Over the years, I have been to ALOT of book launches… so have gathered a few tips here on what I have seen work well and what seems to gather a collective eye-roll when the author is not looking.
1. Secure the Date and the Venue
Give as much notice as you can. Between 2 and 6 weeks depending upon how far some people are prepared to come. Don’t be limited in thinking of suitable venues for your book’s launch – the venue does not have to be book-ish. Think creatively about what would work well with your book’s message or theme.
2. MC or Keynote Speaker
Secure a keynote speaker who is known and admired in your industry, and also speaks well. They don’t have to be someone who speaks for a living, or famous, or a celebrity – just someone who has achieved in your area/industry/sport/niche, has the respect of peers and is likely to perform the duty of being an entertaining host of the party.
If they are known, make sure you include their name on the launch invitations.
Apart from securing a venue, securing the speaker would be important to confirm as early as possible – for two reasons. Firstly, they may require many week’s notice if they have a busy schedule. And secondly, securing a high profile speaker makes organising the rest of the details SOOO much easier (because if people know this person is going to be there, they are more likely to come).
3. Invite list
Invite as many supportive people you know Send a reminder email the day before (and a post on Facebook if appropriate) because people get busy and they forget.
Invite as many industry influencers you know (and follow up with these people to make sure they RSVP).
4. Prepare a Short Speech
People coming along love to hear from the author, in relation to their book. This can be deeply uncomfortable for some people – but it truly makes the night if your supporters hear a few heartfelt words about what inspired the book. A couple of minutes is all that is needed and can include a short reading from the book, as long as the passage matches the mood you are trying to set for the evening.
5. Allocate a small budget for some finger food (Optional)
This is particularly important for weekday evening launches, as many people come straight from work. If your budget stretches further, a tab at the bar also goes down well, but not necessary.
6. Have a plan for book sales
Have a bunch of books there for people to buy and have someone in charge of selling them – as long as it’s not you. That is not your roll for the night because you will be busy basking in the celebration of having your book launched! If your launch is in a bookstore (or hosted by a bookstore), they usually take care of the sales for you, and retain a percentage of the sales.
7. Tools of the Trade
Make sure you have a felt tip pen or sharpie on hand to sign books – people come to book launches just so they can have their copy signed by the author.
This is not an exhaustive list, however if you have given some consideration to the above 7 items you are well on your way to a successful book launch.
Time to pop the champers!