How to Organize and Launch a Kick-ass Virtual Book Launch Event at Little Cost

Today’s post was written for us by Linda Jämsén as one of the stops in her blog tour for her new memoir, Odyssey of Love. Check out her bio below and then read on to see what she has to say about creating a virtual launch.

Linda Jämsén is an American expat writer-musician living in Finland. She grew up in New York, holding a book in one hand while exploring the piano keyboard with the other. Mesmerized by her mother’s playing of the Romantic repertoire, she soon studied piano with her and later graduated with a B.A. in Music from Bard College. Linda is also an avid choral singer and has performed in Hungary, Finland, the UK, and Israel.

During her years in Boston, Linda raised funds for a variety of philanthropic causes and completed the graduate management course at Radcliffe Seminars/Harvard. However, longing to return to her musical roots, in 2001 she moved to Budapest, land of her musical idol, Franz Liszt. There, she volunteered for the Music Academy in his name and received a CELTA certificate from International House, where she then taught English as a foreign language. Her musical, romantic, and travel adventures abroad inspired her to write Odyssey of Love: A Memoir of Seeking and Finding, her literary debut.

Linda lives on an island in Helsinki with her husband, the “tall man with glasses” from the memoir, and their treasured Russian icon. A sequel, Triptych, is in the works.

To follow the author, visit her website at www.lindajamsen.com.

———-Guest post below by Linda Jämsén———-

When I decided to self-publish my first book, Odyssey of Love: A Memoir of Seeking and Finding, last fall,I thought without a doubt that the easing of pandemic restrictions would allow me to host a live launch event the following June 1, my birthday. I imagined a celebration with live music, fanciful decorations, and a buffet of Hungarian food and wine featured in my memoir. I’d read a few scenes from Odyssey, sign some books, and maybe even play a Liszt piano piece or two.

But early in 2021, as Covid-19 variants swept through Finland, where I live, it became clear I needed a new Plan A. At first, I was disappointed at having to reorganize plans, but in hindsight, the virtual launch I organized was the best birthday present I could have given myself. Here’s why:

János on tour
  • More inclusive

Friends and family from around the U.S. and Europe were able to attend the event with a zoom link in the comfort of their homes without the added cost of purchasing roundtrip tickets to Helsinki. Over sixty people attended: childhood and college chums, former colleagues, fellow authors, and Hungarian friends I’d met during my time in Budapest. It was heartwarming to see so many dear ones coming together to support my publishing efforts. Unlike a live event, where guests would be moving around and mingling, I also had their undivided attention for one hour.

  •  “Touring” book locations

Since much of my memoir is based in Budapest, I offered viewers a taste of Hungary’s capital city. A local friend there, János, offered to visit and videotape locations from the book, such as the Opera House, the Liszt Music Academy, and the Danube. Then, he talked about events that had transpired (like an unexpected marriage proposal!) at those very spots. For many of us who’d been isolated for a year and a half and missed traveling, János’s tour was a real treat. (See: János on tour above.)

Daphne sings in Greece
  •  Music

In lieu of a live band, I asked a dozen of my talented musician friends and family members to contribute video clips. The result was nine varied and lively performances featuring singers from Palestine and Greece, a British guitarist, and an Estonian violinist. Even Alfred Hitchcock’s “grandson” made an appearance and played his accordion.

  •  Involving characters from the book

Several of my friends who appear as characters in Odyssey offered to introduce themselves to the other launch guests. One, Ágnes, shared our experiences as members of the Budapest Academic Choral Society and then sang a Hungarian folksong. Another, Gretchen, read an excerpt with me that included dialogue from an encounter years earlier at the Turkish eatery we often visited.

  •  Slide show

In addition to Budapest, we also “visited” Ephesus, Turkey and a Greek island (photo 4), both settings in the book. At the end of the event, the love song “I Will Be Here” was performed, and a slide show of my wedding day photos was presented. This was the perfect note to end on, as Odyssey is a happily-ever-after love story.

  •  Expense

The entire cost of the event was 200 dollars: 140 for the zoom link and 60 for the special launch day banner I hired a designer to create (see banner at top of page). Of course, there may be cheaper online connection options, and you can forgo the banner or make one yourself. I was also fortunate to have two friends help with the technical aspects of the event, including making the final edits. Overall, the virtual launch was much less expensive than hosting a live one, leaving more money for post-launch costs, such as marketing and promotion.

