Event Debrief: Book Launch of “The Legend of Sherlock Holmes”

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What: Book Launch for The Legend of Sherlock Holmes

When: Thursday, May 29, 2014

Where: Main Gallery at Indy Hall

Hosted By: Amanda Thomas and Christine Neulieb

Expected Guests (Actual): 30-50 (23)

Summary: This event was planned to celebrate the official release of The Legend of Sherlock Holmes. Our goal was to raise awareness for our new publishing company, showcase art from the book, sell some books, and celebrate with our friends.

The central activity at most book launches is a reading by the author. This wasn’t an option for us, so we settled on a mystery themed event with dramatic readings. We wanted our guests to spend time looking at the art and talking with each other.

We wanted to avoid a situation where our guests became a passive audience. To facilitate this, we designed a live action Clue game which required guests to move around and talk to each other. We also hoped that the game would encourage people to stay for the whole event and engage more deeply with the art and readings.

Timeline:

6:30 – Event Starts
7:00ish – Facilitate live-action Clue game
7:30ish – Dramatic Readings
8:00ish – Announce game winners/give out prizes
9:00 – End of event + cleanup

Set Up:

  • We set up the gallery as though it were an art show. There were not chairs for guests, but
  • we did bring down two high-top tables for people to congregate around.
  • We set up a sales table at next to the front window.
  • We used the mail station as a bar.
  • Our live-action Clue game required that we have “rooms” for people to travel to. These were marked out on the floor using Gaff tape.
  • The 25 drawings were split into groups of 3-4. Five groups were evenly spaced on the North wall. The remaining two groups were placed on either side of the chalkboard on the South wall. There was some extra space on the South wall nearest the window, so we put up some poster prints.

Food and Drink:

  • Beer – 1/2 keg provided by a sponsor
  • Cake – 2, 9” layer cakes, baked by Amanda
  • Cheese and Crackers – 4 cheeses + 1 large box of crackers

Volunteers:

  • Sales table – 1 person
  • Bar – 1 person
  • Set-up and clean-up – 2 people
  • Dramatic readers – 4 people

Promotion:

  • Twitter – We promoted the event on our personal accounts as well as on the Lanternfish Press account.
  • Posters – We had 50 posters printed at Marathon (right across the street). We took them around to N3rd Street businesses and handed them out at the N3rd Street farmer’s market.
  • Press Release – Sent out through Indy Hall Arts
  • Interview with Geekadelphia, courtesy of Eric Smith.

Good Things:

  • We had just the right amount of food, and a pleasant excess of beer.
  • Guests actually stayed the whole time.
  • It took some prompting to get the Clue game started, but it was fun and got guests talking to each other.
  • We had plenty of time an opportunity to talk to our guests because we had enough volunteers.
  • Our friends did an awesome job with the readings.

Things We Would Change:

  • We had hoped to have more people. A better planned and executed launch sequence may have helped.
  • We didn’t sell as many books as we would have liked. This is largely the result of the event being quite small.
  • We didn’t do a good job of bringing in people from the street. It was a chilly evening and we had to keep the door closed.
  • Setting up the art, Clue game and chalkboard took more time than expected. This detracted from our promotional efforts in the last few days before the event.
  • We didn’t do a great job of getting the word out at Indy Hall. Several people approached us after the event to say that they would have gone had they known about it.
  • It would have been really great to have someone in charge of taking pictures. We didn’t think about this and so we only have a smattering of photos that other people took to post on social media.