How to Throw an Awesome Book Launch House Party

 

Photo credit: Marthanna Yater

You’ll have your new book in your hands in a few months AND of course you want your book in many other hands too, with preferably a sell-out situation on the horizon. Want a fun way to draw in readers while meeting new people and audiences? Host or co-host a house party.

Hosting an awesome house party for a book launch requires planning and time like all things worth doing. If you plan well, folks will be talking about your house party seven months from now.

 

Here are the ingredients for your awesome book launch house party:

 

  • A good mix of people you know and those that you don’t
  • Twenty minutes set aside for you to read from your book
  • Friendly hosts who LIKE throwing parties
  • Live music like what’s in this clip!
  • Good food like strawberries, sushi, cheese, grapes, chicken fingers, mini-quiches that requires NO forks.
  • A variety of drinks—champagne, anyone?
  • A large area for mingling and for the reading
  • Fairly easy parking and a good location

 

Planning Tips:

 

If your house isn’t the right size, ask a friend who loves a good bash and doesn’t mind lending his/her home for the night.

Be very clear as to what you’ll provide—are you supplying all of the food and drinks while your host supplies the live music and paper/plastic goods? Remember, the host has to deal with wear and tear on their house and with the clean up/take down.

Send out your Evite a month before and also use Facebook and email. Buy a stack of postcards from Vistaprint and snail mail out invitations, too. Have your co-host also invite their neighbors, coworkers and those who would love a literary bash.

In the invitation, share a bit of who you are, what your new book is about and give an excerpt or sample/video of your work. Say you’ll have doorprizes, giveaways, and lots of food and drink! If your invitees have never been to a book launch before you might want to state that a book launch is a fun, casual party to get to know the author and meet new people. State on the invitation what kind of dress you suggest for folks to wear: casual, cocktail or festive! Mention that there’ll be live music!

Line up some food and drink sponsors so you can keep your expenses lean and mean.

Promote your event to the media and to reviewers.

Prepare to have someone take photos and video, as well as handle the money when you are signing the books.

Set all of your merchandise, food and drink up the day before—not as your guests are arriving!

Get posters made of you and your book cover and position them behind the area where you’ll be reading so your cool posters are in all of your pictures.

Most of all—relax and have fun!

After the party, be sure to thank your hosts and your guests.

There are a few cons to a house party, but not too many:

Some people don’t want to go to someone’s house they don’t know and some people feel uncomfortable meeting new people in someone else’s home.  Guests do have to stay longer than if they dropped in at a bookstore (that’s why you have good food and live music!). If there are guests who look uncomfortable upon arrival, it is up to the host to welcome them and make introductions ASAP.

House parties aren’t free and I believe guests shouldn’t have to bring food and drink unless they want to (so no potlucks for a house party since you want guests to buy your book—making them bring their own food/drink AND expect them to buy your book is a bit much). Plan your budget and don’t go over it. See if you can barter for the live music and ask your very close friends to donate cheese and beverages.

House parties require a lot of prep work, but they are most relaxed atmosphere than a bookstore, library or coffee shop. You also don’t have to split your sales with anyone! (unless you want to give to your co-host or a charity).

 

For the guests of a house party:

 

Come prepared to buy the book (if you don’t have the book) or else contribute in some fashion by taking photos, cleaning/setting-up, taking video, listening  to the author, taking the author’s info for your friends, or helping the author with signing books, etc. Also, if you don’t know the author, chat and meet the author. This didn’t happen at a house party, but I hosted a reception/signing and these twerps showed up, sacked my food/drink and then scurried off. Not cool.

Your Turn:

What have I missed off of this list? What tips can you share that made for a successful house party?

 

Posted in: Networking

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6 Comments

  1. Dave Baldwin May 1, 2012

    I definitely agree with what you’ve said here, Alice, and I can’t say there’s anything missing from your recipe. It does, however, give me a brainstorm. What if multiple authors created a joint book party – OR – what if a book party for an author was also an album debut party for a new musician, or a benefit party for a charity?

    This reminds me of Megan Bekkedahl’s books consisting of short stories that multiple authors contributed–for example, Beyond the Uniform (http://www.lulu.com/shop/megan-bekkedahl-and-melaina-lausen/beyond-the-uniform/paperback/product-16377526.html).

    Also, other activities could be tied into a house party: for example, a game night or craft night could be a theme for the party, and it might help break the ice with the more introverted folks :)

    I could say a lot more about this, but the point is that joint creative projects could take the house party model to a whole new level. The sky’s the limit!

    reply
    • Alice Osborn May 2, 2012

      Excellent thoughts, Dave–the house party concept can be a total win-win-win!

      reply
  2. Pat MacEnulty May 2, 2012

    Hey Alice, Your beautiful blog has inspired me. I made a new one for my transformative writing work:
    http://theartoftransformativewriting.com/

    reply
    • Alice Osborn May 2, 2012

      Thank you so much, Pat! Looking forward to meeting you in Charlotte on Fri May 25th when I’m town for my poetry reading!

      reply
  3. Catharine Hennessy May 2, 2012

    Nice post, Alice! I hope that I will need to review it someday for my own party :)

    reply
    • Alice Osborn May 2, 2012

      Thanks so much, Catharine! I forgot to mention that a mike is absolutely necessary–it lends legitimacy/professionalism and helps the folks who are hard of hearing. That’s why I have the live music–there’s bound to be a mike, too!

      reply

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