Month: July 2016

How to Hold a Facebook Party for Your Book Launch


Just One Writer’s How-To for a Facebook Book Launch Party

Jane EyerFinal-FJM_Low_Res_500x750Decide why you want to have a release party and identify your intended guest audience: Why do you want to have a release party? To find new readers & generate sales? To have a place to discuss your book with readers in a way that people who haven’t read it yet might find interesting? To vent some of the pressure that went into launch day?  Once you identify your goal, you’ll have an easier time identifying your audience.

As for Unclaimed, I doubted that a release party would do a darn thing to attract new readers (as I don’t seem to be very skilled/lucky at that, even if I do all the “supposedtas”).  I realized that I just wanted to have a space and time to talk about Unclaimed and all the works that went before it, including Jane Eyre, with people who would want to answer the kinds of questions I wanted to ask.  In true INFJ fashion I didn’t really want to “party” in the traditional sense. I wanted to have deeper-than-surface conversations with like-minded people.  More a gathering than a shindig.  Certainly not a hootenany.


Well, there was no brie, but I did have a glass of wine.

Decide on your time frame: Some people want to party all day or over a course of days. I’m not those people.  I settled on a two-hour window in the after-dinner hours (for me, anyway) on a weeknight. I’ve worked in youth ministry long enough to know that there is no “best time” for anything.  I chose evening because that’s when I could pinpoint the best availability for most of the people whom I was confident would attend.

Decide on what will happen during your party: Will there be discussion questions? Party favors*? Celebrity guests popping in? Links to reviews? Sales links?

Every Facebook launch party I’ve visited (either during or after) featured discussion questions at least.  I had another author more famous than I am pop in with a picture of her with her weaving supplies, since weaving is a part of the plot of Unclaimed. I wish I had thought ahead of time to ask other authors who’d read Unclaimed to post in the party on their own, maybe with links to their own books or with their own reviews or whathaveyou.  I also didn’t think to post blurbs from reviews or anything like that.  I might do both of those next time.  I did come up with 8 discussion questions and chose images to post with each question to make them easier to identify.   I also thought up a reason to share relevant Pinterest boards (Jane E and Meatless Fridays for the 10 Minute Novelists-inspired Virtual Snacks).

*Party favors: It’s my understanding that Facebook strictly prohibits any giveaways that are not done through their specific promotional program (one that takes money).  There’s nothing I’ve found prohibiting against sharing party favors with your guests, however (selecting a gift to give to a guest is different than having a contest or drawing).  First I thought of what I had to give as gifts (an ARC of the sequel to Unclaimed, a signed hard copy of 2006 Jane E).   Next I asked authors who had books similar in subgenre or style (one dystopian and two steampunk, all YA) to sponsor party favors.  Finally, I created a print-at-home Unclaimed bookmark that all the guests could download.

Queue and time your posts: In one document, I typed up all my questions, wrote descriptions and prepared author and book links for each party favor, and prepped sales links for each online book source where Unclaimed is sold (I went wide).  Then I typed out what time I wanted to post each question or link so that it filled out the two hours but didn’t overfill.

Schedule your event on Facebook: Through my author page, I added an event on my author page (go to your author page and select “Create Event”).  Some hints to make this easier on you:

  • Write your description of the event ahead of time, including the time zone of the start time (Facebook is international, so 7:30pm doesn’t mean the same thing to you as it does to someone else).
  • Create some art for the event’s cover page. Just plopping your cover or headshot on there is going to look silly and unprofessional.  I used Canva and selected “Facebook page cover” dimensions for the art.
  • Be sure to include the event time (and time zone) on your art


Invite friends to your event: on the event’s page, click the little button with “Invite” and a little envelope-looking thingie and go to town.  Well, not literally.  Virtual town.

Share your event with your network: Definitely share it with your street team, whoever they are or however you identify them.

[Note: Two years ago, I thought I had to bust my buns to drum up some kind of street team.  I’ve since realized that, honestly, I’m so small-time that mine can just be a cross section of my newsletter subscribers and my individually selected ARC team.]

