Congratulations, Author! It’s time to let your book fly away from you, into the public and into the hearts of your readers. You’ve worked hard for this, and I’m *so* proud of you! What’s next? As you’re designing your launch week, don’t forget to plan a book launch party. Take some time now to make sure your party is the icing on your sweet, successful launch week. Here are some considerations:
Research the best times to release your type of book. Self-help/personal growth books have two popular, perennial seasons: New Year and Back-to-School. You might decide to time your fiction or romance release to coincide with beach reading season. Obviously a fall launch would be best for a holiday picture book or recipe collection. Get on the ol’ search engine and dig into your market and your readers’ preferences.
Tuesday is the traditional day of the week for book releases, so the following Friday will be an ideal time to host your party. That will give you a couple of days to relax and stay in. (You’ll want to stay glued to your download stats on Wednesday and Thursday–trust me. So fun!) By Friday you’ll be ready to celebrate with your friends and fans 🙂
Be creative, and choose a location you love. I recently read an article about an author who rented a double-decker bus to drive from venue to venue during her launch week, bringing the party everywhere she went! What a fabulous idea! (I wish I could find the article again. If you know it, please link to it in the comments!)
You could choose a spot that has emotional or creative significance to you. When I launched Waiting For Jacob, I booked the back room of the Point Park Marketplace, a real-life location I included in my novel. And I invited the real-life bakery I mentioned in the book to cater the event 🙂 The ladies were thrilled and it brought so much great energy to the party. It was a neat experience to share with a few of my favorite local businesses.
Maybe you’d rather reserve a room at the library, the same library you loved to visit as a child. Now you’ll be returning as an author, and it will feel like you’ve come full circle. Many book stores would love the opportunity to partner with you for an event, too.
Unless you’re fortunate enough to have a massive launch team, be sure to invite everyone who helped you organize your launch. If you *ARE* heading up a team of hundreds, include your team’s key leaders and organizers.
Aside from your launch team, the folks who helped promote your book during launch week, you’ll also want to invite the local media outlets. I know–it feels a little intimidating to phone up the newspaper and say, “Hey, I’m having this thing. Thought you’d want to send someone down to cover the story!” But I want you to remember all the hours you spent holed up in your office or a small corner table at a cafe, pecking away at the keyboard, all alone and agonizing over strong verbs and whether adverbs were really necessary… This week is the culmination of all those lonely hours and, by gum, you’re going to tell everyone. So even if you have to say it with a trembling voice, invite the media. They’ll be happy to have some good news to cover.
And, of course, your family will want to celebrate with you, too. You can invite everyone from your cousin Glen way out in California to your great-aunt Maribelle, whom you haven’t seen since the potato salad reunion incident of 1997. Alternatively, you could also have a whole separate shin-dig for family at a later date.
Accept lots of help and keep it simple–you’re going to be tired! Delegate as much as you can. Brainstorm all the little tasks and write them on a list, along with the amount of time you estimate each task will take. Take an objective look at your list. Which tasks must be done by you, and you alone? Whenever possible, ask the key members of your launch team whether they’d be willing to lighten your load. That way, you can reserve your limited energy for interviews and other author appointments.
Allow plenty of time to check off all the tasks on the list. Don’t wait until the last minute and panic. That will send your whole team into a tailspin!
Most of all, enjoy these moments of planning. You’ve worked so hard to get to where you are. Taking time to plan ahead will ensure you enjoy the last few days of your launch week. Close your eyes and visualize all the details of the party you’d like to create. You created a book out of thin air–a party will be a snap 🙂
NOW YOU: Have you hosted a book launch party? Share your winning marketing ideas in the comments section.