A book launch party isn’t JUST a party. Sure, it’s a celebration of your hard work. But it’s more than that:
Define Your Goal(s)
You won’t be able to determine the success of an event without defining your goal (or goals). Here are just a few examples of what this could look like:
- Sell 100 books.
- Get 10 local media people to attend/report on the event/book.
- Have 250 people in attendance to see/hear about the book.
The more specific the goal(s), the easier to measure.
Location, Location, Location
The obvious choice is a bookstore, right? This is easy on the budget, too, because generally food/drink won’t be your responsibility. (Either it isn’t allowed or there is a cafe from where purchases must be made.) When approaching a bookstore owner/manager to ask about hosting your event, make sure you remember WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). Why should your event be considered? Tell them about the local media you’re inviting. Tell them about the number of people you’re expecting.
Think outside the box when it comes to location, too. An art gallery would be a fun location for an art or photography book. A restaurant is always a good option, too. Many people open their homes for a book launch party. Budget comes into play with non-bookstore locations, so keep this in mind. You’re responsible for any refreshments, which can get pricey as the guest list grows.
Earlier this year, my client Mallika Malhotra released her book, Brand Photography Playbook. Mallika hosted her launch party at a local clothing shop. Attire is an important component in brand photography.Her target audience for the book is female business owners, so getting all of these women into a fun location was a win-win for Mallika, her readers, AND the shop owner.
When approaching a bookstore owner/manager to ask about hosting your event, make sure you remember WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). - @jodibrandon
You don’t need an uber-structured agenda, but you do want a rough idea of what will be happening when. Let attendees know when the “program” will start. Do they have 15 minutes or an hour to grab a drink and a seat? Will you be reading from your book? (Yes!) What about taking questions from the audience? (That’s usually fun, particularly for attendees.) Will you be selling and signing copies of the book? (Again, yes!)
As the author/host, you’ll want to be available as guests arrive to greet them. You’ll be the emcee who makes introductions to the audience (party host if it isn’t you, any members of your book team on hand, perhaps your family) and then makes a speech about the book and/or reads for a few minutes from the text.
Pretty much anything goes when it comes to an agenda, but winging it and “seeing how the night plays out” isn’t ideal. People may get bored/restless, and you want the vibe to be positive and upbeat throughout the event.
Spreading the Word
As with all advertising, the options are virtually endless, budget-depending, but here are some suggestions to get the wheels turning:
- Create a flyer for your event and post it at places like coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries.
- Submit a press release to local media for their events sections.
- Invite local/regional press and ask them to bring a guest.
- Create an event page on Facebook for your community.
- Include event info on your author website.
Your location may determine how many people you can invite and whether or not you need RSVPs. If your event is at a public place during regular hours (like a bookstore), you likely don’t need RSVPs. If the event is being held in a private room at a restaurant that only holds a certain number of people, you will.
If a real-life party or event isn’t an option for you, for whatever reason, don’t let that stop you from hosting an online launch party. No, you won’t sell books at this event, but it can still be both a celebration and a promotion tool for your book. Plan an event on Facebook and gather RSVPs, plan some fun prizes and contests, and get your book ambassadors involved.
Tell me in the comments about the coolest book launch party you’ve ever attended. (Bonus points if it was your party for your book!)