Celebrate your book and yourself by planning a successful book launch!
Dream and Vision:
Daydream what you want your book launch to be like, including those who will come to celebrate with you. Create a vision board of the event. (Before my novel Gillian’s Heart was published, I posted a picture of how the book cover might look.)
Some of the items to budget for are the venue, refreshments, decorations, promotional materials, and prizes. If you are on a tight budget, consider a free setting, simple refreshments, and decorations you already have from another event. Someone may offer to provide the refreshments. If so, graciously accept their gift.
There are many possible venues. Bookstores are great, and some owners may even share the expense of your book launch. They will also take a percentage of your sales. Other venues are libraries, coffee shops, cafes, and community or church locations. Some authors even host book launch parties in their own homes, or the home of a friend.
First, consider if you want a private or public book launch. I encourage you to over-invite family, friends, neighbors, members of any organizations you belong to, members of your church, co-workers, and social media. (Because I used social media, I had friends from a long distance attend one of my book launches.)
Prepare Invitations, Flyers, and a Press Release:
Include date, time, location, book cover, book description, your bio, and a photo.
Family and friends who support you will want to be a part of your book launch, so invite as many as you feel you’ll need. I suggest four to six people for your launch team.
Greeter – Have someone outgoing to greet your guests as they arrive.
Book Table – One or two enthusiastic people at the book table to sell books. People who have read your book can answer questions about it. Provide change, and a calculator is always handy, an electronic payment option (like Square), pens, and post-it notes for the bookseller to write the name of the person who will receive the book. (Sometimes, I forget someone’s name, so the name on a post-it helps me not to be embarrassed.) Other items for the book table are bookmarks and tote bags emblazoned with your book cover.
Signage – This should show the cost of books, and who to make checks payable to.
Refreshment Table – Someone to oversee the refreshments.
Photographer – To take pictures of the event, share photos on social media after the event.
Your launch team provides you the freedom to visit with you guests and sign books.
There is no need to go overboard. Make it simple—coffee and tea, or sparkling cider, assorted cookies, or finger foods.
While I have never given a speech at one of my book launches, it is good to have something prepared just in case. Your guests are there to support and celebrate you. I encourage you to thank them—guests, venue staff, launch team, those who made your book possible, and family and friends for their support. If I were to give a speech, I’d share the back story of how my book came to fruition. Readers always like to hear where we get our ideas. Or, you can read from your book. Limit your speech to five or ten minutes.
Prizes or Giveaways:
Who doesn’t like to receive a gift? A tote bag, a mug with a teabag or packet of cocoa, a basket filled with reading-related items, socks, a bookmark, one of your other books (if you have one), etc.
Your team is there to support you and see that your well-planned book launch runs smoothly. Celebrate your accomplishment and yourself. Enjoy it—because it’s your party.
BJ Bassett encourages others as an author, teacher, and speaker. Her books include Gillian’s Heart, Lily, Sweet Charity, and The King’s Daughters—A Women’s Devotional. She teaches writing workshops at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR, and writer’s conferences, and she is a speaker for Stonecroft Ministries. She enjoys reading, jigsaw puzzles, and munching warm scones oozing with butter and jam while sipping Earl Grey tea.
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