Although I didn’t get to organize my live dream launch event, I’m still savoring the rush I got from the virtual one. To those authors who find themselves in a similar situation, don’t lose heart! You can turn the situation around like I did and organize an even more memorable “kick-ass” celebration, which is how mine was described by attendees afterward.

Tips: Draw your launch guests into your story with photos or videos of your book’s locations. Ask others to join you in reading excerpts from your book, especially if it’s a memoir and your characters are willing to go public. Download music from your book’s playlist to share, or if you have musician friends, ask them to perform pre-recorded songs that relate to your book’s theme. Buy yourself a bottle of your favorite wine or champagne and enjoy your moment. You’ve certainly earned it!

Sue here – Thank you to Linda Jämsén for sharing the story of her launch. Please come back in two days (9/23) to read my review of her amazing memoir!

Book Tour: Odyssey of Love

Odysssey of Love

This week I’m taking part in the blog tour for Odyssey of Love by Linda Jämsén. I hope you’ll stop by again later in the week. On Tuesday, Linda has a guest post for us all on how to launch your book online. And on Thursday, I’ll be reviewing the book.

Below is the book summary. Below that is a graphic with the various stops on the blog tour. This book is definitely one I would recommend!

Book summary:

When Linda doesn’t receive the marriage proposal she had long been expecting from her boyfriend on her 41st birthday, she reluctantly visits a psychic, Angelica, who predicts that Linda will soon leave him for a romantic and music-filled Odyssey in Europe. There, a “Russian icon” will lead to her future husband, a “tall man with glasses.”

Skeptical at first, but eager to explore her Eastern European roots and reignite her passion for music, Linda moves to Hungary, the land of her idol, composer-pianist Franz Liszt. In Budapest, she reinvents herself as an English teacher and joins a chorus. Soon, she’s performing at the Liszt Academy of Music and Tel Aviv’s Opera House.

With Angelica’s vision in mind, Linda vows to “settle down, not settle for,” but is tempted by romantic close calls: Gabi is gorgeous but too immature; David in Amsterdam fits Angelica’s description to a T, but his British reserve needs some defrosting. Liszt look-alike Ádám has it all, including a wife.

With her teaching and singing gigs ending, Linda flies to Finland for one last trip before moving back to Boston. But is her Odyssey truly over, or is it just beginning?

Publisher: Tulipan Press (May 2021)

Pages: 320

ISBN-10: ‎ 194860499X

ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1948604994

Genre: Memoir

Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. Make sure to add it to your GoodReads list.

Come back tomorrow for Linda’s guest post!

–SueBE

Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection & Only My Horses Know: Reviews

Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds

Today is my day to post for the blog tour for two titles form Editor 911 Kids – Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds and Only My Horses Know by Cinda Jo Bauman. And I have to say that I’ve been ready for days – these books were such a pleasure to read!

Before I share my reviews – my pleasure reading occurs before bed. It isn’t always easy to grab my attention at the end of the day. But both of these books succeeded and then some.

One of the best ways to get a feel for a press, such as Editor 911 Kids, is to read a variety of the books produced by the publisher. And these two books are varied!

As the title suggests, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds is a collection of stories to be read to the young reader. And that may be a good part of what hooked me. They reminded me of the stories my parents and grandparents read aloud to us.

Of all the stories in the book, my favorite was “The Hobbling Hermit,” about a hermit and his housemate, a clever mouse. It had the feel of a fairy tale or something like Uncle Wiggly, old and timeless.

Doesn’t sound like what your kids would be interested in? No problem because the tales in the book are varied. They include stories set at school, talking animals and more. This is definitely a book meant to be read and discussed. It is a perfect addition to your “family story time” bookshelf.

Only My Horses Know by Cinda Jo Bauman

Next up is Only My Horses Know by Cinda Jo Bauman. School has just started but twelve-year old Kylie Hannigan is struggling. She has to do her chores on the ranch as well as her Mom’s chores. Kylie loves the horses and doesn’t want to neglect them. So it is her school work that suffers.

Her best friend Joey knows that something is up but Kylie doesn’t feel like she can tell him what is wrong with her mom. After all, she doesn’t understand it herself. From the mood swings to days spent in bed or manic activity, Kylie takes her problems to God while wishing someone would step in and help.

