Saturday, June 30, 2007

What Will it Take to Get You To a Book Party?

Filename: j0409286.jpg Keywords: adding machines, books, businesses ... File Size: 197 KB
This morning I had a conversation with an author friend who wants me to host a press junket/book party for him. I love to throw parties, but organizing a product launch party(what I call it) fizzles out the fun for me unless I know that what we are going to do at this party will be worthwhile for the press I invite, for the readers, and for the guest of honor. Here are a few of things I think a book party should have if it plans on getting readers out the house. And you are welcome to comment .

1. It needs a theme.
The party colors should match the book cover. The atmosphere should match the mood of the book. A theme does that. If your book is about pirates, then a pirates themed party. Sounds like a no brainer. If its a romance novel, a romantic theme. We readers like to visualize, so putting us in the setting would be great.

2. It needs a book giveaway display.
You need to have a nice book display of books that number your RSVPs already signed by you to give-away. It would be nice to include a coupon from a local bookstore or bookstore that will be signing your book in the next few weeks, along with something to remind everyone that you will be doing a booksigning soon.

People are here to party not worry about their pocketbooks. Think of it as a parting gift.

3. It needs to include a party press pack.
I don't want to be loaded down with a lot of stuff, but I need to have certain media items that I can read once I'm home or at an editorial meeting. Make it small, easy to carry and inclusive of the theme.

4. Make this event exclusive, but large enough to create buzz.
Booksignings are for everyone, but book parties are not. Invite newsworthy or media or pastors, other authors, entertainers and your top supporters(family, friends, coworkers.)

5. Make this event free.
It's a party...Treat it like you treat your child's birthday party. People are drawn to that, will talk about it, and they have a copy of your book in their hand. People will want their own copy and go purchase it.

6. Have light, but tasty party food and a variety of drinks.
You don't want people to become tired from full bellys. Have your food stick to theme. Ask friends to serve.

7. Make this party photo and e-friendly.
You can even podcast the party and interview guest in realtime. But take lots of pictures.

8. Location. Location.Location.
Have this party in a nice venue. It could a friends home, a trendy newspot or a church. But make sure it fits the theme. It's not too spacious. You want people standing and mingling. Not sitting and eating.

9. Talk up your book.
You can read it or have a dramatist, but give us five minutes of this book. The best part :)

10. Have fun.

Now what would get you to come to my book launch party?

Help Wanted: Kimani Press

Help Wanted

Title: Editorial Assistant
Company: Harlequin/Kimana Press
Location: NY, NY
Benefits: 401K, Bonuses, Dental, Flexible Hours, Health

The Job:
Administrative and editorial support for Kimani Press, a division of Harlequin focusing on fiction for the African American woman. Assist the general manager with administrative tasks as assigned; logging and trafficking manuscripts on in-house database; reading and evaluating slush manuscripts; coordinating author communications; gathering prelim materials from authors and editors; coordinating freelance workers on copy-writing and line-editing projects; assisting in creation of PowerPoint and Excel presentations; organizing mailings to support marketing campaigns and assisting in placement of advertising.

  • Communication and proofreading skills are required.
  • Minimum of a bachelor level degree.
  • Previous office experience. a
  • An understanding of and affection for women’s fiction is a plus.
  • The ideal candidate will be looking to build a career in publishing.
Human Resources
233 Broadway, Suite 1001
New York, NY 10279 USA
FAX: 212-227-8969
Qualified candidates only, please send cover letter with resume by email or fax. No phone calls please.

Seitz II: Black Spiritualism

Yesterday, Nicole introduced herself to us. Today we're talking about Black Spiritualism and its role in her debut novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass.

An excerpt from the Spirit of Sweetgrass...

Gullahs are real respectful of the dead, and they want to make sure they go onto the afterworld, and don't come back for haunting. Back in 1939 when my grandma died, I can remember ma turning the mirrors in the house backward, facing the wall, so Gran's spirit wouldn't reflect.

What do you know about Black spiritualism?
Black spiritualism is the blending of old and new beliefs, traditions, practices into one harmonious spiritual belief system. Certain aspects can be borrowed from Protestantism, Catholicism, etc, yet traditional African spirituality remains. In Louisiana, there is a blend of Catholicism with African spirituality including aspects of the Voudon religion. Here in the Lowcountry, it’s a mix with Protestantism instead.
When I first started writing this book, I was soon after put on bed rest for some problems in my pregnancy. God put me in the capable hands of an African-American woman who had been a nanny and sweetgrass basket maker. She watched over me and my then one-year old daughter. I could not write, but found myself listening to her praises to Jesus.

The black community is fascinating to me in that spirituality spreads throughout ever facet of life—in speech, in family life, everything. I come from a background where spiritual things are not talked about very much except in church. If you do talk of such things you feel funny, people are uncomfortable. As a Christian, I want my connection to God to permeate every facet of my life, no matter how people look at me. This is my heart’s connection to the black community.

How important is this religious thought to Essie Mae?
Essie Mae is a simple woman. She loves Jesus. She loves her family. She has a respect for her roots, both Gullah and Creole. She has a reverence for spiritual mysticism, understands the power of it, fears it at times. Ultimately, she puts her faith in God as her true power.
You cannot have Essie Mae in existence without her spirituality. Loving Jesus is who she is. Bringing that love to her family and friends is a natural extension.

How does Black spiritualism fit in our Christian worldview?
It’s hard for those of us who are not Black to understand how ancient beliefs and practices brought to America by African forefathers can coincide gracefully with Christian beliefs, but these are things embedded in the fabric of the black community. The one does not negate the other—loving Jesus Christ.

How much did orthodoxy played a role in your theme?
To be honest, I simply told Essie Mae’s story. I was not too concerned with rigidity to rules or orthodoxy in religion. Essie Mae is a “real” character. Things in her world as in ours are not “black and white”. There is much gray in this world. I explored some of these gray areas and allowed my imagination to soar.

Monday we will explore the Gullah people and the art of sweetgrass. If you have questions for Nicole, leave them in our comments section.


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