I am always harping on about launching your book and making it part of the marketing plan long before it’s even hit the printing press. But many people don’t do it because they think it’s vain, expensive or they just don’t have time. None of these reasons are valid as spelled out in my last blog. It’s actually very easy and a fun part of the book process. You get to have a party!
My biggest advice to authors is don’t go over the top unless you have the budget because it can get expensive if you don’t plan it.
This is important. You don’t want to book a bar for a Friday night if you’ve written a children’s picture book. Think about who your market is. It might be written for children, but they won’t be handing over the money to buy the book. This means that you’re talking to parents and caregivers. A possible venue in this case might be a library, café, school, bookshop or your home. None of these will cost much in terms of facility hire.
If you’ve written a memoir or self-help book, you might choose a venue that suits the book or a bar that provides the space so long as you purchase a minimum amount of food and drink.
The Day and Time
Again this will be guided by the venue and the book. If it’s a children’s book, you might launch on a Sunday afternoon in the library in the kids’ section or a Tuesday after school in a children’s bookshop. You’ll want children there with their parents and caregivers who will be handing over the money. If it’s a night-time crowd, you might choose a bar and launch on a Friday night. Keep in mind the time of year because in winter it’s hard to get people out on weeknights and in Summer you may want to avoid midafternoon when it’s the hottest part of the day. In our experience, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons seem to be optimal times to get people to show up.
Food and Drink
Gone are the days when people expected canapes and a full bar. That would be nice if you have the budget but the wording on your invitation should be something along the lines of ‘light refreshments’. It can be as simple as a few bottles of wine and soft drink along with cheese and crackers and maybe a few cakes. Keep it simple. If it’s a children’s book launch, maybe some fairy bread. Again bear in mind who your crowd will be. If it’s at a bar, people can buy their own drinks, but you might supply a few cheese platters. Here your invitation might say ‘drinks at bar prices’ that will tell people they are buying their own. One good thing about making people buy their own alcohol is that they don’t just turn up for the free grog (often not buying a book either).
It seems to be getting harder to get people to RSVP to events if they aren’t buying a ticket. You could make it ticketed if you like but it will depend on the audience. It’s worth getting people to ‘save the date’ early in the piece, then sending out invitations about four weeks prior to the event. This can be done by hard copy in the mail, email or by setting up an event on social media. Be aware that people telling you that they’re coming on social media is often just to help you get people seeing the event. Often, they don’t intend on coming. It’s our experience that about half of the people who say they’re coming on social media actually do. If you think that you can get some media to the event, send invitations to them as well.
The actual launch should not be overly long and complicated. Most of the attendees will be more interested in talking to you and other guests, drinking and eating and getting the book signed than standing around listening to people talk for three hours. Again, KEEP IT SIMPLE! Keep the running time to about ninety minutes, two hours at most.
Here’s a sample of how it might run:
7pm – guests arrive and mingle (you may have entertainment/music running at this time)
7.30pm – MC welcomes group
7.35pm – First guest speaker 9if you have one)
7.45pm – Launcher of book
7.55pm – Author talks
8.00pm – MC wraps up and invites book signing (with sales)
8.00–8.30pm – sales and signing
8.45–9.00pm – close
As you can see, this is a very simple event. You may know someone who plays guitar and can sing. You might want to hire a comedian; you might just make a playlist of music to suit. These fun little additions will add to the event but are not essential. People want to celebrate with you and help you on your way with your book.
If you want more details about how to launch your book, we have a book, The Launch Book, by Les Zigomanis as part of our Easy Publishing Series.
You’ve worked hard writing and publishing your book, time to celebrate! Blaise the Book Chick