BOOK LAUNCH: Afterglow

Thank you Thank you Thank you to family, friends (new and old!) for stopping by THE LADYBUG RACE Book Launch table this weekend!  Since I have no where else to pour my appreciation and gratefulness out - I am using THE BLOB BLOG this week to do so!  A new sheet of BLOBS will be available tomorrow (Tuesday).

I reached out to many, many people about this Launch and was thrilled with the support and visits I received.  There were even two special individuals I had not seen in 20+ years that stopped by!  I was absolutely humbled the entire day and treasure all of you!

For those who could not make it - welcome to a digital tour of my table and a little behind the scenes scoops.  There was a lot of prep that went with this launch.  I'm talking a whole lot of little-studio-space-worth-of-prep (from carpet tips to mid wall) and before all of that prep accumulated, I began with the big question, "What do I need?!" for a successful launch (besides books of course!).

Research led me to Prizes, Giveaways and Activities.  All were incorporated at the BookFest...including one fun one I threw into the mix: a SURPRISE!

Let's break it down...

PRIZES:  With so many ladybugs in THE LADYBUG RACE, I wanted to ask my visitors (young and old), how many ladybugs THEY thought were in the race.  This would provide an engaging activity I could follow up with post-launch.  I created a circular double-sided card people could enter their guess + contact info on and displayed the question near a set of artwork (they could use this page from the book to estimate).  The winning guess would win a Giclee print plus a copy of the book:

 

And because it was a gusty day, my little insect chocolates were extra handy - holding down my cards along with other promotional material:

Pomegranate also sent me a few wonderful items from their insect collection to give away as prizes.  I randomly placed "Golden Ladybugs" on books, and if a customer purchased a book with a ticket, they could pull a prize from the grab bag! 

GIVEAWAYS:  I designed bookmarks that were available for any one stopping by to take...

I also unbelievably found chocolate ladybugs at our local chocolate shop, Gayle's, a few weeks before the launch and thought they would be the perfect treat that day.  They were peanut butter + chocolate though, so I decided to add butterflies and bees (made with chocolate only) for anyone with allergies:

When we had leftovers after the fest, I sent the kids out to share my chocolate treats (taped to bug self-promo postcards) with fellow exhibitors.  This was the idea of my fabulous friend who was assisting me with the launch all day long. 

ACTIVITIES: I did some pre-sharing of my LADYBUG MEDAL activity via Twitter & Facebook page days before the Launch.  However I explained how the activity worked to new visitors and showed the half-size paper medals and bulletin board.

This postcard was available at the table for local teachers/educators.

This postcard was available at the table for local teachers/educators.

This is an image I posted on my FB & Twitter page showing how the necklace can go from holding a single medal to a book of medals.

This is an image I posted on my FB & Twitter page showing how the necklace can go from holding a single medal to a book of medals.

This was my mini bulletin board, another easy way for a classroom to display a collection.

This was my mini bulletin board, another easy way for a classroom to display a collection.

A copy of each Medal type (Helpfulness & Kindness) were on the table for those stopping by.

A copy of each Medal type (Helpfulness & Kindness) were on the table for those stopping by.

The last item remaining was the...SURPRISE

When the thought of doing classroom/library visits started to take shape in my mind, I wondered how on earth I would get the attention of kids with a book that had no words AND the characters all ranged in size from 4mm-8mm roughly.  I couldn't expect them to follow the story as intently if they were seeing it from a distance versus by my side on a cozy couch.   How could I engage them from the very beginning?

They needed something they could feel, touch and get to know before the story started.  Then kids could point the ladybugs out in the pages as the story went on.  My goal: Immersion. 

I needed a pair of soft toy ladybug prototypes.

I did a relentless search...starting with Etsy.  I found someone whose work felt like it fit well with my ladybugs, but - turned out to be unavailable.  Feeling a little discouraged, I decided to just take a break from the idea...

A few weeks later, I searched again.  This time I looked more specifically and got the name of Abby Glassenberg.  I dropped Abby a note and told her about my project which she quickly responded to.  She was unavailable due to her focus on teaching versus prototyping,  but referred me to another soft toy designer, Karen Laude, along with a high recommendation.  I was elated to learn about Karen.  I felt like I discovered gold!  After happily looking through her work via her Etsy shop we began exchanging emails.  She shared her previous experience...over 35 years worth in the Toy industry, which included time at Knickerbocker Toy Company and Coleco Industries.  Her work roared with tremendous talent. 

I sent her sketches (was thrilled to get into product design again!), lots of ladybug reference and a list of features that could not be compromised.  The bugs had to be able to "hold hands" (excellent for fine motor skill practice) and have working wings so kids could marvel in the anatomy of a creature that was so tiny.  We then talked on the phone about my vision and how the prototypes would be used.  Karen was an absolute pleasure to talk to and quickly had verve plus a solid understanding for the project. 

In my research on existing soft toy ladybugs, one theme was consistent.  Every ladybug looked the same!  It was a bit alarming to see how we so easily grew accustomed to antenna placement, when a ladybug's "feelers" are really under their eyes!

We collaborated throughout the summer...

and 5 days before the launch - they arrived!  Karen did a phenomenal job and I couldn't have asked for a finer pair of prototypes! 

The last TO DO for me was adding spots.  If they were ever produced, a printing process would be used for manufacturing. 

Drawing spots on a larger scale was much easier.

Drawing spots on a larger scale was much easier.

Then...it felt only right to make a leaf for them to power nap on after a long race...

These bugs are completely cuddle-worthy and will add another level of fun to my school/library visits!

I hope this Afterglow scoop serves as a helpful tool to others when thinking about their own launch!

Thanks for stopping in and check back tomorrow for BLOBS #54!