Does this sound like the title of a best-selling book on how to make your book launch a terrific success? I just thought of this title as I get down to plan for the launch of my next book, a thriller once again, called, “Lucky For Some, 13.” What better way to think of all that you have to do to make the launch a great success than to write about it?
So here we go. My “5 Tips For A Great Book Launch”. What are my credentials to post this? I have shepherded my debut novel, a psychological thriller called, “It Can’t Be You” through this process. I therefore speak from my first hand experience of what can only be described as an exhilarating yet nerve-wracking exercise.
Before we go any further, let me say that this post is meant for writers who are compelled to arrange virtually everything concerning the book launch themselves. It is not for the famous and prominent writers who have their publishers do all this and more for them.
- Venue: Decide where you will have the book launch. Would it be in a major bookstore which is well-known, in a social club, or even in your own house. This is based on the scale of the launch, the numbers to be invited and so on. You want your guests to feel comfortable and share in your joy on this special day. I have preferred bookstores because they know their business well. Besides, they have a database of readers and shoppers who are invited and the overall ambiance is the best you can expect. Make sure you visit the place well before your function and understand what is provided and what is not. You don’t want any embarrassment of any kind later. Will they provide the banners, the publicity material, the seating arrangements, light snacks and a cup of tea? What would they charge? How long can they spare the appointed place for your function?
- Budget: Related to the first point is of course the budget. If you are planning to provide wine and cheese and so on, a bookstore won’t be the right fit. They may actually discourage food in their premises and for very valid reasons too. Would you then consider a restaurant or an upmarket hotel? It’s important that you check out all these before committing to a particular venue. You will also need to spend on having professionals take pictures or shoot a video of the function, if you so desire.
- Guests: Make sure you invite people who are likely to come for the function. Don’t take a scatter gun approach and fire off invitations to hundreds of people who may never show up. Fit the number of guests keeping in mind the arrangements you have made at the venue. You don’t want hundreds to throng the place and fight for standing room. At the same time, you don’t want to have a hundred chairs arranged with may be twenty relatives and friends sitting there anxiously craning their necks to look for more to drop in. Having a celebrity speaker, perhaps another author, does help. It makes a difference to the tone of the function. Amongst other things, it could help get you more coverage in the media. Having a celebrity is more effective from this angle than having your uncle who first encouraged you to write that book.
- Books: make sure you have enough number of books. I mean, of course, copies of your to be released book. Many would like to have the pleasure of getting a copy autographed by you. It looks bad if you have just a dozen to go around. If you order a reasonable number and they all get sold out, well that’s good news for you and your publisher. Make sure they are prominently located in the store or wherever you are having the function. Make sure too that they are in excellent condition. They shouldn’t look battered and bruised after a long trip from wherever they came from. These are small things but make a powerful impression on you and your book. A small and silly point, but a very practical one. Have a couple of pens that write well, before you begin signing books for your guests. It looks awful to have to ask them for their own pens to perform this task!
- Publicity: Finally the last but perhaps the most important point, in this day and age, you have no choice but to publicize your event as much as you can. Make the best use of social media. This is the time to cash in on the platform you have created over time on Facebook, Twitter, Chime, LinkedIn, Klout, Pheed and what have you. Tell your audience about your function, and more importantly about your book. There could be online sales through portals, pre-order arrangements with these very portals to start with and a host of interesting things you can devise, like contests for example, to create a buzz about your upcoming book. The use of social media is another huge subject in itself. Let’s just say that today the winner is the author who manages his/her social media better. Create an “event” on Facebook. Tell everyone about it. Many may not turn up, particularly those who are living elsewhere than in your city. It doesn’t matter. This is an effective way of informing them about your new book.
In my experience if you take care of the 5 points mentioned above, your book launch will be a great success. It’s an important day in your life, as an author. Why leave things to chance? Why not spend valuable time and energy focusing on some of these little things? Yes, they can make a huge difference to how your precious book, the result of months of endeavor, will be received .
Lastly, remember the word “launch” is most often associated with a rocket. You want your new book to soar like one.