10 Rules for Hosting a Book Launch Party

A well-planned book launch party can get your book marketing efforts started off on the right foot by attracting the media and capturing new readers. Whether you are planning on hosting a book launch party at your own house or a more public place (recommended), these 10 rules are ones every author should follow:

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1. Set Realistic and Measurable Goals

While a book launch party can, and should, include celebration, it is important to realize that it is also a marketing event; and its main purpose is to sell books. Therefore, think of it as a business venture as well as a party. Track every cost so you can determine the ROI (return on investment). For instance, will you use custom printed postcards or note cards featuring your book as invitations or using Evite.com? Will you host the party at your home, at a free venue like a bookstore, library, etc., or will you rent a professional party space for the event. Will you be engaging the services of an event planner, or handling all the details yourself? Event planners are an added expense, but they may possess the experience necessary to drive attendance. Be sure to set goals in terms of attendance (readers and media) and book sales (and book reviews). By determine your strategy and your budget in advance, you can analyze the results and make improvements for your next book event.

2. Pick an Appropriate Theme

Your event must appeal to your target readers to increase the chances of them attending – and of having positive word-of-mouth afterward. For instance, if you’ve written a mystery, host a “murder mystery party.” By picking a theme that relates to your book, and making that theme a clear component of the invitation, you ensure that everyone who attends is a prime candidate to buy your book at the end of the evening when you pull out your signing pen.

3. Call Upon Your Guests

Follow-up on every RSVP with a personal “thank you” that promises them a good time, a goodie bag (see below), and a great discount on a signed copy of your book. Also ask if they know anyone else who might be interested in attending the book launch event of the season (hyperbole is okay when it’s tongue-in-cheek). Make sure your guests know that they are welcome to invite/bring others to the event. If your guests start to use their social media reach to promote your event, your guest list can quickly climb, which means more book sales and more book reviews.

4. Market to the Media

Appealing to the media requires having a unique and compelling angle. Fortunately, if you did a good job connecting with your readers, you probably already have a unique and compelling angle right at your feet. Now just write a press release about it:

Local Mystery Author Launches Highly-Anticipated New Novel with a Murder Mystery Party and YOU are invited!

Not a bad headline for a press release, right? Once you have your press release written, send it to your local newspapers, television, and radio stations. The more local the media, the more interested they will be. Are you going to attract Good Morning America to your book launch? Probably not (see Rule #1). But will the local news channel feature you in a segment? Perhaps, especially if you’ve accumulated an impressively large guest list. When the segment airs, record it and post it to your social media. Share it with your attendees. They’ll all brag about being at an event that got on the news. What does that mean for you? More book sales!

5. Get Social Online

Before and after your event, be sure to use the power of social media to spread the word. Prior to the event, use your social media platform to drive awareness, answers questions, promote the event, and solicit attendees. Afterwards, share lots of pictures of the fun time had by all (along with a link to your book, of course). Even if people aren’t able to attend in person, they’ll love to see the pictures and they still may buy the book (which is, after all, the whole point!).

6. Get Social Offline

Even though many writers are introverts by nature, your book launch party is not the time to be shy. So step out of your comfort zone and embrace the gregarious published author inside you. Strike up conversations with every single person in attendance. Be generous with your time and your smile. Rather than going for the “hard sell” take lots of pictures with everyone instead, using THEIR phones as well as yours. If they have pictures on their phones, they are more likely to post those pictures on their social media platforms after the event, along with links to you and/or your book. Those online postings last a lot longer than your event ever will.

7. Get Really Social Offline

The more fun your guests have, the better your sales will be at the end of the night (since everyone will still be there) and the better your word-of-mouth will be after the event (which means the better your sales will be afterward, too). So get ready to live it up on the night of your party! Create lots of photo opportunities and encourage all your guests to take as many pictures as they can, not just of you or your book, but of the venue and/or decorations. Did your murder mystery guests don costumes (did you encourage them to by adding a costume contest to the proceedings)? Have them take posed pictures. Would your romance novel lovers mind posing next to a life-size cardboard cutout of a male hunk? Probably not. By connecting with your readers, creating a theme, and having fun, you’ll create an atmosphere that encourages reader engagement, and that will translate to more book sales at the end of the night — in other words, a perfect book launch party!

