How to Throw a Book Release Party: Part Two

In an ideal world, everyone who attends your book release party is going to buy your book. Of course, in this Blog Photossame ideal world, publishers beat down your door and plead for the honor of sharing your genius with the public. And then throw you a fabulous book release party that requires no effort whatsoever on your part. When it comes to writing, I live in an alternate universe in which anything can happen. When it comes to publishing and marketing, I occupy reality.

But there’s no rule that reality has to be a drab, serious sort of place. If I’m going to live in a reality in which not everybody who attends my book release party purchases (PHOTO BY COLIN RIGLEY)

the book (partially because I sold out and probably partially because money is tight for a lot of people right now which I, as a journalist, completely understand), then I’m going to make damn sure that I send them home with something that contains all my book’s relevant information: website, where it’s for sale, what it costs, and a bonus quote from the book to liven up the facts with some personality.

Here are 10 steps (because 9 would be paltry and 11 obscene) for putting together (inexpensive) literary goodies for your guests, and accidentally demonstrating your obsessive personality to the world:

1. Purchase miniature books. In my case, 120 to be precise. If you’re not sure where to acquire them, I found a seller on Amazon who was selling 12 for $3.95. There were nicer ones on Etsy, but they cost a great deal more, and given that I was buying 120, well, you can only budget so much money for miniature books.

2. (And this is where I’m going to lose a lot of you. At least, those of you with social lives and sanity.) Choose what you’d like to say and then write it in tiny print into each of the 120 books. This is what I wrote:

SCOURGE OF THE RIGHTEOUS HADDOCK. By Ashley Schwellenbach. For Sale on Amazon. Print $11.99. Ebook $3.99.

The only variation was the quote I used at the end. A few examples include:

If this Damacias wanted to dunk his followers in mustard, what would he do to his detractors?


“We welcome unusual orphans,” Bates told her. “It’s in the title.”


Some things were meant to be kept secret. Even a writer who had made her career lingering over the details of passionate couplings understood that.

And, well, others besides.

And if you think that writing 120 tiny books is a quick task, you’re as delusional as my cat Jack when he thinks he’s hiding behind the curtain but his entire (bright orange) haunch and tail is completely visible.

3. Borrow, buy, or steal a dollhouse. (Don’t really steal a dollhouse. That’s cruel.) I was lucky enough to borrow one from Lena Rushing, who also happens to be the artist who illustrated Scourge of the Righteous Haddock. Her daughter kindly loaned me her dollhouse for about five days, which is how Cat Cat encountered, fell in love with, and took up residence in the miniature abode. It might feel silly, asking to borrow a dollhouse but if you’ve done your job right as an artist/ writer, it will be far from the strangest thing you do on the path to writing and publishing a novel. Trust me.

4. Set up furniture within the dollhouse. This is a matter of taste, and I have to credit New Times intern and wunderkind Chris White-Sanborn (dashing in a bow tie, of course) for taking over this process at the party. Obviously you don’t want to overly clutter the space, but the more furniture you use, the easier it is to place the books.

5. Situate books on the furniture within the dollhouse. Be precise, if you have time. A few books in the bathtub, a trail down the stairs, a matching pair on a vanity. They’ll look whimsical and charming and you’ll receive more compliments on the dollhouse than you will on anything else.

There were supposed to be more points, weren’t there? Well, you’ll have to satisfy yourself with the ungodly time commitment required by step 2, although I suppose transporting and carrying the dollhouse to the venue for your party might count as another. Still, I’m going to assume some details are too mundane even for a blog that just referenced my cat’s ass.



  1. Love this idea…hope it worked.

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