Note: This was originally written for in-person book launch parties. Things have changed and I’ve updated with information in italics for a virtual book launch party.
Time to celebrate the launch of your book! It’s fun and exciting to host a party and invite your friends. This is a big accomplishment. Here are some things to consider to make this a successful book launch party.
Where will the party be? If you can arrange to have it somewhere that is likely to attract more readers, that would be ideal. Consider your local library or local bookstores.
Updated for virtual event: plan a Zoom or Facebook Live party and invite your friends, email list, and share it on social media.
Who is Invited?
The more the merrier! Of course you’re going to invite your family and friends. Don’t forget your business associates. If you’re having the party at a library or bookstore, prepare fliers to be posted at these locations at least a week in advance so the general public can attend. Then post it on social media so a larger audience is aware and invited to come.
Updated for virtual event: now you can invite everyone online!
Refreshments don’t need to be elaborate. But a few treats and drinks will keep people around longer which may mean they are more likely to purchase your book – or additional copies for friends.
Updated for virtual event: invite your attendees to a virtual refreshment. Perhaps post a photo of your favorite drink and invite them to do the same. You could have some fun engagement this way.
Books and Book Signing
Remember to bring enough books. It’s better to have too many than to run out. How will you sign the book? Decide that in advance. And if you’re going to write the buyer’s name, be sure to ask how to spell it.
Updated for virtual event: having physical books and signing them is not an option here. However, you might have some postcards or bookmarks made up, sign them, and run a contest. Winners get a signed postcard or bookmark sent to them.
Tell a story
Keep it brief. You might share a short story about the process of writing your book or about who you dedicated the book to. Remember to thank those who came to the party. Talk to your guests individually. If possible, try to speak to each person who attended to thank them for coming. They will appreciate your personal interest.
Updated for virtual event: here’s one thing that doesn’t change much. You’ll now be doing it on camera instead of in person.
Remember to send thank you notes to anyone who helped with the book launch party and to the venue if you held it at a library or bookstore. Focus on building relationships, rather than selling books, for the most successful book launch. Those relationships may lead to future book sales.
Updated for virtual event: thank everyone during the event who joins you for your virtual book party.
We’ve discussed your three-course book publicity menu: website, mailing list, social media. Now time for dessert.
Just as a very special dessert may take a lot of time and attention to detail, so does creating and maintaining a media contacts list.
Start in your local area by gathering local media names and contact information. Keep a spreadsheet with all that contact information and track when you reach out and the response you get. You can get a lot of contact information by doing a Google search, such as “Phoenix radio stations” or “Houston newspapers”, etc.
Once you’ve had a positive response from a media person, send a thank you and stay in touch. Develop these relationships. They are gold in your book publicity efforts.
Now that you have a visually appealing website, it’s time to focus on the second course of your book publicity menu – your mailing list.
Email marketing does work, if done right. Adding an opt-in for your list on your website allows those who want to stay in touch and hear from you an easy way to do so. This second course needs to be ‘meaty’ and visually appealing.
Use an email tool like MailerLite or MailChimp and create a look for your emails to match your website. Be sure what you send out has substance and gives value to your reader. Its main focus should be to give something to the reader they find interesting – and a place to easily find your book to purchase it. However, don’t make every email a sales pitch.
Get ready to publicize your book. Just like you plan a dinner party menu very carefully and prepare the table and setting to appeal visually to your guests, you need to plan your book publicity menu and make it visually appealing.
The first course in your book publicity menu is your author website. When your audience hears about your book and wants to learn more about it they will search online. Your website should be the first place they land. So be sure you have a complete author website that is ‘tasty’ and appeals to your potential readers.
Your website has so much to offer. Your audience can contact you, join your newsletter list, buy your book, comment on your blog. The media can find your Media Room full of information you provide so they can reach out to you for publicity opportunities.
If you need help creating or updating your author website, or adding a Media Room page, contact us. We’re happy to help.