Episode 142 – Strategies for Launching a Book During a Pandemic with Suzy Vadori

In this episode mark interviews Suzy Vadori about the massive in person book launches she has done for the first two books in her The Fountain trilogy and the way she had to pivot away from the original plans of a major launch for book three, Wall of Wishes, due to the global pandemic.

Mark and Suzy from the live interview

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a word about this episode’s sponsor, reads some recent comments on the podcast, and offers a bit of a personal update, including a bit of an adventure on a road trip that he took with his son (which they made the best of, despite a bit of an unexpected end to the trip)

Mark & Alexander doing their “Breaking Bald” impression
Mark & Alexander’s ode to Planes, Trains and Automobiles

This episode is sponsored by Findaway Voices.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

Mark also shares that the podcast has surpassed 50,000 downloads, has been downloaded in over 100 countries, and he thanks listeners for helping him achieve those stats.

Early July 2020 Stark Reflections Downloads map

In their interview, Mark and Suzy talk about:

  • The giant Wall of Wishes backdrop Suzy and her kids created for the special at home video launch sessions she was doing
  • The Fountain trilogy and where Suzy’s new book “Wall of Wishes” fits into it
  • The “ride” of publishing the trilogy starting with “The Fountain” in 2015 – and how that eventually led to writing full time
  • How, with the first two books in the trilogy, Suzy sold far more print books than eBooks, despite her small press publisher not having full proper bookstore distribution warehousing and channels
  • The way that kids read more print books than digital books
    – Selling thousands of copies of her print books by doing multiple in person events throughout the year
  • Two two tours every year sponsored by the Alberta Book Society
  • The talks Suzy does at the schools, which aren’t just about her books, but about the possibilities that exists in multiple careers for curious students
  • Earning a speakers fee as a fiction author – and the importance of not speaking for free
  • The special things that Suzy has done for in person book launch events, such as the party for over 300 people at a local brewery (with a free beer offer for guests), and the giant prop fountain that she toured bookstores with
  • Hitting the bestseller list from a major launch event because the book sales were done through a local indie bookstore (that reports into the local newspapers bestseller list, which also rolls into the national newspaper bestseller lists)
  • Partnering with local bookstore Owls Nest for a virtual book launch that was being broadcast live from the vacant bookstore (featuring Suzy and bookstore manager Stacey Kondla) in a physically distancing-safe manner
  • Why Suzy started filling the fountain with lollypops after discovering a couple of issues with water
  • The pennies Suzy has collected to allow people to make a wish in the fountain – an excellent ice-breaker (at least pre-Covid)
  • How Suzy took over the reins for book three in this trilogy from her publisher without ruining the existing solid relationship she had with them
  • The challenge of what was going to happen with a book launch originally planned for April 2020 – and then the global pandemic hit, throwing all those plans into a tail spin
  • Earning the rank of Aurora Awards finalist for the first two books in the series, and winning the Bronze Medallion from Reader’s Favourite for Best Young Adult Romance (which came with an actual medal that Suzy wore all over the place, and also brings it to school events)
  • The listing of custom programs Suzy offers for author talks which appear on her website (include link)
  • The value of tenacity and the ability to pivot
  • The importance of playing to your strengths
  • And more . . .
Original video from the interview

After the interview, Mark reflects on two of the things Suzy mentioned:

  • “If you’re entertaining as an author, then presumably your books are also entertaining”
  • “Play to your strengths…”

Links of Interest:

Suzy is a Book Coach, Editor, Public Speaker and the Calgary Bestselling Author of The Fountain Series (The Fountain, The West Woods, Wall of Wishes). This fantastical Young Adult Series has received two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as Five Stars and a bronze medallion from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards.

Suzy lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and three children and is an involved member in the writing community. She is a Program Manager for Calgary’s When Words Collide (WWC), teaches writing at Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, and is a touring member of the Young Alberta Book Society. Suzy is also the founder of WriteIt! creative writing programs in schools.

The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

3 thoughts on “Episode 142 – Strategies for Launching a Book During a Pandemic with Suzy Vadori”

  1. Mark, I really enjoyed your intro for this episode, and especially your explanation of what you do and don’t share about your private life with your fans. For example, I appreciate that you are sensitive about sharing anything private between you and your son. I see a lot of public figures sharing information about their children–information that I don’t see evidence that the child approved to be shared–that feels like it should be kept private. I like you setting the model that that information is off-limits for public consumptions. Thanks for yet another great episode!

  2. I inherited my mom’s large cooler as well. I use it when I travel across Canada to visit her. When I heard that part of your story it made me smile. 🙂

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