8. Joint Ventures are Your Secret Weapon

A “joint venture” is a collaboration between two people or companies with mutually-beneficial goals and results. Any good party has goodie bags, right? But rather than giving away copies of your book (you’re trying to sell copies, after all), partner with local businesses who are seeking marketing opportunities of their own. Would your romance novel lovers enjoy the local bakery’s cookies (along with a coupon) inside their goodie bag? Of course! Would your action aficionados like a coupon for a free tub of popcorn with the purchase of tickets to the latest James Bond movie playing at the local Cineplex? Absolutely! Joint Venture partnerships like this are relatively easy in this day and age of social media, and you may be surprised how many of them will advertise YOUR event on their social media platforms, too.

9. Prepare to Sell Books

When you’re in the middle of a fun party, the last thing you’ll want to be burdened with is handling book orders. But of course, taking book orders is the whole point of throwing a book launch party. What a dilemma! Fortunately, with advance planning, you can make sure this important step goes just as flawlessly as the party itself. Consider the logistics in advance in terms of cash, check, or charge. If you plan on charging sales tax, determine a discount to offer on your book that rounds the final cost to an even number (preferably in a cash-friendly denomination like $10, $15, or $20). You can promote the discount and you don’t have to worry about counting pennies for change. If you plan on taking credit cards at the event, is your smart phone hooked up with a way to do that, either with Square or PayPal, for example? It’s easy to hand-out business cards with your Amazon link printed on it, but the reality is that people attending a book launch party will expect to be able to buy a signed copy of the book that night, and you want them to! Who knows whether they’ll buy it the next day?

10. Call Upon Your Guests Again

If your attendees are old friends (or new friends who had a great time), they’ll be happy to help you spread the word about your book – but they might not know how. So tell them. Be sure your venue has a number of placards or signs with instructions for posting reviews on Amazon, sharing pictures on Instagram, or commenting on the event on Facebook. Be sure to follow-up personally with every attendee via email after the event with links to write a review, post a picture, or share a selfie.

Now that you have a mailing list, you can also notify them when your next book event takes place. And it’s sure to be even better than your first one. Throwing your first book launch party is always the most difficult. But perhaps these rules will make it easier (and more successful).


If you’re a self-publishing author who is finding it difficult to “get your book out there,” reserving 5 hours with a Personal Marketing Assistant may make all the difference.  We can help you even if you didn’t publish with Outskirts Press, the #1-rated self-publishing company according to Top Consumer Reviews.

 

Author Poll: Kenwyn K. Smith Your Help With His Book Cover

Kenwyn K. Smith is self-publishing a book with Outskirts Press, and he wants your help deciding on a book cover.

Book Summary

Humanity now recognizes we are partway through a transformational epoch that may be even more impactful than the Renaissance. A central feature of this reformation is discovering that all of life is predicated on abundance. Never before has the world been so wealthy. Yet mostly we still feel it is a struggle to survive, largely because our economic system is based on real or artificially created scarcities. The world order has been founded on the economics of scarcity, which is an insufficiently robust architectural edifice given present geopolitical complexities. It needs to be augmented by a financial infrastructure centered on abundance.

About the Author

Kenwyn Smith, professor of organizational behavior at the University of Pennsylvania, is a scholar-practitioner. His work has ranged from schools to prisons, businesses to health care institutions, state-run enterprises to entrepreneurship, pharmaceuticals in Belgium to HIV/AIDS communities in America, from restoring under-resourced black South African townships to supporting livelihood-development in rural India.

Please take a look at two possible covers below and then vote on the choice you recommend.

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Cover A

Cover B

Author Poll: Margaret Watkins Needs Your Help With Her Book Cover

Margaret Watkins is self-publishing a book with Outskirts Press, and she wants your help deciding on her book cover.