Share it on FB. Tweet it.  Blog about it. Pin it (that’s another reason you need that art on your event page).  Encourage your street team to share it wherever they can as well.  And don’t just share once, either… or just share once. Seriously, whatever you can do without breaking into a million pieces, do it.  That’s Auntie Erin’s advice.


Follow up: Contact individual party favor recipients with the news that they’ve gifts waiting for them.  Check in periodically after the party is over to connect with people who’ve left questions or comments post-party.  Take notes about what worked, what didn’t, and what you might like to try again next time. Be thankful. Be classy.  Be gracious.

Write a blog post so others can learn from your experience.

Questions for you: Have you seen a particularly successful launch party? Can you share the link below?


This writer scheduled her blog tour while on pain meds. What she did next was a total embarrassment.

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I’m usually pretty organized when it comes to writing-related stuff.  Getting that teeny little gall bladder out, however, threw me off my game so much more than I anticipated.

Anyway, remember how I posted all the links to the Unclaimed blog tour going on this week into next?  Yeah, I forgot to link to Dawn Witzke at Catholic Underground.  She has a review written by hers truly, and then over on Underground, she gives an excerpt and some feedback on the book from… one of her characters! Ingenious.  Do check out Dawn’s work.  Sorry, Dawn, for letting you get lost in the shuffle.  ::shuffles away, head down::


On a brighter, “hey, getting organized again is awesome” note, I’ve contacted all the recipients of the sponsored party favors tossed to attendees of the Unclaimed release party.  Check your messages and emails if you’re one of those! UNCLAIMED FB Party Cover



Jane EyerFinal-FJM_Low_Res_500x750Thank you, everyone, who participated in any way with yesterday’s launch.  From the reviews that kept popping up, to seeing Unclaimed‘s cover all over the Open Book linkup, to the Unclaimed Release Party on Facebook, to having my husband check in during the party to say that Unclaimed had broken the top 100 in the same category as The Hunger Games, to waking up towards the comfortable middle of that same category today… it was a really, really nice launch day.

Oh, all that while also visiting our favorite librarian, getting some summer phonics in for Second Shift, oven canning dried blueberries, and in spite of it all, NOT EATING TAKEOUT OF ANY KIND!

Hold on.  I think this is turning into a Small Success Thursday post…


That’s where you link up with and share about all the little things that went right this week (or, in my case, month or day or whatever).

Anyway, over the next week-ish, a number of kind bloggers will be talking about Unclaimed on their blogs while I get to prepping Nameless (Book 2) for your reading angst pleasure.

Later today, July 7, Tanya Weitzel will be posting a review on

Tomorrow, July 8, I’ll be over at Theresa Linden‘s.

July 9: Ellen Gable

July 10: Marianne Sciucco

July 11: Barb S. aka Franciscan Mom

July 12: Sarah Reinhard, aka Snoring Scholar

July 13: Sherrie’s Scriptorium

July 14: Carolyn Astfalk

July 15: Amy M. Bennett

July 16: Laura at Suburban Sainthood

Please visit those bloggers and give them some love, aka comments & shares!

Also, there still are party favors available until midnight (EDT) July 9 over at the Unclaimed Release Party on Facebook. Comment on the party favor threads that interest you, or just join in the discussion!


By the way, so much to love about a virtual book release party:

  • can last beyond the official end time without draining the introvert’s energy
  • great discussion
  • budget-friendly for the author who doesn’t have a ton of cash to drop on venue fees and actual snacks
  • higher likelihood of international guests attending
  • can be attended in underpants
  • or not–nobody has to know either way

Would a blog post on how I put together this particular launch party be helpful to anyone? I hesitate to ask, because I’m afraid it’s fishing for attention.  On reflection, though, if I know nobody’s interested beyond myself, I’ll just keep my notes in a file and not have to spend time tidying them up, giving them pretty pictures, actually remembering to write the bloody auto-Tweet, and so and so.

Open Book: June reads for July Reviews!

Carolyn Astfalk has a first Wednesday of the month book review linkup!


