Hello there writers. I’ve held one book launch, and it was the most nerve-wracking experience I’ve had in a long time. Lucky for me, I held it at a local Cocktail Gastronomy Bar (The Classroom), so my nerves were easily calmed after fancy drink. But I’m getting ahead of myself, I should start at the beginning.
1. Decide what kind of launch you want.
Do you want to sell lots of books to new readers, book store owners, media? Of course I wanted it all. I sent out a special email invitation to book store owners, but when they all came back with a polite ‘Thanks but no thanks’ my confidence was dashed. I decided that I wasn’t the kind of person to go door to door and push an invitation on strangers, and would rather spend the night with friends and family celebrating the start of my new career and first book.
2. Think about your budget.
Do you want to spend money? Do you want to pay for food? Will you ask for sponsorship? How many books will you print? These are all questions that will help you understand how much money you require. I created a ‘wish list’ then worked backwards. I also held a book plus drink package that people could pre-pay for, so the profit from my book also helped pay for food on the day for guests. On top of my drinks packages, (which I managed through Eventrbite) I requested sponsorship from friends and family and added a special note in the acknowledgements of the book to say thank you.
3. Confirm date and venue
I ensured my launch was around the time I uploaded the manuscript to Kindle Unlimited and Createspace/Ingram. Also, I opted for a Thursday evening, after work so that the room hire was cheaper. I asked for sponsorship and got a great deal. In return, I posted a thanks to the bar in my acknowledgements and donated a signed book to The Classroom’s library wall.
4. Send out invitations
Invite more people than you think will attend. Use an online site like Eventbrite (free) to ensure people register for a ticket. Eventbrite also sends out a reminder email close to your launch to remind people to attend. You can create tickets that cost money if you want to charge entry. As mentioned above, I had a drinks and signed book package – you could do a signed book plus merchandise etc.
5. Write Speech
This was a tough lesson to learn. I’ve always thought I could wing speeches because I tend to talk a lot. But, luckily I wrote it all down because when I had 80 faces staring at me in dead silence – I had a weird out of body experience, if it weren’t for my written words bringing me back to ground, I’d have been done for.
6. Check RSVP’s
If people haven’t RSVP’d, send out a reminder of your event. It’s important for me that I filtered all guests back through Eventrbite so that I could cater for my launch. I ended up selling out to capacity a few days prior to the event.
7. If you have time, send a media release to your local papers.
I didn’t have time to send out a media release, although I did get a small spot post-launch in a local cultural paper X-press Magazine. This didn’t occur because I had sent out media releases, but because I met the journalist a few weeks prior at a function and she remembered my situation. You never know, if you don’t do it. What have you got to lose?
Photos of the Event