Publishing my First Craft Book - Part 4
This is a 4-part series where I share the process of writing my first ever Crepe Paper Flower book. Click on the links below to read the whole series.
PART 1: Finding a publisher and getting my first book contract
PART 2: Writing my book and photography woes
PART 3: Things get real! Editing and putting together the final copy.
Part 4: Finally! It's all out in the open!
DECEMBER 2021 - JANUARY 2022
As Christmas drew near I had the wonderful opportunity to meet on Zoom with my marketing manager, Sophie. She gave me an overview of what I could expect over the next few months leading up to the official book launch, and we discussed what I had waited a entire year for - when I could finally formally announce to the world that I was publishing a book!
We decided to do the announcement around mid Jan and while I was very excited in December, I got increasingly nervous as January rolled around. I saw that other paper florists were also releasing books, and imposter syndrome hit me. It hit me HARD. These artists were amazing, and I didn't know if I deserved to be among their ranks. A thousand insecurities raced through my head, what if no one liked my book? What if no one even WANTED my book?
That was tough, which is why it was wonderful to receive words of support from my friends and followers after the announcement was made on my Instagram on January 21st. (Thank YOU by the way!!). I was never one with the highest self-confidence, and I'm a person who does seek reassurance from others, so just being able to share the news and have that kind of positive feedback meant the wolrd to me!
One of the cover options, but I'm glad we chose one that had more bugs!
While I finally announced the book and did an official cover reveal online on Jan 21st, I didn't actually get my hands on the book until March 2022 due to snail mail aha. My publisher mailed me an advance copy and it was too surreal. Yes, I did cry, out of joy and disbelief, because for a year everything's been all digital, and now finally it was REAL, THE BOOK WAS IN MY HANDS!
Here's me, hugging my baby :P
APRIL - MAY 2022
It was also time to dive into marketing. I worked hard at creating reels, instagram posts, and blog posts... anything to help spread the word! That was so important to me. I've seen books that are seemingly 'mysterious' and I always felt that it would be hard to connect to a book without being able to flip through the pages (even if its a digital version) but I went the other route and did as much as I could to share as much as the book as I can, without revealing the full book of course!
Looking back, I am really thankful I had instagram and social media to help me market the book. Even though it was a lot of work to make the reels and marketing posts, I wanted to do anything I could to reach out to a bigger audience. If one instagram reel could help me with just 1 book sale - especially when I've spent a year of my life devoted to this book baby - then I would say it's worth it!
I originally also had plans to travel to London if we could make a book launch event work over there, but alas, I was too ambitious with that dream! Instead, I decided to organize one in Singapore, and in the end of April I started reaching out to bookstores as soon as our Covid restrictions were reduced.
PLANNING A BOOK LAUNCH TURNED OUT TO BE MORE CHALLENGING THAN I EXPECTED.
To summarize the whole 'ordeal', I basically emailed almost every bookstore in Singapore (those that I believe would be keen to sell my book), and I ended up facing SO MUCH REJECTION. I'll be completely transparent - I know I'm not a big celebrity, nor did I expect every bookstore to welcome me with open arms (I understand stocking a book is not a simple process)... nonetheless I thought as a local author, that perhaps at least the smaller local bookstores would be happy for some foot traffic and some buzz. It was disappointing personally, and I definitely considered giving up completely, until one of my book sales managers suggested reaching out to art institutions instead.
Thankfully and very surprisingly, by God's grace, the National Gallery responded to my email and were very open to discussing the possibility of me having my book launch at their venue in exchange for workshops I could come teach for them. I felt that they were truly very keen to support local artists and it turned out to be just the best arrangement for me - I got to host my own event and plan it completely to my liking in a very pretty space.