There was a time back in March of 2020 when we imagined an in-person book launch for Laurel Everywhere. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans, and we pivoted to a virtual event and a virtual reading tour. Though in-person book events have a magical quality to them, my team and I worked extremely hard to bring that magic online.

On Tuesday, November 10, at 6:30 p.m. PST, Ooligan Press hosted Erin Moynihan, author of Laurel Everywhere, on Zoom for the virtual launch of her book. We invited editors and designers from the press to join Moynihan in conversation about the publishing process, and we dove into topics like developmental editing and cover design.

Moynihan also took over the Ooligan Instagram on Friday, November 6, to introduce her book and offer a space for anyone to ask questions about her writing process, character development, and what she’s currently working on. She also answered some of these questions during the Zoom launch party.

One of the highlights of the event was the launch party book giveaway. We hosted the giveaway on our Instagram page, and anyone could enter by liking the informational post and tagging two friends. The winner had to attend the book launch, and received a signed copy of Laurel Everywhere for free! In addition to the giveaway, anyone who preordered the book up to a week after the launch received a signed bookplate to go along with their copy of the book.

While my team and I were brainstorming ways to bring joy and excitement to this virtual event, we came up with a couple of great ideas that I hope captured the attention of our wonderful audience. We researched different mock-tail and tea recipes that correlated with the personality and description of each sibling in the Summers family. We curated a playlist on Spotify and YouTube to help readers empathize with Laurel, and it’s mostly made up of cathartic songs that you can listen to for a good cry when you need it. We sent out a virtual care package to attendees with links to the playlist, drink recipes, even a couple paint-by-number pages so that they can participate in a self-care routine as they read Laurel Everywhere.

We promoted the event through our social media and we also reached out to others in the literary community to boost the event on their own social media pages. We reached out to the booksellers in our community as well as reviewers and other Portland authors to spread the word about the event. We also reached out to these community members to plan our virtual reading tour, and all the events of the launch party were hugely successful.

We had an incredible turnout for this event, and attendees thoroughly enjoyed listening to Erin talk about her writing process for the book. It was also wonderful to listen to her talk with Ooligan editors and designers about how the book came together, and it gave the audience a look into what it’s really like to publish a book. All in all, the publication of Laurel Everywhere was a joyful and memorable experience, even though it was all done remotely. It’s not impossible to recreate some of that in-person book launch magic, but it does take a little more work.

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