You’ve put in the hours, blood, sweat and tears and your book is finally published!! It is now available but nobody knows it, except you. So it’s time to spread the word, and there is nothing like having a party to celebrate this huge accomplishment with friends, family and future fans. A great way to do this is to host a book launch party. Depending on your budget the type of party you can plan will vary, but you can really do this on any budget. Here are some steps that I followed and stayed within a $150-$200 budget when doing it. Writing and publishing is not an easy endeavor. I do recommend hosting a party to give you, the author, an opportunity to market and sell your novel as well as take a moment to let it all sink in. You are a published author and you deserve to shine!
Booking the Date and Venue:
- Find an event space that doesn’t cost you any money to rent. Can be a bar or lounge in theme with your novel, library, writing group, local bookstore
- Find a party planning committee (friends, family, co-workers). Ask them for help the day of and if they have any suggestions for raffles, poster making, promotional materials, etc. You know people, or they know people. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You will find that most people want to help but don’t know how.
Sending the Invite:
- Once venue and date are selected, send out an Evite, Facebook invite, email blast to all friends and family with date and time.
- Ask your event space if you are allowed to have any promotional materials inside and outside the event space. I was able to hang a poster in my restaurant’s window to entice people to come and check out the event
- Write a Press Release and send to local newspapers as well as post on free PR distribution sites (like www.i-newsire.com). Make sure to send out press releases at least one month in advance so that, if accepted, article can be published in local newspapers or on the internet to share on social media and allow enough traction for event publicity
Set-Up (Day of):
- Check with the venue or event manager to find out how much time you can arrive in advance for set-up. Give yourself at least an hour to prep
- Bring books to be sold at event (Check guest list to make sure have enough for those who have RSVP’d)
- Check with the event manager if the bartender can make a specialty drink with your book theme in mind (create a menu to be placed on bar)
- Microphone test with PA system
- Have a section of your book ready to be read
- Ask a friend or someone to be the Host/MC. Have this person talk up your book throughout the event so that you don’t have to and can instead focus on mixing/mingling with guests
- Get a change box and make sure have an account with PayPal if customers want to pay with credit card. Ask someone trustworthy to handle the money transactions
- If have a trailer, set-up a laptop to show trailer during the event. See if the trailer can be burned onto a DVD so doesn’t need WiFi
- Set-up Raffle prizes (if so desired). Create a poster with prizes and cost for raffle tickets For raffle prizes, I checked with my friend who worked for a publishing house and was able to donate some books to the event. A 50/50 Raffle is also fun and people can walk away with money
- If your friend/family member is a good baker see if he/she can make a cake or cupcakes with book or book theme incorporated
- Set-up author poster outside or in venue for people to see. Also, have postcards by book table. Ask event manager where you can hang promotional materials before proceeding. Always ask permission
- Depending on budget, order appetizers or finger food. Or see if venue will allow you to bring food from the outside.
- If there is any media blitz, print out copies of Media article for people to read. Have on display
Sample of my Itinerary (For your reference but please make this party your own and what makes you comfortable):
Event: 6pm-10pm at a private room in a bar in NYC:
- 6pm: Welcome
- 6:30-7pm: Meet and Mingle (appetizers being served). Bartender available for drinks. Bartender made specialty cocktail called “The Aurora Borealis”, which related to my story
- 7pm: MC (Friend/Family Member) Welcome everyone for coming. Get people psyched. Say books being sold along with raffle tickets. Talk about raffles and proceeds going to Relay for Life. Lead into Guest Speaker
- 7:30pm: Guest Speaker will speak about Relay for Life organization and event (or other event/fundraising event if participating)
- 7:45pm: MC introduces Author
- 8pm: Author Speak
- Thank everyone for coming.
- Talk a little about the writing journey.
- Thank family, friends and any special guests
- Do a reading from current story.
- Read a special excerpt from work in progress
- 8:20pm- Cake. Author poses with cake for photo-op and then have cake cutting
- 8:30-9:30pm- Book Signing
- 9:30pm- Pull raffle (how much did we make for relay?)
- 9:30pm-10pm Closings and Goodbyes
Total Costs For My Party:
- Appetizer Samplers: $50
- Books: $150
- Tipping of bartender and waitresses $30
- Poster and postcard promotional supplies Free (through a friend)
- Cake- Baked by a friend (Free)
- Microphone- Borrowed from my sister
- Raffle Prizes- Donated
- Total Costs- Approximately $200
- Profits from book sales – $250
- Revenue: $50
Most Importantly HAVE FUN! And don’t forget to be yourself. If you have a problem public speaking or networking, practice with friends or at other author book events prior to hosting your own party. You want to feel comfortable when you are the host. Also, another major hurtle I had to face was talking up my book, and me as an author. I know I have trouble, at times, talking about myself, so I tried to remember that this is about the book and the story. I believed in the story and now was ready to introduce it to the world. This is your story that you have written, so BE PROUD! It will take time, but it does get easier with practice. If you have any questions or need help planning your own party, feel free to reach out to me. Also, try to enlist a party planning committee (friends or family members) to help with the prep work the day of to help eliminate some of the stress. Believe me, they definitely come in handy! Don’t forget to share your own book launch party planning tips that worked (or didn’t work) to help other new authors as they plan their own parties to celebrate their writing success!