Your book has been edited, the cover design is completed, the layout has been finalized and proofs provided. The novel is set to release, all your hard work is soon to be revealed to the world. This is the big moment that you as a writer have been waiting for. Are you prepared? A book release is an exciting time and a key part of the launch is hosting an event. Not all books have, or need, a launch but it can act as a great method for attracting readers to your work. If you plan on having one, it can be handy to know what to do at a book launch.
Why is a book launch important?
As mentioned above, it is a great way to attract readers to your book. Besides, this is your hard work being brought to life, toot your horn! Here’s some extra pointers as to why you should have an event for it:
- The launch of your book is a key time for sales, its new to everyone and you want to do your best to reach best seller lists.
- You can attract old and potentially new readers by hosting a launch.
- People want to know more about the book and you’re the expert on it. What you say to them will be passed on through word of mouth.
Book launches are worth having and you only get one launch for a book (not always the case, but usually). So make it count!
What to do at a book launch
Generally you want to talk about the book, that is a good place to start. For real, you need to think about why you are having your book launch. This should be pretty obvious, you are celebrating the launch of your novel.
Prepare what you are going to talk about to your audience. Are you going to talk about the journey that it took to develop the novel? Will you discuss the intense amount of research that went into the book? Or will you leave it to an open Q&A? These are just some ideas that can be used at a book launch. To summarize the above and expand what you can do at your book launch:
- Discuss how the book came to be. People that show up to the launch are there to learn more about you and why you wrote the book.
- Read an excerpt from the book. It is the launch for the book after all, so give people a teaser of it to encourage them to grab a copy!
- Offer a contest. This can encourage people to stay to the end of the event.
- Post-speaking engagement and co-hosting. Once the reading is done, having extra entertainment or activities can keep them around a little longer to socialize and mingle. You could have a musician play music or have an art display for example.
- Food and drink. Throughout the event’s duration treat your guests well by providing them some consumables. Drinks can help them unwind from their day. Food is always a good option.
- Sign books! This should be obvious.
- Keep it short. Don’t prolong the event and make it dull and dragged out. If you plan on speaking try to limit to about an hour. Think of the type of audience, how long can they keep sitting and listening for?
When and where?
If you have an existing audience, think about when is their ideal time to have an event. Is it a weekday evening? Or if it is more family-focused possibly a weekend day time might work better. This also applies to location as well, where is the easiest place for your audience to arrive to? Ask yourself these questions to really get into the head of your audience.
If you don’t have an audience, this can be trickier because you have no basis to go off of.
How do you bring people to my launch? What if no one shows up?
That is a real fear, it is completely possible that no one will arrive at the launch. It can be nerve-wracking because you will never know as there are no guarantees. Some pointers are outlined below on how to assure the success of your book launch:
Create an online event for your novel’s launch
This can be on Facebook, your website, EventBrite, etc. Give a place for people to be able to notify that they want to attend. This will also make it easier for you and other attendees to share it with their friends.
For real, tell your friends, your family, your colleagues and anyone in-between. Now is the time to bang your drum and let everyone know about the great accomplishment you have done. Don’t be shy. Think of it this way, if you don’t tell your friends and family then there is a 0% chance of them showing up because they do not know about it.
This can be through social media (Facebook, Instagram) or search engines (Google Adwords). These ads lets you tailor the ads to people’s interests and their location. Be cautions though so you don’t spend a lot of money on ads as you can’t guarantee how many books you will sell at the launch to make back the money you invest.
Promotional Material and Press
This includes postcards, posters, digital banners, etc. You can use these items when reaching out to the media or being featured on magazines, blogs or newsletters.
As the previous point mentioned, blogs, local newspapers, magazines and newsletters are just a few of the wide range of media outlets you can reach to promote the launch of your book. Remember you want to think local, so if you are finding online magazines or blogs, make sure they are within the area so the readers of those outlets can actually attend your event.
Work with the store your launch is at
Give them postcards, posters and any other information you have about the launch to help them promote it. They want your launch to be a success because a successful launch is good business for them.
Summarize your Book Launch
Review the items listed above, in the linear format and it will help provide a guidance. Before you dive into any of the above mentioned, plan ahead and make an action plan for who you are going to talk to. If you are releasing your book through a publisher then you should know your book release far in advance, if you are an indie author, release the book later rather than in a month so you can book the launch at the right location and time.
Any other book launch advice? Share it in the comments.