How to Have a Stellar Book Launch
Your new book arrived at your doorstep yesterday and that’s a very good thing—your book launch is tomorrow! Yikes! Now that you have your book in hand, what else do you need for a stellar launch? Hopefully, you’ve been planning this event for a few months and have everything all organized, but if not, you can still pull it together at the last minute.
Assuming that you’ve posted a Facebook invite, hosted a Twitter campaign, emailed your newspaper announcements to the proper recipients and sent out a press release, you only have to worry about the actual event—easy, right? More information about book launches can be found at my earlier post here.
Like it is with most things, you’ll have a great launch with proper planning. Launches aren’t cheap—expect to pay at least $300-$500 for marketing. The good news is that you’ll be able to recoup some of this since what you buy isn’t a one-shot deal.
I’ve successfully launched two books of poetry and here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
Six weeks out
- Order your book’s business cards
- Order a poster showing your book cover—buy a collapsible easel for your poster. This helps folks know they’re in the right place and you look professional.
- Buy or borrow a music stand so you’re not holding your papers/books/notes in a clumsy fashion.
- Find out if you need to buy/borrow a mic and amp. If the space is small, you may not need amplification—depends on how soft spoken you are.
- Order pens , bookmarks, or lip balm or some other tchotchke for your giveaways
- Order notepads, mugs or some other door prize that features your book cover
A month out
- Select a trusted friend to help you sell your book at the event
- Select a trusted and talented friend to be your event photographer (can’t be the same person as the bookseller)
- Reach out again to all of your friends and have them sell your book launch through word of mouth
- Print up colored flyers—save money by making the flyers half sheets.
- Get together your food and drink sponsors—or if it’s at a restaurant or bar, work out a deal with the manager for a free wine tasting, free apps, or bring your own food if allowed. If you can’t get any food/drink sponsors, it’s not a terrible thing to ask your dear friends for help, but invitees shouldn’t have to bring food/drink AND buy your book on the night of the launch. That’s a bit much.
- Buy a book stand so you can display your book on a table—you can find them at office supply stores or in the photography aisle at Kohl’s or Target. Your book will look like it belongs in a top-notch bookstore because it does!
- Buy a business card holder if you don’t already have one
- Make a sign that tells people the price of your book and what launch special you’re offering. Indicate on your sign that you accept Visa/Mastercard. Now your friends have no excuse when they say, “I didn’t bring any cash.”
A week before
- Buy raffle tickets if you plan on giving away one of your prizes
- Buy a box to hold everything in—make sure it has a sturdy handle!
- Print out a signup sheet on a clipboard so you can capture everyone’s email addresses for your newsletter
- Pick out your outfit and wear stylish, but comfortable shoes! (This is my favorite part—read more about what to wear here)
The night before
- Send out last minute reminders on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
- Pack your box with a camera, clipboard, door prizes, giveaways and BOOKS!
- Make sure your bring change—dollars and five dollars. If you have Square for credit card payments that’s even better!
The Event Itself
Show up at least 45 minutes early so you have time to set up, smile and breathe. Take your time and look relaxed. Congrats! With all of your superb preparation, you’re going to sell out of your books—hope you brought extra in the trunk of your car!
What did I miss here? If you’ve launched a book or have attended a book launch, I’d love to hear from you!