Book Summary

TIBET.  Land of mystery.  Or is it still?

The author finds out when an unexpected opportunity takes her across the arid Tibetan plateau and lands her at the foot of Mount Everest.

About the Author

During the decade surrounding this adventure and the writing of this book the author lived in a small cabin in Stanley, Idaho (population 100) with her husband, two horses and two large messy dogs.

Please take a look at two possible covers below and then vote on the choice you recommend for Margaret.

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Cover A

Cover B

 

New York Times Features Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Author Nikki DuBose

This holiday season, we continue to feature authors who have taken advantage of the 2016 Holiday Bundle and the benefits of the New York Times Holiday Edition ad. Co-op ads offer authors effective exposure through a well-known, established publication with millions of motivated book lovers!

The New York Times Holiday Edition features self-publishing author Nikki DuBose.

About the Author

Nikki DuBose is a former model, host, and commercial actress who has appeared on the covers of and in editorials for magazines such as Maxim, Glamour, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She is now a writer and public speaker. She is an advocate for mental health and uses her experiences to connect with others.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light

Nikki DuBose recently turned her career focus towards writing, public speaking, and mental health advocacy and draws firsthand experience from a long-standing battle with childhood abuse, sexual victimization, self-harm, addictions, eating disorders and various mental health issues. Her articles appear regularly online for The Huffington Post, the National Eating Disorders Association, Eating Disorder Hope, Recovery Warriors and Clinical Addiction Recovery Institute (C.A.R.I.).

Her recovery story and advocacy work have been profiled on CBS Los Angeles, People, The Inquisitr, L.A. Weekly and Esquire, among many others. In addition to writing, speaking and advocacy, Nikki is pursuing her degree in psychology, with the goal of one day obtaining her Ph.D.

With the help of James Johanson, who is a strategy consultant and the author of The Road to Wellness: Mastering Mind, Body and Environment, Nikki brings her story to the world with her personal memoir in Washed Away: From Darkness to Light.

Washed Away: From Darkness to Light is an incredible story of one brave woman’s perseverance in the face of daunting life circumstances. Nikki DuBose details her chilling experiences with an eating disorder, childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse – and how she found the strength to rise above and find recovery. This powerful read will inspire those in their own recovery journeys.” —Kristina Saffran, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director at Project HEAL

“I was truly amazed by her determination to live life. I saw a woman that had every reason to quit and remain silent, but she chose to break through every obstacle that challenged her. I am very grateful that she has taken on the challenge to not only speak about her experiences, but to fight for change in laws that will empower children and survivors to protect themselves. We all need to learn from Nikki and use our voices to create positive change. It is no longer okay for the silence to outweigh the tough discussion. Ignorance will not stop child sex predators from harming our children.” —Matthew Sandusky, Founder & Executive Director of Peaceful Hearts Foundation, Author (Undaunted: Breaking My Silence to Overcome the Trauma of Child Sexual Abuse), Speaker

Are you ready to publish your own book and perhaps find yourself in New York Times next year?

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New York Times Features Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Author Joseph Bronson

golfchronicles
This holiday season, we continue to feature authors who have taken advantage of the 2016 Holiday Bundle and the benefits of the New York Times Holiday Edition ad. Co-op ads offer authors effective exposure through a well-known, established publication with millions of motivated book lovers!

The New York Times Holiday Edition features self-publishing author Joseph Bronson.