Bauman has created a realistic story of a tween dealing with a parent’s mental illness. As a mom, it was hard to read, but I didn’t want to put this book down and finished it in two sittings. Kids who love horse stories will be pulled into the book with that part of the story. Kids eager for a story about a child growing in faith will find it in this book.

And writers? Read these books to get a feel for two authors who have done something atypical. One has written read-aloud stories that aren’t picture books. The other has written a secular book with a character with a strong faith who talks to God.

I’m curious to see what Editor 911 Kids publishes next!

–SueBE

Speculative Fiction in Series: Review of Public Display of Aggression by Hugh Fritz

Today is my day to post as part of the WOW! Women on Writing tour featuring book Public Displays of Aggression by Hugh Fritz. Check out this book to learn how to write speculative ficiton in series.

Why am I calling it speculative fiction vs fantasy or science fiction? Speculative fiction is any story set in something other than the real world. It can have imagined elements, fantasy or the supernatural. The world of Hugh Fritz looks a lot like our world but there is time travel, science fiction weaponry, and genies! So I’m using the broader term.

A quick summary of the book:

First, about the book:

Soleil and Flarence are brothers and immortal Genies, the sons of Mohinaux. They can shape the universe with their magic. They have long been the most powerful beings in the world, near immortal, but a human has created spell casting weapons. This is the first time the brothers have encountered magic in inanimate objects. Genies are normally resistant to magic but these spells impact them as well as their human allies.

They find themselves working against the human who has learned to harness magic, Darren (a Genie that was created not born), and an animated corpse. This former corpse is not only intelligent but fast and strong. He seeks revenge on his killers but resents being used by the others on his “team.”

How will it all play out? Who will still be standing on the last page? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Purchase Public Display of Aggression on AmazonOrganic BooksPageOne Books, and Barnesand Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Back to Sue and her review.

Fantasy is hard to do well. You’re introducing a complex story world and a host of characters. Often this is done with multiple points of view.

This is where a lot of readers give up. They get tired of guessing whose perspective they are currently experiencing. Hugh Fritz makes writing from several points of view work by simply announcing whose head the reader is in. Each change in point of view is marked by a subheading: Soleil, Flarence or Darren.

This eliminates this possible source of confusion.

Because this is a book in series, there is an overarching story. This story involves the interactions of a single Genie family, focusing on Soleil, Flarence, and Darren.

But each book also needs to have a stand alone story, something that happens in this particular book. In this book that story is the battle between two groups – the born genies and their allies vs Darren, the animated corpse, and a mad scientist.

Fritz does an excellent job of increasing the tension until the inevitable show down.

Series can be tricky to create. As a reader, I hate it when the book that I’ve just read feels like nothing more than the set-up for the next book. Fritz does an excellent job of creating books with individual story lines while also prepping the reader for the next book.

About the Author Hugh Fritz:

Hugh Fritz

Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves beings with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild. 

Find out more at: 

Website: http://www.hughfritz.com 
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Stories-by-Hugh-Fritz-397896477228957
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HughFritz1

–SueBE

Blog Tour for Hugh Fritz’s Public Display of Aggression

I’m excited to get to participate in the blog tour for Hugh Fritz’s Public Display of Aggression. My post won’t appear until June 23rd, but you can pop over to the Muffin to see the opening post, an interview with the author. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter drawing for a copy! You can see the full calendar below following the Book Summary and Author Bio.

Book Summary:

Soleil and Flarence are immortal Genies who can bend the fundamental forces of the universe through willpower alone. For centuries, they have considered themselves the most formidable beings in the world, but some newcomers just might give them a run for their money.

Magic has always been limited to living things. Throughout his life, Soleil has never come across an object with supernatural capabilities. Now, a human has somehow constructed guns with the ability to fire spells. Genies are normally resistant to offensive magic, but Soleil knows from experience that the enchanted revolvers harm all creatures equally.

Resurrection is one of the few limitations to a Genie’s abilities. Not even magic should be able to bring a person back from death. Recently, though, Flarence saw a corpse not only rise but also fight. Endowed with incredible speed and strength, the revived man seeks revenge on his murderers.

To make matters worse, Darren (the third member of the Genie “family”) is still missing. He’s been lying low, biding his time, but hasn’t forgotten about Officer Tymbir, and has every intention of settling their score.

Darren, the revived corpse, and the man with the magic guns have a list of people to kill, and are eager to spill blood. With the help of Mohinaux and Claire, Soleil and Flarence rush to locate them, uncover the sources of their powers, and find a way to stop them.

