9th Book, First Book Launch

bunnies_400Last week I had a book launch party for my first authored picture book, BUNNIES!!! I have illustrated a handful of books by other authors. Some of them have gone on to win awards. A couple, after six or seven years, continues to sell extremely well. I never had a book launch for any of them. I enjoyed illustrating everyone of them and am proud of them, but I’ve never had a sense of ownership about any of them. They have never seemed like “my” books.  To me, they are the author’s books that I was fortunate enough to illustrate. I know that is silly and that my role in the creation of those books gives me ownership. But I never took the initiative to promote them. I did signings and things that were arranged by the publisher. I participated in events that I was invited to. But I never made an effort on my own to promote those books. In hindsight, I may have done it differently—I don’t know.

Having a book that I’ve written and illustrated, a book that is 100% mine is enormously different. I want the entire world to know about this fabulous little piece of joy I’ve created. And hope they all love it as much as I do. So how do I do it? How do I make my little book stand out among the myriad of other fine books out there? I guess it all starts with a book launch…


The University Bookstore Staff get in the spirit!

I made arrangements with the University Bookstore in Bellevue for the day after my book was released. I sent out invites via evite.com and through social media. And then tapped friends in the enthusiastic and supportive kid lit community who had recently had book launches about what to do next. Of course what I had in mind to do and what I ended up doing were not the same thing. But I think I did all right. I bought thematic snacks; bunny shaped-crackers and bunny-shaped cookies, stereotypical rabbit food (vegetables), and a carrot cake decorated with an image of the characters from my book.


There was even some carrot juice. And wine. I had stickers made and fun, square postcards as giveaways. I had a cutout made of the protagonist made that I thought people might want to get their picture taken with. In the flurry of the evening, that didn’t really pan out, but I still have it and it’s pretty cool, and I will take it with me when I present. And then the bookstore spread very cute plush bunnies throughout the store.

One hundred and some people came to the launch. I gave a very short presentation about where the story came from and showed the development of the main character.


I read the book with a projected PowerPoint presentation so the standing room crowd could see. And then I read it a second time asking the crowd to read it along with me. They did, all 47 words with emotion and enthusiasm. And the final applause assured me that what I had written, what I had illustrated was liked. I welled up a little bit inside. A proud papa of a brand new book.


It was a great night. The bookstore sold out their stock of 90 books. I had brought my 23 author’s copies just in case, and they sold out those, too. Some folks bought multiple copies and other folks went home empty handed. But the shelves are restocked now and hopefully they will have to keep restocking.


  1. Kevan,
    Thanks so much for sharing your book launch and marketing ideas! I think you did great! Go proud Papa!

  2. Oh – I SO wish I could have been there to celebrate with you Kevan!!! I’m SO happy for you!!!!!! Big fuzzy hugs, e

  3. Sounds like a super fun event. Congrats on the release and may you sell many, many more copies! 🙂

  4. You did great! It was such a fun evening. Lots of love for the BUNNIES!!!

  5. Hopping happy for you!!! Great job in promoting your book. Wishing you 24K success!!!

  6. Sounds like a real successful launch. I love your bunny theme, too. Congrats, Papa, you have every “write” to be proud!

  7. Wow! That photo says it all. You rule the picture book world! Pretty in Pink, too.

  8. Congrats, Kevan! I’m glad it all went so well!

  9. Sounds like an awesome party, Kevan. Congrats on BUNNIES!!! I just love it!

  10. I’m so HOPPY for you!

    (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) 🙂

  11. Love, love, love! Looks like everyone had a hopping good time. Cannot wait to read your book.

  12. Congratulations, Kevan! I’m looking forward to reading BUNNIES!! – bunnies are popular in our house. :o)

  13. Awesome, Kevan! Love the bunny ears — I know what you mean about feeling complete ownership. It’s like the books we illustrate are nieces and nephews, and these are our own kids. Congratulations!

  14. Visited Barnes and Noble, today…BUNNIES have hopped over to Central Iowa. (Prominently displayed..I might add) Love it! Congratulations!

  15. Looks like LOADS of fun – and I love the idea of the cutout of the MC for pics. Thanks for sharing! Congrats.

  16. Congratulations on the book – YOUR book – and the successful launch. Your hard work and thorough research paid off. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  17. The book–and the event–sound fabulous, Kevan. Congratulations!!

  18. This one looks SO FUN, Kevan! And the launch party sounds like a blast. (I’ve never had one either.)

  19. The launch party sounds like such fun! Wishing you many, many more sales.

  20. Thank you, Barbara!! More sales! yes!

  21. Congratulations! And thank you for sharing in such an honest way about your feelings of ownership–as a writer only, I’d never considered that possibility. Your launch sounded like a blast and I’m thrilled that you sold out of your books. Woohoo!

  22. Well done Kevan. Lovely book and love your creative marketing. Especially the cake! You’ve inspired us and you’ve even given me a cake idea for a project that we’re developing. Can’t beat a bit of cake!

  23. Thanks for sharing your experience. My first book comes out Sept. 1 and I’m looking for book launch ideas.

  24. Terrific post, Kevan! What an interesting point about ownership. It must be very fulfilling to be able to “read” the book at presentations and talk about the whole package. Congratulations, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!!!!! If there are any left!

  25. Carrot cake? What a wild and woolly crowd! Bungradulations! Oops, I mean congratulations!

  26. Awesome! Congratulations!

  27. Belated congratulations, Kevan! I love seeing how you developed the main character. Sounds like it was a great launch!

  28. Congratulations, Kevan!!! So happy for you! I can feel your excitement and pride beaming all the way across the country. 🙂

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