One thing can be said for having a couple of complications dragging out weeks after super minor abdominal surgery: there’s lots of time to do nothing but sit in bed and READ!   Perhaps that’s the only thing to be said for it, though; being unable to work on one’s own writing and publishing is pretty frustrating.  That said, today is the rescheduled release date for UNCLAIMED, Book 1 in The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan.

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Unclaimed cover art Copyright 2016 Fiona Jayde Media

I was chomping so badly at the bit to get that up and running by June 24, but instead I was propped up in bed with my iPad and this guy for my reading buddy.


Funny story: five days after I came home from  the hospital, Siggie (above) suddenly started sniffing around my belly and instead of making me take his tennis ball out of his mouth to play fetch, he just gave it to me.  The two days later I was back at the doctor, and lo and behold! I had an infection developing.  Of course, if he were really intuitive, he wouldn’t have kept trying to jump directly onto my belly… but he’s still a good recovery companion.

Okay, let’s look at what I got to read in June…

Testing Liberty & Fight for Liberty by Theresa Linden

I really cannot rave well enough about the Chasing Liberty trilogy.  If you took The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World, and 1984, wove them together with a fresh, deeply human sensibility and gave it just the lightest sprinkle of holy water… you might come close to getting a series as fast-paced, powerful and satisfying as Liberty’s three-part tale.

I loved Chasing Liberty, butTesting Liberty Brown Red in Testing Liberty, Linden really ups the ante.  It was like in Chasing we got to see the veneer of Aldonia’s oppressive deep green culture scraped painfully off, and then in Testing, we dive down deep, deeper into the hearts and lives threatened, destroyed, and changed for good or ill by the conflict between the Regimen’s culture and the inner drive for freedom and independence that some of the colonists live out for themselves… and are getting ready to share with Aldonia on a wider and far more risky basis.   Usually the middle installment in a trilogy is the most difficult to keep spinning on a lively axis, but Linden turns that idea on its head and somehow makes Testing even more heart-rending and engaging than its predecessor.

FightForLibertyAnd then in Fight for Liberty, it all comes so satisfyingly full-circle.  Something Linden does so powerfully in this conclusion(ish) to the series is that the encourages us to look at the future of freedom (and, frankly, the present) through the lens of our history.  The way she approached a renewal of personal freedom as a rebirth of the ideals and courage of the American Revolution is a tack we don’t see often taken in speculative fiction.  It works.  Fresh, engaging, honest and uplifting, we can see our future as fraught with danger… but also promising courage and hope and the best humanity has to offer.

Fight for Liberty dropped on July 4! Keep an eye out here for an in-depth interview with Theresa Linden later this week.  

The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem

The tomb

It’s the story of Mary and Martha illuminated in a way you’ve never imagined.  In this conclusion (I think?) to the Living Water series, Stephanie Landsem gives us a rich backstory on why Martha is the way she is–a controlling, put-upon, neat freak who’s never satisfied.  I’d never before considered the kind of heartbreak that might have gone into making a Martha.  Landsem took my preconceived notions of a picky, spoiled, overly pious Jewish daughter and made her into someone who’s been through just as much as any of us has in on our way to becoming the fragile, cautious creatures we can be… until we let Christ come in to our lives and change us.  This third book has just as much delicious angst as The Well but just as much sweet satisfaction as The Thief.  For readers who like a good ends-tied-up series, this last book makes that happen but infuses the ending of the trilogy with great energy; it left me happy for the characters (each in his/her way) but still sad to see it end.  Highly recommended.

At the Crossroad by Amy M. Bennett

At the Cross Road: Book 4 in the Black Horse Campground Mystery Series by Amy M. Bennett (Oak Tree Press)

People, I just adore this series.  It’s really so much fun to read.  Okay, I realize I just said that about a series with a body count, but hey, take me as I am.  In At the Crossroad, Corrie, Rick, and JD all have to face the past–their own and the ghosts of others.  The mystery is fast-paced, crisp, and richly human.  The storytelling is clean, and the violence and relationships are never gratutitous.  All these characters have come to feel like family to me over the years, to the point that, yes, I’ve declared myself #TeamRick (and Crossroad makes that seem even more possible than No Vacancy did… but I’m sure Amy will keep us guessing).  In fact, I kind of know who I want to set JD up with, but Amy would pee her pants if I told her, because it’s so outlandish… Anyway, I hope that the fact that these characters have taken on their own lives in my imagination (am I writing Black Horse fanfic in my head?!?!) is endorsement enough.

