June 13, 2012

How To Survive Your First Book Launch: A Guest Post by Lani Wendt Young

Please welcome to Feed My Need, the fabulous author, Lani Wendt Young!

I  was born and raised in Samoa.  I went to university in the USA and New Zealand, studying English Literature, Women's Studies and  Education. Back in Samoa I worked as a secondary school English teacher for 7 years and did lots of writing in between for the local newspaper and for myself. My short fiction has been published in Samoa, NZ, Australia and the UK. My collection of short stories "Sleepless in Samoa" won the 2011 USP Press Fiction Award. 

I also write stories for children that are used in primary school reading programs. In 2009 I was commissioned by Hans Joe Keil to research and write the narrative non-fiction book 'Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi'. The book was funded by the Australian Govt Aid program and all book sale profits go back to tsunami survivors who were interviewed for the record. My book 'TELESA The Covenant Keeper' is the first in a YA urban fantasy series and  it was launched in Oct 2011.  I'm married to Darren Young (who is probably the most patient and most hottest man alive) and we have five children ranging in age from 4 to 16yrs. We are now based in New Zealand but get to go home to Samoa enough to keep me brown. (and broke.) I blog about the misadventures of a (slightly demented) Domestic Goddess over at Sleepless in Samoa.

Check out her blog here!

How To Survive your First Book Launch: The Do’s and Don’ts of the Media

Here are some nuggets of wisdom, accumulated as my very first book was thrust upon an unsuspecting public.

1. DON’T wear a wrap knit top to a television interview. ( Even though those are the kind of tops that Queen Latifah wears and she always looks hot…big, bold and beautiful…and so you copy her because you know you cant fit in the beautiful bony Angelina Jolie category.)

If you choose to wear such a top, you may end up being interviewed by John Campbell from TV3 NZ at a restaurant by the ocean on a particularly windy day. And the blasted wrap knit top will keep catching in the wind and gaping open, thus revealing your lack of bodacious Queen Latifah assets. Very difficult to focus on giving intelligent answers to questions when one is worried about one’s top blowing open in the breeze.

2. DO make sure before your interview that the book you have written has the correct spelling of the name of any tv interviewers in it.

Otherwise, John Campbell will buy you lunch and have a lovely chat with you before he goes home, reads your book and finds out that you have spelt his name…John CAMERON. DUH. And you will go home and cringe in shame and hope desperately that he doesn’t decide to pay you back by ripping you to shreds on air. (or zeroing in on your blasted blowy wrap knit top)

3. DO make sure you have a mother like mine.

Who prepares platters of delectable appetizers, cream puffs, and walnut frosted cakes for your very first press conference. Reporters are MUCH less likely to be mean to you when their mouths are full of cream puffs. And if nothing else, when the press conference is over and you feel crap about it – you can drown your angst in cupcakes and cheese scones and all will be right in the universe.

4. DON’T go to a press conference alone.

Go with an assertive, confident friend. Ensure this friend is on a first name basis with all tv crew, comfortably chats with any and all reporters, sets up venue beforehand, stays to help clean up afterward, preps you for tricky questions, and gives you pointers for the next time.

5. DON’T speak with too much animation.

Try your hardest to be boring and slow. Because otherwise you will look like a crack addict on hyperdrive when your interviews screen on television. Why didn’t someone TELL me that I talk a hundred words a minute and that I keep throwing my head and hands around like I’ve got a serious attention deficit disorder?!

7. DON’T stand next to your 8 yr old supermodel daughter when its time to take photographs.

Because she will out pose you every time. And then give you tips afterward…’Mum, you really shouldn’t smile like THAT…and you should stand like this…and put your shoulders like this..and blah blah blah. (Next time I will just send her to face the media alone. She’s poise perfect and totally doesn’t get it from me. Must be the music videos. Or Hannah Montana?)

8. DON’T get your hair done in some fantastically fabulous style on the day of an interview.

Because you will come home from the hairdresser and your kids will stare at you horror-struck and say, “Mum what have you done?! You look weird. What’s that on your head?” And you will have to take all the pins out and brush out the transcendental style and just put it all in a ponytail. Like you usually do. Only without paying a phenomenal amount to do so.

And finally, don’t worry if you break all the rules because by tomorrow you will be yesterdays news and nobody will give a stuff about what you said, what you looked like or what you did. Thank goodness. (They will probably still remember your mum’s exceptional baking though. Very difficult to forget heavenly delights like homemade rum balls, coconut clusters and caramel slice.

(I was commissioned to write my first book – Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi – the narrative record of the 2009 disaster which devastated islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. Publication was funded by the Australian government. The release of this book was timed to coincide with the national memorial of the tsunami. It was an intense few weeks of book launch events held in several different countries, including New Zealand.)


Leila returns to the land of her birth in search of family and instead discovers she is heir to a fiery elemental birthright...all while navigating through the drama of a new high school with the help of her new best friend "Simone daahling" - a boy with flawless makeup and the catwalk style of Kate Moss. She is introduced to the national sport of rugby and meets an irritating boy that would be much easier to hate if he didn't have chipped emerald eyes that are always laughing at her and a glorious golden smile. (The glistening, bronzed abs and Pacific warrior tattoos don't help either.) 

There's hate, love, jealousy, volcanoes and lots of delicious Samoan food in Leila's coming-of-age journey as she realizes that ancient Pacific myths of elemental spirit women Telesa, contain more truth than fiction. Secrets are revealed and things get blown up as Leila must choose between sisterhood and the boy she loves. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper?

There are many different kinds of love. All of them require sacrifice. Who will give everything for the one they love?


  1. Great advice, I need to print this because by the time I have to deal with being famous I'll never find the post. :-)

    1. I'm glad you found this useful. I was thinking the same thing: Print this off and study later! :) Thanks for stopping by!