10 Tips for Planning a Book Launch Party

illustration-of-books-pvBy Cecilia Lewis

Recently, I was discussing plans for an upcoming book launch party with a client of mine. This is her second published novel, so she had some great ideas for what would and wouldn’t work for her launch party this time around. After speaking with her, I was inspired to share some of her fantastic tips. Every author’s requirements for their launch are going to be different, and some may prefer an online party instead of one at a physical venue, so what works for some may not work for others. These tips are geared towards self-publishing authors, but many may be applicable to all. If you’re preparing for a book launch soon, you may find these tips as helpful as I did!

  1. Have a supportive team

A launch event will probably require more preparation than you realize—I was certainly surprised by the amount of work involved! For my client’s launch, she had two assistants who helped her with various details, from securing the venue to distributing fliers to purchasing all the necessary items. Make sure you have a great support system in place to help you plan the event.

  1. Confirm everything 48 hours in advance

For one thing, this is a good business practice. For another, you may learn the hard way that some things can fall apart at the last minute. Be as prepared as possible by making sure that everything is on track and preventing possible mishaps.

  1. Consider a theme

This won’t work for everyone, but consider choosing a theme for your party that relates to your book. For my client’s summery beach read, she designed a tropical-themed party. Deciding on a theme early on will make a lot of your decisions easier regarding food, decorations, invitations, etc.

  1. Make fliers to advertise the event

Because the party was open to the public, my client placed a number of fliers in and around prominent local businesses. The fliers included the book’s cover and summary, a brief author bio, and the party details. This could be a great way to get more exposure for the event.

  1. Order your books in advance

If you’re ordering physical books to sell, be prepared for delayed shipments or other issues. For my client’s first party, half of her books barely arrived in time! This time around, she ordered them ahead of time so there was much less stress. Order your books weeks in advance so that you have everything ready to go.

  1. Be prepared for both credit card and cash payments

I would recommend using an app like Square in order to accept credit card payments for your books right on your smartphone/tablet. But many guests will want to pay in cash, so have plenty of change ready.

  1. Have promo items

In addition to your book, be prepared with other promotional items—bookmarks, business cards, pens, or other swag. There are lots of options for this—I’ll probably do a whole post about it—but whatever you choose, make sure that it’s ready to hand out to your guests the night of the event.

  1. Have a photographer

Photos taken at your launch will look great on your author website. Even if you can’t afford to hire a photographer, consider designating a friend to take photos for you throughout the night. At the very least, you’ll probably want photos to commemorate your launch!

  1. Have a guest book

Place a guest book on your signing table that allows people to leave their name, email, and other notes. This is both a great way to commemorate the event and to collect email addresses for your author newsletter.

  1. Send thank you notes

Another great benefit of having a guest book? Use the emails to send partygoers a thank you note. Also be sure to write a thank you note to the provider of the venue—and consider giving them a signed copy of your book. After all, you may need them to host your next book launch!

Have you ever had a book launch party? What worked and what didn’t? Are there any tips I missed? Let me know in the comments!

This post is part of my Self-Publishing Series. For more information about self-publishing, check out the other posts in the series here, and follow the blog to see future posts!

Interested in professional editorial services for your manuscript? Check out my Services page for more information about what I offer.

Related Links:

-What to Avoid in Your Cover Copy

-Self-Publishing Print Books: CreateSpace vs. IngramSpark

-The Pros and Cons of Physical Copies

-Who’s Reading Your Books? Identifying Your Audience


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