After the Thaw by Therese Heckenkamp


A sequel to Heckenkamp’s Frozen Footprints that yet stands strong on its own, After the Thaw is a story of courage, healing, redemption, self-sacrifice, and the value of honesty.  The plot was fast-paced and kept me well invested in the future of heroine Charlene, the people she loves, and the people who sought to use her for their own ends.  Serious and tragic but with a great touch of humanity, Thaw kept me turning the pages and caring about the characters.  Should Charlene really marry Ben?  I mean, he’s a good guy, but is he the guy?  And what is going on with Clay and that pregnant girl?  For all the angst of the beginning and middle, the end is super satisfying with a touch of just-right sweetness.  Tough but still clean, this would make a great beach read.

Sunflowers in a Hurricane by Anne Faye

Sunflower Front CoverA sweet, touching story of healing, forgiveness and closure, Sunflowers in a Hurricane weaves together the lives touched, smote and healed by an unlikely friendship. When single-mom Cheryl must clear out her estranged mother’s house, daughter Ruth becomes the garden help and Mass companion of elderly widower George next door.  The move brings Cheryl face-to-face with her difficult past, a past she’s been evading ever since Ruth was conceived, as well as with her fears for her own and Ruth’s future.  Meanwhile, George stands courageously and compassionately in the face of his own past losses resurfacing in ways he hadn’t expected. The two households mirror each other in ways that make us think more deeply about the nature of love, forgiveness, acceptance, and redemption.  Faye turns a tale with an honest kindness often missing from family drama fiction these days, while keeping readers hooked on the story.  This was an uplifting and enjoyable read you’ll want for your beach bag!

Don’t forget to link up YOUR reviews over at Carolyn’s!

Prepare for launch… UNCLAIMED: Jane E (Book 1)


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Just in case you’re not following me on Facebook (and why aren’t you, exactly?), you are cordially invited to the online launch party for UNCLAIMED, tomorrow, July 6 at 7:30pm Eastern US time.

  • Lively discussion regarding various literary adventures
  • Party favors from authors Theresa Linden, H. L. Burke, Amy Cattapan, and more.
  • Enjoy virtual snacks (no calories to be had!), inspired by the hallowed traditions of the 10 Minute Novelists.

Please do join us!

FIGHT FOR LIBERTY: Interview with Theresa Linden

FightForLibertyGuys, I’m so excited that you finally get to get your very own copy of Fight for Liberty, the last book in the Chasing Liberty trilogy by Theresa Linden, one of my favorite new authors.  “New” as in new to me in the past year; she has a number of books out already, and I’m not even halfway through her backlist yet.  I hope you enjoy the following interview with her as much as I enjoyed asking her!

What’s Fight for Liberty, this last installment, about?

Liberty has gained a deeper understanding of true freedom, but having it for herself is not enough. Prompted by the inner voice that has guided her for years, Liberty is compelled to bring the freedom she possesses to others in Aldonia. While unsure of how to carry out this mission, she is willing to risk all to accomplish it. Threats from outside the Boundary Fence and threats closer to home cause chaos and confusion that have everyone unsure of what direction to take. Troubled by Liberty’s risky choices, Dedrick wishes he could convince her to leave for the colonies. But Liberty has chosen Aldonia over him. When faith, family, and freedom have been squashed, what can one person or even a group do to reclaim the culture?

And now, without further fuss or muss, here’s my interview with the mind behind Liberty, Theresa Linden!

EMC: Where did the idea for the Liberty series originate? How hard was it to keep going through an entire trilogy?  Did you ever get blocked?  What helped you power through to the end?

TL: The ideas for this trilogy came from the news, from reports about scientists experimenting on human embryos, special interest groups insisting that tiny fish are more important than farming families, the government tracking us with our phones, and the moral decline our culture is experiencing. I love our country and don’t want to see her fall. It frustrated me to think so few saw what was happening or thought that it mattered. Do we realize what we have and what we stand to lose?

