Once you’ve finished writing and publishing your amazing book, you need to celebrate this important milestone with a book launch party! Many new authors are so busy trying to meet the deadlines of their first book, that they don’t plan for this or think it’s necessary. I certainly made that mistake and only realized that I should do a book launch party after listening to Alice Osborn speak at a Non-fiction Authors Association meetup group two weeks prior to my official book launch. I am so glad that Alice inspired me to throw a book launch party–a celebration for reaching a huge milestone in writing my first book, making #1 Amazon Best Seller, and thanking the colleagues, mentors, and clients who helped me achieve that success. After putting together and throwing a book launch party with three weeks’ notice, I’d like to share what worked versus what I would have done differently so you can have a successful book launch party.
#1 – Date
Ideally, you are planning this at least two months in advance so you can have people save the date on their calendars. When picking a date, if you are planning this far enough in advance, make sure that you consider any conflicting events that your colleagues and ideal audience may be attending. You may even want to take a poll and ask people to vote among several dates to make sure that the people that you absolutely want to be there are available.
Since I wanted to throw a book launch party close to the date of the official book launch as much as possible, I didn’t have a lot of choices given that I planned a party within three weeks of listening to Alice’s advice. I reached out to a few colleagues to make sure that I picked a date that they could attend, but later found that at least a dozen colleagues and clients wouldn’t be able to make it due to a conflict with a monthly meetup group, an annual holiday vendor event, or vacation.
Holidays – Avoid doing a book launch party the night before a holiday! When I picked Thursday, November 10th, I didn’t realize that the following day was a federal holiday, Veteran’s Day. Several of my colleagues had planned a long weekend trip and were not in-town to attend.
#2 – Day and Time
If you are doing something during the weekday like a Wednesday or Thursday, make sure you pick a time that considers weeknight traffic! I put on my invitation that that party started at 5:30 p.m., assuming people would show up around 6 p.m. since I accounted for a thirty-minute buffer. However, with traffic getting to my venue, people who left their house at 4:45 p.m., didn’t arrive until closer to 6:15pm. It caused stress for several of them as they were not used to the traffic getting to that part of town. Therefore, if you are picking a weeknight, it’s probably better to start at 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Another possible day of the week and time to consider is a Sunday at 2 p,m. That was another choice that my venue said was popular for book launch parties at their location. If some of your audience are not comfortable driving late at night, having an afternoon book launch party would be a great option.
#3 – Venue
Consider what type of vibe that you want for the book launch party. I wanted people to have fun and relax, so I picked a local wine bar. They said they have done several book launch parties on location, so they knew what to expect. You can also ask your local bookstores what book events/author events they’ve previously hosted.
Ask if your venue has a microphone and speaker for both the live music and reading/speeches. This will help make sure your audience can hear you, especially if it’s not a closed-event, and is great for your musicians as they won’t have to carry that extra equipment.
#4 – Entertainment
To make it fun, I recommend having one to two musicians play for entertainment. If you’re on a low budget, see if they will play in exchange for exposure to your colleagues, clients, and venue, and a free, signed copy of the book. By having two musicians, it allows the first musician to play as people are arriving and then socialize after her turn. Then the second musician can play after your book reading to keep the momentum going.
#5 – Photography
As Alice would say, if there aren’t photographs, the event didn’t happen! Make sure you get someone to take photos throughout the event and give them a list of must-have shots, including photos of:
- You with the book
- You doing the book reading
- You signing a book for a customer
- You with key people, including book marketing consultant, editor, spouse/significant other, beta readers, clients
- You with the book and cake
Make sure that where you are standing for your reading is in a spot without obstruction or distractions, like pillars and mirrors. A few of my pictures had a white pillar in the middle so didn’t make for the best of photos.
#6 – Video
Video may not be your preference, but it’s great for social media. People like to see and hear as key milestones are happening. Hire (or barter) a videographer to do a video that you can post to your social media accounts, website, and Amazon Author page.
Also, ask a friend to help record a Facebook Live video. It’s a great way to get those who are not local and who can’t attend your party to participate. Many of my beta readers and partners who helped get my book to bestseller status are not local, so it was a great way to give them a shout out during my book reading and speech. I got almost 200 views of my Facebook live video of my book launch party.
If you are doing your book launch at a dimly-lit space, give your videographer some heads up so they can bring proper lighting. Otherwise, your video will come out dark. If you forget, have a few people use their cell phone camera lights to shine towards you.
#7 – Book Reading and Speeches
Ask a colleague or friend to be an emcee for the event to kick things off and introduce you before your book signing. It’s a great way to have your emcee share how they know you, say a few nice words about you, and why everyone is there that night…to celebrate your accomplishment!
Since this was more of a book celebration than a book reading, I didn’t read from the book. Instead, I gave a brief overview of why I wrote the book and then did a shout-out to thank all the people who helped me with the book and promoting it to make bestseller.
After you speak, have your emcee ask if anyone in the audience wanted to share their thoughts about the book. This allows your readers to tell everyone how great your book is and what they learned, thanking you for writing a book that impacted them.
Tip – In advance, ask a few of your colleagues and clients who have read the book if they would be willing to share a few words. They will appreciate the heads up and it looks good for your video that you have others saying more great things about you and the book.
#8 – Cake
While most of you will probably have the food and drinks covered (be sure to provide some non-alcoholic and gluten-free options depending on your audience), the one thing that you may not have thought about is the cake.
Find a bakery that can do a cake that has your book cover design on it. It makes for great photographs with you and the book.
Tip – I’ve had great luck with Whole Foods being able to take a photo and create detailed designs on cakes. They will usually charge a $10 design fee on top of the cake price, which is well worth it in my opinion.
#9 – Books Sales and Signing
This is probably obvious, but make sure you bring plenty of books to sell! Have a price sheet out so people know how much and what method of payments you accept. Also, have an information sheet about the book and you as the author that you can display around the event. I was told by someone that they appreciated getting an overview of the book in this one-pager.
Have your emcee close the event by telling people that books are available for sale and that you will be personally signing copies and answering any questions. Make sure you know what page in the book that you will sign, and if you will do a generic phrase along with your signature. I sign my books, “To Your Financial Success!” along with my name. Have your second band be playing while this is going on to keep things entertaining.
Tip – Have some giftwrapped (autograph ahead of time) copies of the book so people can purchase multiple copies as gifts for friends, colleagues, and clients. If your book launch is near the holidays, consider using holiday gift wrapping. I had one colleague who purchased two books as presents and appreciated that they were already wrapped.
I wish you a very successful book launch party! Let me know if you find this helpful or if you have other tips to share. Now that I fully understand how important this is for an author, especially a first-time writer, feel free to drop me a line and let me know about your upcoming book launches.
Sylvia Inks is financial coach, author, and speaker, specializing in helping small business owners save time, money, and reduce stress in running their businesses. Sylvia Inks’ new book, Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur, is a practical, step-by-step guide that shares the key components that have the biggest impact on creating and maintaining a solid, profitable business. Her book made #1 Amazon Best Seller and #1 Amazon Hot New Releases in three categories including Starting a New Business, Bookkeeping, and Accounting on the day it launched.
Buy Sylvia’s Book HERE
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Company website: SMIFinancialCoaching.com
Book website: SmallBusinessFinanceBook.com
Buy the book: Small Business Finance for the Busy Entrepreneur
Find the book at indie bookstores: The Book Bar, McIntyre’s Books, So & So Books, and Page 158 Books
Photo Credits: Collazo Photography