If you are new to the publishing world or new to the world of marketing your own books, you may be in the same boat as me when someone mentions their launch party. The first time I was invited to a Facebook Launch Party, I was like, ‘what is that?’ Unfortunately with my work schedule and duties at home, I have yet to attend a live launch party for a book. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t research them and figure it out.
What is a launch party?
Basically it’s a celebration for publishing your book. It’s a party that you––and your book–– are the guests of honor. People come to celebrate with you, and hopefully they buy a copy of your book while there.
Why is a launch party important?
Once someone told me what a launch party was, this was my next question. I mean why put money and time into planning something that only friends and family are going to attend? Well, if you plan your party right, you can get a lot more than just close friends and family. A launch party is a way to bring notice to your book throughout your community and beyond. In order for people to know about your book, you have to tell them it’s out there.
There are two types of launch parties: In person and online.
In Person Launch Parties:
These are the parties you set up at your house, a local coffee shop, and independent book store, your church…somewhere that people can come face-to-face with you and your book. Where are you going to host this party? I would suggest a local venue rather than your home. You never know who might show up, and in my opinion it’s a lot less stress having it somewhere other than where you live. Then, you need to talk to the venue and be sure they’ll allow you to have your party there.
You need to take the time to figure out what types of food (if any) you’re going to have. Most people go with finger foods and maybe some drinks…a cake with your cover on it.
Once you have everything set, you can spend some time advertising the event on social media, and you may want to fashion a press release.
Now to the decorating! Vistaprint.com is your friend when it comes to marketing materials. You can get book banners, coffee mugs, bookmarks, and so much more to decorate with. You also need to think of ways to get people interested in attending your launch party. Free gifts are a great advertiser. You can also make a few small prizes to be raffled off and then end with a large prize (a basket with free books, coffee, and other things your target reader likes). Small prizes can consist of Starbucks gift cards, amazon gift cards, a coffee cup with your book on, a notebook, etc.
On the day of the party, you’ll want to assign someone to take lots of pictures. You can later use these on your website, newsletter, and social media to keep the momentum running for your new release.
Make sure you have a place where guests can sign in. This is a great way to get email addresses for your email list. Use email addresses to sign up for the raffle! Sure they can unsubscribe later, but if you do a good job, perhaps they’ll stay signed up to see what you do next.
Make sure you’re prepared to speak or read an excerpt from your book. You can even invite other local authors to host a question and answer session with you.
Once the event is finished, sit back and relax for the rest of the day.
Online (Facebook) Launch Parties:
There are quite a few similarities between online and in person launch parties. You’ll still need to have giveaways, and inviting authors to come and talk about their writing and books is still a great way to get more people at your launch party.
The main difference is not being face-to-face for book signing and such. This could be a downfall for those fans that like seeing the author and buying a paperback of the book just to get that coveted signature, but you may reach more people on Facebook because they can tune in from the comfort of their home.
With an online launch party, you should schedule events that happen so people know when they want to tune in. Are you going to have a giveaway every hour…thirty minutes…two hours? Which author will come at what time to address the attendees? Once you set up your schedule, you use social media to advertise the event, and then go about hosting it. You can even do a Facebook live video, to give some people that face-to-face they desire.
There are ups and downs to both in-person and online launch parties. It all comes down to preference. I think for me, I will try the online launch party to see how it goes.
Next week, we’ll talk about finding local author events where you can sell your books.
Do you have any launch party advice? I’d love to hear about them in comments!