CHASING LIBERTYcoverI started researching into special interest groups that are influential in our country and the world, and I discovered the warped ideologies that are in my story. The more I learned, the more I realized I needed to write this dystopian story about a possible future for America. I only meant to write one book and get back to my other stories. I wanted to end Chasing Liberty showing a seed of change being planted. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it. What exactly is this freedom we should be fighting for? And how can one person make a difference? The other two stories came to life very quickly and I had a few hurdles, but I never struggled with writers block on this trilogy.

EMC: I want to hear about how you wrote your fight scenes. They’re crisp and well-detailed without ever being gory or gratuitous. How easy or difficult were those scenes to write?  What advice do you have for writers who balk at describing violence?

TL: Thank you! I love reading a good fight scene so I really work to make mine strong. Once I’ve decided the story needs a fight scene, I keep in mind the trigger, whether it’s emotional or physical, and how I want the fight to end. Then I do everything from watching wrestling on Youtube and my own boys goofing off in the backyard to acting out a scene myself. (Please don’t try to picture that). Then I try to consider the blow-by-blow actions but, more importantly, what thoughts would be going through the point of view character’s mind. I also try to make sure that the fight scenes are relevant, that they change the direction of the story, reveal something about the characters to the readers, or bring some new insight to characters. And if weapons are involved, whether it’s the Pennsylvania Rifle Liberty struggled to use in the 3D game in Testing Liberty or the Mossberg tactical shotgun Silver had in Fight for Liberty, I do my research so I can make it real.

Testing Liberty Brown RedI don’t believe in glamorizing violence, and I don’t believe it’s necessary to be gory or gratuitous, but some level of violence was needed to tell this story. I think it’s important for a writer who is telling a story of good versus evil to use their skills to allow the reader to feel the effects of this battle. Glossing over the violence would have dimmed the effect I hope to achieve in telling this story. I hope with my trilogy to compel the reader to fight for faith, family and freedom for themselves and for their neighbor. While the fight doesn’t need to be physical, it does need to be.

EMC: Ah, Dr. Supero, the villain we love to hate to love! I was so moved by his character arc through the series.  Talk to us about what is was like to write a character who simultaneously skeeves us out and breaks our hearts. 

TL: Yes, Dr. Supero… I loved and hated him all through writing the trilogy! Slipping into his mind to write his point of view was not a pleasant experience, although sometimes he had me laughing my head off. But this character was necessary to the story because he represents the type of person a hedonistic society would create. He’s selfish, twisted, and arrogant. He thinks anyone who disagrees with him needs to change. Even when personally faced with the devastating consequences of an all-controlling government, he clings to the poisonous ideologies that had been fed to him since his youth. On the one hand you want to say, “Ha! You got what you deserved!” but on the other hand, you feel sorry for him. He was raised in a godless society without the faith that can sustain a person in tough times, without a family that gives you a feeling of belonging and teaches you true love, and without the freedom to really consider truth.

EMC: This was a delightfully complex plot! What’s your method for keeping all those strings together?

TL: While most of my actual writing is done on a laptop, I need something concrete when I plan a story. So I use index cards that I can move around and continuous form paper (the kind used in old dot-matrix printers) for making a timeline. Then, when there is so much going on in the story and I need to make sure I don’t mix things up, I use game pieces from Sorry and Parcheesi and place them all around the table! With this trilogy, as I was thinking each thread through, one thread would interfere with others, so I had to keep adjusting them. I have to say, a few characters really took over and changed the direction of things several times.  

EMC: Dedrick, Finley, Camilla, Rayna… Tell us how you found the names for some of your characters and what they signify. 

TL: I find all the names doing online searches. I gave the colonists versions of Christian saint names and I gave the Aldonians gender neutral names. Each baby in the government-run cities receives a computer generated name. Gender is not emphasized in this future, so the names are meant to reflect that.

The Mosheh, who rescue people from the Egypt of the day, is named after Moses. The city and community names also have meaning. The deep ecology movement (the one that believes humans are a plague on the earth) is largely responsible for bringing about the world government, drastically reducing population numbers, and setting up the fenced-in cities, so I named Aldonia and Jensenville after key figures in the deep green movement.

