I had fun and got to know a few other writers—and their fans—just a little bit better. Pressure off, fun on.

And isn’t that how we’re supposed to work as believers? Lifting up others and not worrying about the results in terms of us? I figure if we’ve got the Big Guy on our team, we can do whatever it is our hand finds to do—and do it with all our might—and then trust Him with the outcome. Certainly He’ll guide us to the path in this marketing thing that will bring the greatest glory where it belongs. Which is certainly not on us.

A plug here for Silver Seas PR, whose creativity I glommed onto when I hired them to hold my hand through this morass of media.

Please feel free to grab your own copy of Becalmed in either softcover or e-book at Amazon. Or order it through your favorite indie bookstore.

Becalmed
With her days chock full - designing jewelry for the shop she co-owns with her best friend, sailing her sharpie, and hanging out with girlfriends - Tadie Longworth barely notices she's morphing into the town's maiden aunt. When Will, a widower with a perky daughter named Jilly, limps into town in a sailboat badly in need of engine repairs, Tadie welcomes the chance to help. Her shop becomes Jilly's haven while Will hunts boat parts, and Tadie even takes the two of them sailing. It's the kind of thing she lives for, and it's a welcome distraction from the fact that her ex-boyfriend Alex, aka The Jerk of Jerks, is back in town. With his northern bride. Oh, and he's hitting on Tadie, too.

Those entanglements are more than enough, thank you very much, so it's almost a relief when a hurricane blows into town: at least the weather can match Tadie's mood. When Will and Jilly take shelter in her home, though, Tadie finds herself battling her attraction to Will. Even worse, the feeling is mutual, tempting them all with what-ifs that petrify Will, who has sworn never to fall in love again. Mired in misunderstanding, he takes advantage of the clear skies and hauls Jilly out of there and back to his broken boat so fast, Tadie's head spins.

With the man she might have loved gone, and the man she wishes gone showing up on her doorstep, Tadie finds herself like a sailboat with no wind; becalmed, she has to fight her way back against the currents to the shores of the life, and the man, she wants to have.

If you're in the vicinity, of the Chesapeake Bay, I'd love ot have you come aboard:

Sea Venture, a Hudson Force 50 ketch, set sail July 2013 to begin Normandie's book tour. Her schedule includes:
August 1 Arrive at the head of the Chesapeake Bay. Find places to anchor in and around Georgetown, MD, Chesapeake City, MD, and C & D Canal.
Aug. 28 Arrive in NYC.
Sep. 30: Leave NYC for trip south.
Oct. 15: Arrive Baltimore, MD.
Oct. 20: Arrive Annapolis, MD.
Various stops along the Western Shore of Chesapeake Bay.
Nov 1: Arrive Portsmouth, VA. Back through the ICW to Beaufort, NC.


7 comments:

Nicole said...

Sea-worthy promotion for a talented writer and my sweet friend. Well done on all counts, Normandie, and I feel your discomfort in waves. Marketing is like a dreaded hurricane, but you were well-anchored. Good job. Good book. Good writer.

Linda Yezak said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your launch party and your book.

When I promote *Give the Lady a Ride* in person I slip into a different persona--one whose knees don't knock when she talks to a crowd. I can handle promotions like that, but just let my mom start bragging on me and my face turns neon red. Something about it turns me into a six-year-old who won the spelling bee.

As for on-line promotions? The book's been out for two years now, and I don't know how to continue promoting it. Sigh.

Normandie Ward Fischer said...

Nicole, thank you, my friend.

And, Linda, we're keeping our head above water, aren't we? Love the comparison!

I'm in NYC today with daughter, so I may not be able to respond to all comments right away. I do hope folk stop in, though, and chat. That's what makes an online community fun!

Regina Smeltzer said...

Normandie, i am taking notes on your every move! You are my inspiration. I loved Becalmed and suggest it as a great read for anyone. Enjoy the time in NYC!!!

Regina

Normandie Ward Fischer said...

Thank you so much, Regina. Ariana looks fantastic, and Mama and I are walking more than we have in years. So good for us!

Thank you very much for your kind words about Becalmed.

Maryann Miller said...

I love the idea of a group launch party. Like you, I am soooo uncomfortable with the direct marketing approach encouraged by so many marketing pros. And I am learning from other authors that social media marketing is not effective if it is always "buy my book." Sorry I missed your party. It appears that you had a lot of good authors throughout the day.

Normandie Ward Fischer said...

Sorry that it's taken me this long to get back to you, Maryann! We had a lovely time, and all of us made new friends. I hope I can count you among the newest.