Planning a Book Launch
This week, I will provide you with a few tips to have a smooth book launch event. This, in no way, replaces a full event planning for a 'sell-off' event, but at least what I am about to share will give you some idea to get started and get the fear out of your head.
First thing I would suggest is to decide the type of event you want to have. Would it be light, more interactive and on the social side? Or would it be a sit-down, very structured agenda type event? The answer to this depends on your book. If it is non-fiction, then maybe the latter will work. If it is fiction, I would suggest going the light, social way. One client in particular had the more structured approach even though his book is non-fiction, more biographical. If you are unsure, offer a balance of both. You get the best of both worlds. Also take into consideration your personality. If you love light-hearted and fun, then no matter what type of book you have, go with who you are. That way, it comes off very natural, and you won't have to 'put on a face'. It would seem false, may just turn people off, and the ambience wouldn't be welcoming.
Location, location, location. Yes, choosing the best location is always important. You want somewhere that is easy to reach, with great parking facilities and reflects the ambience you want. Space to move around while the event is going on is also critical for you want to encourage networking and feedback around your work.
Having the right type of people at your book launch is a great way to draw a crowd to your event. The right people depend on the type of work you wrote, the reviews you have received, and the persons who genuinely support your work. Getting persons with clout and a wide network is the way to go. If you feel you don't know anyone, start sending out invitations and get to know them either directly or through someone who does. Don't let not knowing someone deter you from having the best event ever!
Planning ahead will make for a smoother event. It will also give you time to get out the kinks without unnecessary stress. Planning a book launch cannot happen overnight. I would suggest at least six months lead time and more when it comes to inviting persons of influence to your launch since people of this status are booked out sometimes a year in advance.
COST OF THE EVENT
Planning a book launch is not going to happen for free, unless you have such influence that you can get sponsors. If you do, kudos to you. And to get sponsorship will even take more time to solicit, so add an extra six to eight months to the above hint when planning. Know your budget. If what I have said so far sounds like it will cost you a bundle, then get to work on sponsorships or collaborate with another author, or downsize the event and maybe work in tandem with the local library, bookstore or school. You may not get the same results you are looking for, but at least you will be able to say you had a book launch and get some level of traction and word of mouth for your book.
Once there's entertainment and food, people will attend. It's free! Don't even think you will charge persons to attend and still want them to buy your book unless the entry fee includes the book. I find it tacky to charge a fee anyway, so please don't do that. Give persons the option and free will to buy your book. Don't force it on them. Ensure the entertainment suits the ambience and tone of your book. Notice whatever I say, it comes back to the book plus your personality. The focus is to create an experience that reflects the book itself.
Media and PR help to boost your book and visibility. Invite the media - print, radio and even social media enthusiasts who will be tweeting, Facebooking, Instagraming and posting videos to YouTube about the event. If you are reading this and you already had your book launch and missed this step, oops! So sorry for you. Next time.
One of the most critical things is having copies of your book for signing, selling and reading at your book launch. It would be the worst thing ever to have a book launch without your books! Then it wouldn't be a book launch, would it? So ensure you order in time and that there is no hold-up at customs or mishaps in freight, especially if you are planning a book launch around the holidays, especially at Christmas. Get them in early to avoid embarrassment. Order extra books to do some giveaways, and I would strongly suggest having a memorabilia for giving away as well that will have the date, title of your book, and so on, so that it serves as a marketing tool as well as a remembrance.
If you have read this far, it means you may be thinking that this sounds like a lot, and yes, it is. Think of it like a wedding for your book. Don't raise your eyebrows. At least, unlike a wedding, you can make back some money, or maybe all and then some. So it would be worth it.
- Corine La Font is a speaker, author, coach and self publishing consultant. She is also an award-winning publishing resource in the 2013 Small Business Book Awards. Get a copy of her book at http://amzn.to/TFHQka, Subscribe to her magazine at http://bit.ly/1IDj7pQ and tune in to her radio programmes at www.blogtalkradio.com/helpdeskja and check out her website at http://www.helpdeskja.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.