This book is perfect for adults who want to get in touch with their inner child!

Purchase Public Display of Aggression on AmazonOrganic BooksPage One Books and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author Hugh Fritz: Hugh Fritz is a fan of monsters, mad scientists, sorcerers, and anything that involves beings with incredible powers beating each other senseless. After years of writing research papers, he decided it was time to give reality a rest and let his imagination run wild.

Find out more at:

website:  http://www.hughfritz.com 

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/Stories-by-Hugh-Fritz-397896477228957

  — Blog Tour Calendar

June14th  @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of this incredible tale. Find out more about the author, Hugh Fritz, and enter to win a copy of Public Display of Aggression for yourself.  

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

June 15th @ A Storybook World with Deirdra Eden

Deirdra Eden shares the spotlight today – and in today’s spotlight it is none other than Hugh Fritz with Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series: Public Display of Aggression! Readers won’t want to miss an opportunity to dig into the magic of this incredible story!

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

June 16th @ Create Write Now with Mari McCarthy

There’s a guest author at Mari McCarthy’s Create Write Now and it’s the one and only Hugh Fritz who recently finished Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series. He’s busy promoting Public Display of Aggression but has taken time out of his busy schedule to write an informative post about “Using Bacteria and Fungus in Food”. Join readers at Create Write Now to learn more!

https://www.createwritenow.com/

June 17th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles

Nicole Pyles shares her thoughts as she reviews Public Display of Aggression by Hugh Fritz. Readers at World of My Imagination will put their imagination into overdrive with this fast-paced story involving plenty of magic. This is Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series but reads just as well as a stand-alone. Don’t miss today’s review by Nicole!

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

June 18th @ Bibliophile with Diti Shah

Diti Shah shares her book review with her Insta followers – find out what she thinks of Public Display of Aggression by Hugh Fritz! This is Book #2 of the Mystic Rampage Series that has delighted readers and left them wanting more!

https://www.instagram.com/she_a_bibliophile/

June 21st @  A Storybook World with Deirdra Eden

There’s a guest author at A Storybook World and it’s the one and only Hugh Fritz who recently finished Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series. He’s busy promoting Public Display of Aggression but has taken time out of his busy schedule to write an informative post about “Illustrations in Fantasy Novels”. This will be great for writers and readers alike.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

June 22nd @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Lisa Haselton interviews Hugh Fritz about the Mystic Rampage Series and Book #2 Public Display of Aggression. Don’t miss this insider opportunity to hear from the author himself – the man behind all the imagination and fun!

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

June 23rd @ One Writer’s Journey with Sue Bradford Edwards

Fellow author Sue Bradford Edwards offers her review of Public Display of Aggression by Hugh Fritz. Readers won’t want to miss her thoughts!

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

June 24th @ Knotty Needle with Judy Hudgins

Judy Hudgins keeps readers on the edge of their seat at the knotty needle blog as she reviews Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series . Readers will want to grab their own copy of Hugh Fritz’s Public Display of Aggression so they won’t miss a beat of this imaginative story!

http://www.knottyneedle.blogspot.com

June 30th @ Bookish Trischa

The spotlight is bright at Bookish Trischa and today it shines on Hugh Fritz and his latest creation Public Display of Aggression – Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the book everyone is talking about!

http://bookishtrisha.com

July 1st @ Book Santa Fe with Crystal Otto

Crystal Otto reads a lot and she loves a fast-paced imaginative story. Public Display of Aggression is 5 Stars and she can’t wait to tell readers more about it at Book Santa Fe today! This is the 2nd book in the Mystic Rampage series, but she says it reads great as a standalone. Read Crystal’s full review today!

http://www.booksantafe.info/booksantafeblog

July 7th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith

Readers of Varsha’s blog will hear from Hugh Fritz today in a post about “Fan Fiction” as he takes a break from promoting his latest book Public Display of Aggression. Don’t miss this guest post and opportunity to learn more about the Mystic Rampage Series and the man behind all the excitement!

sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com

July 9th @ Bring on Lemons with Carmen Otto

Carmen is an avid reader and soon to be high schooler – she loved Book #1 in the Mystic Rampage series and she joins us today to share her 5 Star Review of Book #2 – Public Display of Aggression by Hugh Fritz. Don’t miss her youthful insight!

