Throwing a book launch party is an outstanding way to launch your book and drum up interest and even free publicity—by word of mouth or online. But know that the party is more about the sale and breaking even than it is about the party. A book launch is fun, but it’s also business. Like any business, there are some important decisions and planning ideas that will make or break your party. Book launch parties can be held in person or online, depending on your budget. The remainder of this blog post is designed to help you host the best book launch ever, giving you suggestions and tips for an outstanding release.
Choose a Venue
One big decision you need to make is the venue. If your book party is in person rather than online, popular and cheap venue choices include a library or a bookstore, but you could also hold the party at a hotel (most have big conference or party rooms) or a local cafe.
Set Meetable Objectives
A book launch party, unlike a regular party, is also an important part of a writer’s business plan. Rather than just planning a party and sending out invitations, you might want to consider having trusted friends, publishers, and other authors take a look at your planned launch party objectively. Every aspect is important and has more to do with your book sales than anything else.
For instance, your launch party strategy should be inviting and attracting guests who will be enticed to spread the word about your book and be well enough connected to do a good job of telling others about your new baby. You don’t only want to invite would-be readers, but you also want to invite those who will read your book and then encourage others to go out and buy it.
Other objectives should be the area and space you have for increased party attendance, sales available at the party or online, and ways to impress or influence the media at your book party—even if this is just encouraging people to post pictures of your party on Instagram and talk about your book.
Connect Your Event
Your launch party has one specific topic: your book. Therefore, your launch party should be an event that connects the features of your book to the experience—the food, lighting, gifts, music, subjects of conversation, etc.—with a fun and engaging spin. You want to get people interested in you and your book, but mostly in your book. Any videos or images you’re using as decoration or for fun should be made to reflect an important aspect of your book, such as the cover image. Make everything connect and you’ll be well on your way to an excellent event.
Create Event Atmosphere
If you’re having a party in person, this is where you have to get creative, because you need a fun atmosphere. You want a setup where guests are encouraged to text and tweet, snap photos, and do most of the promoting for you while also enjoying themselves. If you have several book props or blown up posters for them to take pictures with, then trust me, they will! For instance, if you’ve written a romance book, why not hire a hunky model for one night to take photos with your guests? In fact, a person in costume who walks around and prompts photos will not only ensure you get media coverage from your fans posting, but also that your event has something interesting and eye-catching going on. A themed event will create an opportunity for people to submerge themselves in your work, and afterward, they will come away more likely to share their experience with others.
Use Your Local Media
Writing a simple press release for your upcoming launch party and book is a great idea! An even better idea is sending that press release to any local source that might pick it up and promote your material: newspapers, radio stations, TV, local online groups, local book clubs, magazines, and more. Presses always love to run a story about a local success, and this will not only give your book the edge it needs, but it will also drum up interest in your launch party. If you can get local news writers to attend your event, even better!
Use Social Media
Word of mouth typically only sells one book at a time, but the keyboard on someone laptop or phone can allow your supporters and readers to back your work and drive up sales and event attendance. Use your social media network to drum up attendance for your event, but also make sure you have some form of RSVP function so you know generally how many people are coming.
Don’t only hawk your event though. Instead, promote your book and event at the same time and every time! Too much is just enough, especially as your launch comes closer.
If you’re doing your book launch party online, you can host it on social media. Online or in person, you can use social media for polls and games related to your book launch during the party.
Prepare a Speech
It may not sound fun, but everyone at your book launch party is there to support you and your book, and they’ll want to hear from you! If your party is online, you may prepare a short video speech instead.
Set Up Incentives
You’re a writer and you’re trying to save money, yes, but if you can offer incentives to your fans and guests, they’ll more than makeup for it by word of mouth online and off. For instance, one very easy incentive is to cover the sales tax or offer discounts on purchases of your book during the launch party. Also, getting the book itself and then having it signed by the author—that’s an incentive! Little extras could be themed bookmarks, swag bags that target your audience type, a silent auction for first-edition material/unique first drafts. You could also give away prizes for contests that are related to your book. Get creative and your book launch will be a hit.
Simplify the Buying Process
At a book launch party, it should be very simple and convenient for your guests to buy your book. After all, that’s kind of the point. Not only should guests be able to buy your book with cash, but you should also have credit card options as well as an immediately available online purchasing option. If you can, maybe hold your launch party close to a nearby ATM. Additionally, your book launch party should also allow for low-cost options if you pay with either card or cash (pick one) because this will drive up sales when your fans think they’re getting a discount. Make sure your audience knows all the other places they can buy your book as well: bookstores, online, in person, at Amazon, etc.
Include Your Guests
Many guests want to help you out but don’t even know where to begin. One of your jobs should be telling them, or showing them, where to go to leave reviews of your book, and what kind of reviews or posts would be best for your sales. There is nothing wrong with walking around a party encouraging people to snap photos with you and the book so that they can post it on Instagram. Another option is to have them leave their email on a list; that way after the party you can remind them about your book again via newsletter, social media, or even email.
Hold an Online Event
We’ve mentioned that you can hold an event online as well, and many of the above tips can be applied to an online book launch party. These online events can last anywhere up to 24 hours and give your readers access to discounted books, personal chats with you—the writer—a comprehensive area to chat with each other, and games, contests, and polls related to your book. The more you build your community online, the better your launch will go! Give them access to your book and a place to talk about it, and your sales will rise exponentially.
Have you thrown a book launch party before? How did it go? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments below!