Top 10 Book Launch Dos, A Few Don’ts & The Power of Roberta




Penny & Jelly



Welcome One & All!

Invite your family, friends, new and old neighbors and acquaintances from all walks of life—you never know who will come! I expected my mother, siblings and their families to be there, but I was surprised by some cousins, some of my former classmates from St. Joseph’s elementary school—even my daughter’s kindergarten and 5th grade Montessori teachers drove up from Boston!



Ms. Rubina, Maria, Ms. Jutta, Anya & cousin, Brynn.

My high school English teacher popped by too, though I didn’t have a chance to speak with him. My Emu’s sister, Tam came, as did my new writer friend Cathy and her daughter, Grace.



An old neighbor, Jennifer came, as did many of my mother’s current neighbors. But by far the most people in attendance were friends of my mother’s (see # 1 :)).


Get Happy!

This may be obvious, but it bears repeating—have fun! You’re here to celebrate your book’s birthday and your journey to becoming a published author.

Tam as a silly musician-magician and Maria as a snake charmer.




C is for Cookies!

Did you say cookies? Who doesn’t love a cookie? I had two kinds of cookies, themed sugar cookies: dog, bone and pawprint shaped, and the quintessential American classic, chocolate chip cookies. Ask your friends and family for help. My mother made one batch of chocolate chip cookies, and Karen, my sister-in-law, made a second; I made the sugar cookies. They were eaten before I could get a good picture ;).



Everyone loves Freebies!

I prepared a basket of goodie bags with postcards, a Penny & Jelly notepad, mini-pen, stickers & business cards in a drawstring organza bag.





Calling all techies!

Tech support is a must, especially if you’re technically challenged like me! My techie husband, Niko, set up the slide show for me, and cleverly slowed down the pace when I began to read too quickly. He also designed both my website as well as the Penny & Jelly website.






Delegate, delegate, delegate! Niko helped me set up tables, the screen and projector for the slideshow. I had a basket with different colored pens (thanks for this idea, Megan!), and my niece Brynn’s job was to ask people which colors they’d like to have their books signed in. She also helped with props and drew the winning raffle ticket (see #4).



Anya and nephew, Aidan, expertly took down names and numbers for the raffle tickets.  My sister,  Lee Lee handed out cookies.





Aidan (before his raffle duties began).


Grand Prize Drawing!

Along with the freebies, have some kind of prize for people who buy your book. Those who purchased a copy of Penny & Jelly were entered into a raffle for a gift basket for each book purchased. My raffle basket contained a signed copy of Penny & Jelly, a Penny & Jelly tote bag, a Penny & Jelly “best friends” mug, assorted postcards and stickers, doggy cookie cutters, a feather boa and a kazoo. Anya tied the perfect bow.




Keep it Local!

Give back by organizing a community and theme-oriented charity event tie-in. Since I love dogs, and Penny & Jelly celebrates a bond between a girl and her canine best friend, I organized a goods drive with the local animal shelter, the Monadnock Humane Society. Anya decorated a collection box for food, toys and towels, the items they most needed.




I bought a cute pawprint jar at the Dollar Store and we collected over $50.00 which was totally unexpected, and wonderful. I also offered to donate $1 per book sold (but ended up contributing more, since they ran out, see #1). The Monadnock Humane Society was happy to help advertise the event on Facebook.  Lincoln, the Toadstool Events Manager, also partnered with a local pet store, One Stop Country Pet Supply, who placed a box for in-store donations. And I felt really happy about helping local animals in a small way—win-win!  ❤


Get Curious about Curious City!

Hire Kirsten Cappy—marketing guru extraordinaire! Seriously! She’s smart, savvy, creative and so down-to-earth! She designed my business cards, postcards, notepads as well as the Penny & Jelly banner for kids to “be” Penny and pose with Jelly and a variety of props from the book, featuring original art by the über-talented, Thyra Heder.












The Power of Roberta :)!

Spread the word aka—the power of Roberta, my mother, who has a ton of friends, and invited them all. Thanks, Mom!!



Roberta, in blue, among friends.

This may give you a hint, to quote her granddaughter, Brynn who ran errands with her one day, “Nonna—you know too many people.”




Better yet, hire Roberta to do some publicity for you—there’s one catch: you must come to Keene, where she knows everyone :). I don’t exactly know how many people attended, but the Toadstool had only ordered 30 books, and they sold out quickly, and many more people wanted to buy copies. I just ordered a bunch of plain bookplates that I can sign and send to the Toadstool for those unable to buy signed copies that day. They’re also useful to send to family and friends who live far away but want their owned signed copies.



Three siblings: Lee Lee, Maria & Michael.



Don’t worry, be happy :).

It’s about celebrating, not sales (see # 9 Dos).



Smile! I really dislike being the center of attention and public speaking, but once I began talking and engaging with the audience, I relaxed, and it actually became fun.




Long Presentation:

Short and sweet is key, especially when there are lots of kids in the audience. And if you’re like me, you’ll be happy when you can just chat with people one-on-one.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped out and attended, those both near and far, and thanks to my fellow Emu’s Debuts for supporting the virtual Penny & Jelly book launch! ❤


Just one more thing: it’s time to announce the lucky winner of Tamara Ellis Smith’s ANOTHER KIND OF HURRICANE launch: LINDA MARTIN ANDERSEN!!!