EMC: Who are some authors whose works you think may have influenced the way you told Liberty’s story? Why does their work speak to you as a writer, do you think?

TL: While I hadn’t read many dystopian stories before writing Chasing Liberty, I’ve always liked reading books that make me think. I had to read George Orwell’s 1984 when I was in high school. I later read Logan’s Run by William Nolan and watched the movie Soilent Green. Every one of these dystopian stories made me consider what I had, what we as Americans have, and what we stand to lose. I wanted to tell a story that makes readers think, a story that jumps into a possible future for us if we don’t take a stand for the things that matter.

EMC: I keep thinking of Liberty as half “our” Hunger Games, half “our” Handmaid’s Tale. How accurate do you think that is?  

TL: I’ve been told that before!

Chasing Liberty and The Hunger Games: You have the strong female lead, growing relationships between characters, and tons of action. In The Hunger Games the Capitol uses televised reality games to serve as a reminder of their power and to keep the people entertained and distracted from a harsh reality. In the Liberty Trilogy, the government uses 3D games for similar reasons: reinforcing their ideologies and keeping people pacified so they don’t strive for more.

Chasing Liberty and The Handmaid’s Tale:  You have a strong totalitarian government that uses a form of religion to control the people, sterility issues, and a main character who is supposed to help maintain population growth, though they would never get to raise their own child.

All three stories concern societies with controlling governments that have squashed individual rights. The government in the Liberty Trilogy more closely resembles the totalitarian government in The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood believed that in order for the United States to succumb to a dictatorship, the government would need to stand on some form of religion. The government in Handmaid uses bad interpretations of the Old and New Testament to justify reducing women to a lesser class and punishing rebellious behavior. The religion the government uses in Chasing Liberty is an earth-centered one. They justify an all-controlling government and population control because of their belief that humans, when left to themselves and without tight government control, will destroy nature and each other.

EMC: If someone from a more, ahem, “Regimen”-minded worldview were to read the Liberty series, how do you think the books would make him/her think and feel?  What do you hope this type of reader would take away from the series?

TL: I would hope that anyone of any frame of mind would enjoy them, but some will probably wonder where I got the strange pro-earth, anti-human ideologies. They couldn’t possibly be real. They are real. I hope that anyone troubled by what they read, will do their own research.

I believe most people with strong political beliefs are sincere. They want to be responsible for themselves and others. They want the government to be responsible. Some want the government to step in and “do all things for all people” and for the earth. I want to inspire my reader to trust the individual’s willingness and ability to care for the things that matter most, and to see that a strong society is not brought about by a big government but by strong families. Faith, family, and freedom are the cornerstones of a strong society, the cornerstones of the United States of America.
EMC: Is this really the end of the series? Will Shaneka ever pop back up and do something about that mark on Dedrick’s arm?!

TL: I believe this is the end of the series, but these characters are still with me so I can’t say for sure. I will most likely write a few short stories as companions to the trilogy. I have one in mind about the family who owned the bunker mentioned in Chasing Liberty. I also have two completed short stories that sprung from the Liberty Trilogy. One takes place before the trilogy begins, and is free to all newsletter subscribers, the other picks up where the trilogy leaves off. This story will be part of an anthology called Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body from Full Quiver Publishing. Look for the anthology to come out this October. And somewhere in the back of my mind there are the Sons of Liberty…

Thanks, Erin, for the great questions! I am so happy you liked my trilogy!

Thank YOU, Theresa, for the great interview!

Theresa Linden, author of the Liberty TrilogyRaised in a military family, Theresa Linden developed a strong patriotism and a sense of adventure. She began writing in grade school and her passion for writing has never waned. Love for faith, family, and freedom inspired her to write the Chasing Liberty trilogy, a dystopian story about a future she hopes never becomes a reality. She is also the author of award-winning Roland West, Loner, first in a series of Catholic teen fiction. A member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the International Writers Association, she balances her time between family, homeschooling, and writing. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband, their three adopted boys, and a sweet old dog named Rudy.