About the Author

His successful business with global responsibilities has enabled Joseph Bronson to enjoy a unique set of golfing experiences throughout the world. Joe is a member of the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, and Cordevalle Golf Club in San Martin California (Host of the 2016 US Women’s Open). He plays golf and practices at least twice a week. He and his wife, Linda, live in San Jose and Pebble Beach, and they have two grown children who also reside in California. Golf Chronicles is his first book.

cover-2

Golf Chronicles:
An Amateur’s Lifelong Dedication to the Game

Join the fun in this celebration of all things golf—a series of life stories, vignettes, and essays from the perspective of an ordinary player who simply loves the game. Joe Bronson has played golf for the past 40 years at courses all over the world—from 84 of the top 100 US venues to England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, China, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and even Israel. His book includes an account of the hardest holes and the most enjoyable holes he has played, as well as insights into the current state of the game. From his first round of golf at age 25 to reaching a handicap of four, this dedicated player’s passion for the game shines through in his entertaining yet informative collection of Golf Chronicles.

The book also discusses the current state of the game and some recommendations as to how it can be improved. A surprise ending is also in store for the reader who dares to dive into the final story.

Are you ready to publish your own book and perhaps find yourself in New York Times next year?

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New York Times Features Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Author Keith Elkins

This holiday season, we continue to feature authors who have taken advantage of the 2016 Holiday Bundle and the benefits of the New York Times Holiday Edition ad. Co-op ads offer authors effective exposure through a well-known, established publication with millions of motivated book lovers!

The New York Times Holiday Edition features self-publishing author Keith Elkins.

About the Author

A Buffalo resident, Keith Elkins retired from Empire State College as a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in 1997. He’s since been a volunteer in support of children, working adults and seniors. Currently, he’s founder/writer/performer with the Brainstormers, who dramatize and then discuss with seniors issues of concern to them.


cover-1The Old Guy Goes

On his 40th birthday, community college teacher Eldred Duker feels he’s getting older faster and faster. Childless, he and his wife Marie visit the orphanage he and his now-estranged sister Anne lived in as small children and, as Marie has long wanted to do, end up adopting six-year-old Hope. Hope is sexually assaulted at age 16. Herself molested by one of their mother’s male friends as a child, Anne comes for a visit to help. After Hope is on her own, Marie is killed in a car accident. Slowly at first, Duke starts losing his grip on reality. He seeks revenge on the man whose vehicle killed Marie, looks for relief of his pain by taking a yoga class, falls in love with the instructor Rachel, marries her, sees his daughter Hope married to Dirk and helps Rachel bury her mother. During these years, Duke’s judgment deteriorates. He causes a car accident that kills Rachel, starts drinking regularly and tracks down the man who killed Marie to forgive him and thus himself. Hope and Anne eventually realize that he is no longer capable of taking care of himself and place him a Continuing Care Retirement Community. There, when ER tests given after he breaks a leg reveal that he has a fast-acting fatal disease, they move him back to his old home. Having separated from Dirk, Hope moves in to take care of him and arranges for hospice care. Along with her now-adult children, she and Anne attend his death.

Are you ready to publish your own book and perhaps find yourself in New York Times next year?

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New York Times Features Outskirts Press Self-Publishing Author Herbert David Teitelbaum

asamightystream
This holiday season, we continue to feature authors who have taken advantage of the 2016 Holiday Bundle and the benefits of the New York Times Holiday Edition ad. Co-op ads offer authors effective exposure through a well-known, established publication with millions of motivated book lovers!

The New York Times Holiday Edition features self-publishing author Herbert David Teitelbaum.

About the Author

Rabbi Teitelbaum and his wife Robin have two sons and five grandchildren. The Teitelbaum’s presently live in a retirement residence in Palo Alto, California.

As a Mighty Stream: The Life of an American Rabbi

As a Mighty Stream is the personal memoir of Rabbi Teitelbaum.

Rabbi H. David Teitelbaum is a native of San Francisco. In 1951 he was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He holds an M.A. in Educational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University.

He served as an Army Chaplain during the Korean War. He joined Martin Luther King, Jr. in the struggle for civic rights in Selma Alabama in 1965. In a 1976 mission to the Soviet Union, he brought support to Jewish refuseniks. After serving Congregation Beth Jacob in Redwood City, California for 38 years, he is now Rabbi Emeritus. He has published four booklets on Jewish life cycle events.

Are you ready to publish your own book and perhaps find yourself in New York Times next year?

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