For many authors, a book launch is an exciting shove of your "baby" out into the world. It's a celebration of completion, an "I did it!" to share. For others, it's a cause for gut-twisting, fingernail-picking nervousness. For me, it was both! If you're planning a book launch, here's how to host a book launch party that might sell out -- just like mine did!
- Choose a Venue.This seems pretty obvious, but it can be a tricky decision. You need to decide if you should host the event in a bookstore or somewhere else. In making this decision, consider your most important guests, your VIPs. In my case, the guests whose attendance I value most are my family and friends. While they would attend an event in a bookstore (because they are awesomely supportive), they would enjoy it much more in a relaxed atmosphere, like a bar or coffee house. For this reason, I selected a bar we all frequent for an official "launch," and a local coffee shop in my hometown in order to cater to those hometown folks who could not make it to Denver.
- Invite Your VIPs.Of all the people you would like to show up, who is the most important? Who are your VIPs? This is going to be different for every author. It might be family and friends. It might be media. It could be fellow authors. Whoever these people are, consider the most appropriate way to invite them. Paper snail mail invitations? Email? For me, my family and friends use Facebook, so it was a no-brainer to set up a Facebook invite. I also called a lot of family and friends on the phone.
Another important win for me was asking friends and family to help at the launch. I had a friend who took pictures. Another friend manned the Square Card reader for book sales. Another one helped answer questions when I was busy signing.
- Show Off Your Cover Art.Creating an over-sized image of my book cover was the smartest thing I did for my book party. It helps people unfamiliar with your venue to know they are in the right place, is a great addition to photo opportunities, and helps passers-by gain familiarity with your book. Plus, you spent time and / or money creating this gorgeous art. You deserve to show the world your stuff!
To make mine, I purchased a foam tri-fold display board, which was about $20. I also visited Staples Copy & Print and ordered a two-foot by three-foot poster of my book cover, which was also about $20. I adhered the poster to the BACK of the display board using double-sided tape, which was $2. Once adhered, the "arms" of the tri-fold can flip out to hold the cover upright, eliminating the need for an easel. One less thing to carry the night of!
The quality of the poster I received was sensational. I still cannot believe how amazing it looks, even up close. As you can see, it was well worth the $42.
- Do What Feels Right to YOU!I cannot emphasize this point enough. If you're hosting a book launch party at a super-fancy wine bar, and you're neither a fan of wine nor super-fancy, you will spend the entire evening feeling uncomfortable. If you hate public speaking, don't feel compelled to do an excerpt reading. If you love food and can't imagine a party without it, order what you like. If you don't care and don't have the money, don't!
This is, after all, a celebration of you! You did it! Enjoy the party! And enjoy it as YOU, in your natural, authentic, completely unique way.
- Promote, Promote, Promote.Promote your book launch party with whatever budget you have, even if that budget is $0. I used Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I also submitted the event to local event organization websites, like Denver.org, Westword, and DenverPost.com. These are all free, just make sure you give them enough time to get it up and on the site after submitting!
- Encourage Sharing.Some of the people who attend will want to share their fun-time vibes through social media. Help them! I created a sign with my social media sharing hashtag -- #DynamBook -- for free! I also included a QR code linking to the book on Kindle, in case attendees wanted the e-version as well.
I already had an 8.5" x 11" document frame, so this was a cinch! And it's another thing on your table to generate interest. Millennials like me love to have a reason to share via social media. The hashtag generated as much interest at the party as the book cover!
- Say "Thank You!"Talking to every person who is kind enough to attend your launch and extending a heartfelt "thanks" is extremely important. These people had plenty of options for entertainment. They chose your party! That means a lot, and they deserve some appreciation.
I was lucky enough to sell over 50 copies! I should have ordered far more, but since most of my friends already ordered copies in advice I assumed that would be enough. Good luck to fellow authors in their book launch parties. Hopefully this helps!