Guide to a ‘mum-style’ indie book launch

What visions come to mind when you think of a book launch? A cosy library filled with grown-ups? Manicured hands clutching tall champagne flutes? A reading or two?

Let me introduce you to the ‘mum-style’ indie launch done via a laptop with sticky keys.

Let’s assume the book is ready for publishing—the hard work done. You have written the manuscript, re-written it, edited it, edited it again, polished it, sent it to beta readers, edited it again, sent it to an actual editor, revised it, sent it to a proof-reader, more edits. You have your cover, blurb, and you’ve sent it to your Launch Team.

You’re good to go.

In theory, you should be able to submit your files to your preferred publishers and have the book live within a day or so *laughs hysterically and wipes a tear from her eye*. I have heard it happens that way for some people—but not me. I need five days to allow for all the things that will go wrong. Here’s how it looks for us hot-mess mums.

Submit everything five days prior and wait 24 hours to receive an email from a robot telling you your book has been rejected due to (insert reason here you have never heard of). It’s all good—you have a few days up your sleeve. Pat yourself on the back for your excellent contingency plan. Fix issue and go through the entire process again. Remember, you still have four days.

Three days out your book is live. Pat yourself on the back for being early. Open published files to gloat and immediately find a typo that was missed the previous 9738 times it was read by multiple people. All good. Upload new files to all publishers and pat yourself on the back one more time for your excellent contingency plan.

Two days out receive confirmation from publishers that your book is live. Go you. Pat yourself on the back for being early. Receive email from a launch team member who found a typo that is different to the one you found. Consider leaving it there in hope that all of your readers will just ‘skim read’, then remember that one reader who would love to discover that one typo and leave a scathing one-star review pointing out an error that will stain your book for the entirety of its life. Fix typo and re-submit the files to your publishers.

One day out the book is live. Don’t look at it. Don’t even glance in its direction. Just congratulate yourself for being ready on time and spend the day with the kids making muffins (that you will eat in one sitting due to forgetting to eat for the last few days) and umpiring Lego fights.

It’s Launch Day.

Peel your exhausted body off the mattress at some ungodly hour to get launch day tasks done before kids get up. Wait for one of the kids to hear you up and join you in the dark to talk about Beyblades until the rest of the kids are up demanding food. Take seven-year-old to school, wonder if husband is alive and well, piece house back together while you wait for nap time to complete the launch tasks you didn’t finish that morning. Beg two-year-old to nap. Give five-year-old the iPad and have him sit next to you saying, ‘Mum. Mum. Mum, look at this’, for entire nap period. Abandon unfinished tasks to do school pick up and keep kids alive until reinforcements arrive. Beg kids not to fight at the dinner table, and if they actually stop, count that as a Launch Day celebration. Do dishes, piece house back together again, and dream of that expensive bottle of champagne that your husband brought for the last book launch that is still unopened in the fridge. Wrestle kids into bed and complete all the tasks you did not get done that day. Fall asleep immediately after. Wake at 3:30am with amazing book idea. Stay awake planning it and then realise that your judgement has been impaired by lack of sleep and the book idea was not that good. Get up before the kids wake and respond to emails asking when the next book is being released because they read it in one sitting instead of rationing it out to make the gap between books seem smaller (just jokes). Ask them if they can babysit and dead pan when they respond with laughter. Hold eyes open for the rest of day and text husband to tell him to be home for dinner because if the champagne doesn’t get opened that night it is going into a breakfast smoothie the next day. Eat tacos and drink champagne with kids who have no idea what you’re celebrating and don’t care because, well, tacos. Fall into bed and sleep for a week—or 2.5 interrupted hours because you have children.

Next, do it all again because you ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.