As an indie author and self-publisher, I have launched previous books with traditional methods. These include blog posts, readings, press release, and a memoir class at my local library. I have signed books at a local bookstore and in a restaurant where a buffet table accompanied my reading. For my first children’s book, Silly Lily and the Polka-Dot Lunch, I wanted a non-traditional book launch. My children’s picture book is unique in my line-up of otherwise serious non-fiction (i.e. memoirs and Bible studies), so this time I designed a playful book launch for kids.
Lily, the star of my book as illustrated by Danika Capson, easily charmed my team of graphic designer, editors, reviewers, and early readers—all grown-ups. For the book launch, I wanted to introduce Lily to kids and then explore their reactions. I chose kids I volunteered with at church, asking their parents for permission to read my book. The parents knew that I was gifting a book copy, but the kids’ responses were spontaneous and fresh.
For the preschoolers, we started with gross motor activities to learn about circles and polka dots. Then we sat down to read the book, identifying shapes and colors on the pages. I discussed respect with school-aged kids, focusing on Lily’s body language and words in response to her mother. Another approach focused on the story progression as Lily refused and later—spoiler alert—tried new foods. With older siblings present, I had them loudly read the bold-font words, an activity that got everyone giggling.
Varying my approach based on the children’s ages, I evaluated their responses to the story’s themes. I love reading to children, whether they are non-readers, early readers, or precocious readers. Engaging young children and experiencing their perspectives resulted in a fun and unique book launch. It also helped me practice for my upcoming author visits to libraries and schools. No, this launch did not net me any sales or provide wide publicity, but those were not my goals. What a joy to read to kids and to see their responses to Lily. And what a surprise to later hear that my book became a favorite bedtime story!
Thank you to these precious families for giving me time with your children and allowing me to post your pictures.