Congrats, Linda!! You’ve won a signed book plus a lucky marble keepsake. Please contact us with your mailing address.


Thanks to all who stopped by last week to leave comments!

And don’t forget to join us in August when we launch Penny Parker Klostermann’s THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON starting August 3rd, as well as Luke Reynolds’s THE LOONEY EXPERIMENT on August 10th!


Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Photo of Maria & Becca by Monogram Arts Photo.


Maria writes fiction and nonfiction picture books while dog Becca snores at her feet. This is what they do when they’re not writing (or snoring).  Her debut picture book, Penny & Jelly: The School Show, illustrated by Thyra Heder, was released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  on July 7, 2015. A second book, Penny & Jelly Slumber Under the Stars, will follow in June 2016. Maria has both fiction and  nonfiction picture books forthcoming from Roaring Brook Press, Aladdin Books and Boyds Mills Press. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary. To learn more, please visit her website:, or visit Maria at Facebook.






Filed under Uncategorized

27 responses to “Top 10 Book Launch Dos, A Few Don’ts & The Power of Roberta

  1. Maria,
    This was a super book launch and charity event combo. Great attendance! What fun! And this post is a great resource for writers working toward publication. I’m saving this one! Thank you for sharing.

    I’m also extremely happy to hear that I won a copy of Another Kind of Hurricane. Thank you Tamara Ellis Smith for this great prize. I am excited about reading and owning it. I’ll send my mailing address right away.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi EMUs, Great news.  I heard I won a copy of Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith.  I’m so pumped up!  I wish Tamara and all EMUs much success with your writing and publications.  If the book will be autographed, please address it to Linda. Please send the book copy to:Linda Andersen1862 Cedar Creek RoadFayetteville, NC 28312  Thank you so very much! What a great gift.Linda Join me at “A Writer’s Playground” | mariagianferrari posted: “INSPIRED BY PENNY, LIST-MAKER & CROSS-OUT QUEEN:       DOS: 10.Welcome One & All!Invite your family, friends, new and old neighbors and acquaintances from all walks of life—you never know who will come! I expec” | | Respond to this post by replying above this line |

    | | |

    | New post on EMU’s Debuts | |

    | | | | Top 10 Book Launch Dos, A Few Don’ts & The Power of Roberta by mariagianferrari |

    INSPIRED BY PENNY, LIST-MAKER & CROSS-OUT QUEEN:          DOS:   10. Welcome One & All! Invite your family, friends, new and old neighbors and acquaintances from all walks of life—you never know who will come! I expected my mother, siblings and their families to be there, but I was surprised by some cousins, some […]Read more of this post mariagianferrari | July 20, 2015 at 2:00 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: | Comment |    See all comments |    Like |



    | Unsubscribe to no longer receive posts from EMU’s Debuts. Change your email settings at Manage Subscriptions. Trouble clicking? Copy and paste this URL into your browser: |


    | |


    | Thanks for flying with |



  3. Cathy Ballou Mealey

    After chatting with Roberta for just a few minutes, it’s quite easy to understand why she has so many friends! Plus, the apples did not fall far from the tree. Congratulations again on a wonderful celebration!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maria, Congratulations on a great book launch. And thanks for the tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mariagianferrari

    Thanks, Mylisa :).


  6. Janet Fox

    Such a useful list!! Many thanks and many congrats, Maria!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mariagianferrari

    Many thanks to you, Janet :).


  8. Wonderful ideas, Maria? I have searched in vain for bookplates but can’t find them in bookstores or online. So handy for mailing to those who have already bought books! Could you tell me, please, where you got yours? I need to order some. Thanks and congrats! Carole

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mariagianferrari

    Thank you, Carole! I ordered them on Amazon. It says that they’re laser and inkjet bookplates, but they’re supposed to be adhesive. I haven’t received them yet, so if you want to wait, I can let you know how they are. One of the reviewers indicated that she used them for signings, so I thought they’d be suitable, and they were reasonably priced at under $20 for a pack of 150.

    Here’s the link:


  10. Maria, I’m so glad – but not at all surprised – that your launch was a happy success. You are delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Woo hoo! Congratulations! Sounds like it was a great party. And thanks for the list of tips. Hope I’ll get to use them someday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds fabulous! Congrats on your launch!! I’m so happy it went well!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. kevanjatt

    Looks like a terrific launch, Maria! One more DO for the book stores…DO order more books than you think you’ll need!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. mariagianferrari

    So true! Thanks, Kevin 😉


  15. Debra Shumaker

    Sounds like you had a fantastic book launch. Congratulations!!!!! It’s a super book.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. mariagianferrari

    So nice of you to say–thanks, Deb!


  17. Christine Hayes

    Yay, Maria! Such an informative and FUN post! Looks like you had a really fabulous launch. Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. mariagianferrari

    Thanks, Christine!! I hope the joint EMLA one went well too!


  19. Such great advice! I wish I could have been there. Congratulations, Maria!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. mariagianferrari

    I would have loved to have met you, Jean! Hopefully some day at an EMLA retreat!! Thanks!!


  21. Thanks for all the advice! It sounds like your launch was so much fun!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. mariagianferrari

    Thanks, Penny–it was! Looking forward to celebrating your virtual launch here very soon!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.