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

July 10th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Readers of Author Anthony Avina’s Blog will hear from Hugh Fritz today as he pens a guest post titled “Preference of Series of Stand Alone Pieces”. This post will delight authors and readers alike – so don’t miss it! This is also a great opportunity to learn more about the Mystic Rampage Series and Book #2, Public Display of Aggression.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

July 12th  @ Bookish Trischa

Today is the day – Trischa reviews Public Display of Aggression – Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about and hear from Trischa herself as she shares her insight into the writings of Hugh Fritz.

http://bookishtrisha.com

July 7th @ Sreevarsha Sreejith

Today it’s Varsha’s opportunity to share her review of Public Display of Aggression. Don’t miss this chance to learn more about the fast-paced writing of Hugh Fritz and Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage series!

sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com

July 14th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

A few days ago, readers of Author Anthony Avina’s Blog heard from Hugh Fritz in a guest post: “Preference of Series of Stand Alone Pieces”. Now it’s review time – hear what Anthony has to say in his review of Public Display of Aggression, Book #2 in the Mystic Rampage Series by Hugh Fritz!

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

Blog Tour for Two Titles from Editor 911 Kids

I’m excited to get to participate in the blog tour for two titles form Editor 911 Kids. The publisher is fellow writer Margo Dill.

My post won’t appear here until July 2nd but you’ve got plenty of opportunities to read about these books before then. Visit the other blogs and leave comments to be entered to win an Amazon gift card. Don’t forget to fill out this form to be eligible.

Book Summary of Read Aloud Stories with Fred Collection

In this full collection of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, we have included all six stories from volumes 1 and 2, a bonus story “Looking Inside” by Margo L. Dill (only available in this collection), and a foreword by Margo also. Each story has an illustration to start the story along with a question for children to consider while the story is being read aloud to them (or older children can read to themselves). These stories are perfect for parents and grandparents to read to the children in their lives.

The stories are:

“Looking Inside” Join a kindergarten class as they learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he believed all people were the same on the inside.

“Ben and the Terrible Red Card” Ben is always getting in trouble at school, but he feels his teacher just misunderstands him. He’s trying!

“The Hobbling Hermit” The hermit’s feet hurt, and he takes out his grumpiness on his new housemate, a small, smart mouse.

“Sammy and the Cross-eyed Crow” Sammy lives in the jungle and talks to animals! What happens when he meets a crow who can’t fly straight?

“Ben and the Bully, Billy Bob” Here’s another Ben story, and this time, Ben’s in front of the principal’s office for a run-in with Billy Bob the Bully!

“The Cheerless Chairmaker” Fred Olds has written a new fairy tale with a poor, sweet chairmaker and a smart, savvy princess!

“Sammy and the Royal Rabbit” Sammy is back in the jungle with Jonathan the crow, and this time, he is visited by a rabbit who thinks he’s a king!

This is a very special collection of short stories by two experienced children’s authors. Don’t miss out on getting this collection today! 

Purchase Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Book Summary of Only My Horses Know

Life on a Montana horse ranch has always been the best for twelve-year-old Kylie Hannigan. She bonds with the horses, rides them with her friend Joey, and helps her mom train them. Plus she barrel races her favorite horse, Kiwi, and with plenty of practice and grit, they will definitely beat her rival Olivia this year.

But then, something starts happening with Kylie’s mom. She sleeps all the time, and Kylie has to do the chores, the training, and all the care for the horses–and it’s too much! At least it’s summer, so she doesn’t have to worry about school, and she can spend time talking to her favorite animals. One day, a strange-behaving horse with an even stranger name shows up for

training but is only ignored by Kylie’s mom. Training a difficult horse used to be a fun challenge Kylie could share with her mom, but that’s not even happening now.

Then her mom changes again, and she’s up doing everything—including cooking and cleaning in the middle of the night. Kylie still gets no rest because Mom thinks Kylie should be able to do it all, too. So when school starts and Mom’s behavior goes back and forth and back and forth, and then embarrasses Kylie in front of Joey more times than she can count, Kylie decides the only thing she can do is hide everything from everyone—accept her horses.

Kylie’s life spins out of control along with her mom’s. She can’t train for the barrel races with Kiwi or keep up with homework or talk to her best friend. What will it take to get her life back to the way it used to be? Or is that even possible?

Purchase Only My Horses Know on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to add this to your reading list on GoodReads.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have two books to read. You can read copies of both books and read more about the authors and the tour here on The Muffin.

–SueBE