FEARLESS FRIDAY with Austin Aslan: Fear not your SECOND book launch…

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This past weekend I celebrated the launch of my second novel, The Girl at the Center of the World. It is the sequel to my fall 2014 debut, The Islands at the End of the World. I can’t tell you how much I FEARED–and how long I agonized over–doing a second book launch so soon after the first.

Now, this is a good problem to have as an author, to be sure. But believe it or not, for me at least, it was an issue. The first book launch was fun. It was a celebration of an accomplishment, a life long goal, a really, really difficult goal. Getting a book published deserves a party. It’s like a wedding. Or, what’s the opposite of a retirement party? Anyway, you get the idea: Victory! Let’s celebrate!

My debut book launch last August for THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Hey, everybody, look at ME! Yay!

My debut book launch last August for THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD. Hey, everybody, look at ME! Yay!

But I was a debut author, with zero following, except for family and friends. SOOO…guess who I dragged out to my big “Me” celebration? Everyone I knew. So many great folks, God bless them, obliged. They came out. I gave them some free food and drinks to make it worth their while. They went through the dog and pony show with me. I speechified about writing and becoming an author. I read a passage. They bought books and I signed them (weird, btw, but cool). It was a glorious day. A wonderful celebration. A big wet and warm blanket of love. For me. Yay!

Now…fast forward to exactly one year later.

The book monster industrial complex must be fed. Promotion. Publicity. Launch, launch, launch!!!

I’m supposed to do that all over again?

Yikes.

It’s not like I have a huge fan base at this point. ISLANDS has been trucking along, but I could see from a mile away that a sequel launch that didn’t have the feel of crickets chirping was going to require me having to drag all those same people out of the woodwork again. I dreaded the idea of putting everyone I knew back in that situation.

So I didn’t. Not exactly.

Instead, I dragged all of my friends and family out to something completely different.

Here’s what I did, and I think you should keep this trick in the back of your mind should you ever find yourself thrust into a similar situation:

JOINT BOOK LAUNCH!

And…

*wait for it*

…FOR CHARITY!

I partnered with another local Random House author who was fretting about the same situation. Amy K. Nichols’ While You Were Gone was also due for fall lift-off. It was very convenient that our books released on the same day, and that they were both sequels, and both YA science fiction–but I firmly believe that’s not necessary for this to work.

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Our joint event was so incredibly refreshing. We each received double the audience for the amount of work we had to do. We were able to cross-pollinate our fan bases. It was wonderful working with Amy and getting to know her better. We have a real resource in each other moving forward in this crazy industry. We were able to share the stage. It was such a relief to not be the only one up there!

And we partnered with a local literacy charity, Kids Need to Read, to conduct a raffle. The representative was given several minutes to share their charity’s mission with our audience, they were given wonderful press in the newspaper, and we raised some serious funds for them.

Check out the amazing press we got out of this idea. The Arizona Republic put out a full half page SUNDAY article the weekend before our event!

All in all, it was the perfect solution to our fears. I highly recommend doing something similar with your subsequent book launches.

Austin Aslan was inspired to write his young adult sci-fi survival eco-thrillers THE ISLANDS AT THE END OF THE WORLD and THE GIRL AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD while living with his wife and two children on the Big Island of Hawai`i, where he earned a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology. A National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, he can often be found exploring the wilds of northern Arizona in a tent on a punctured air mattress or on Twitter at @laustinspace.
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