Your book launch can be an exciting, yet stressful time. But I can think of no better way to ease the tension than by throwing yourself a party!
Now let's be clear, a launch party is not necessary for a successful book launch. In fact, your launch party is not likely to help you sell books in general.
But it is a lot of fun, and it can show that you are serious about your writing.
But how do you throw a launch party?
Well, let's find out…
- Whether you should have a book launch party
- 15 tips to create an awesome launch party
- What not to do in your launch party
Table of contents
- Should You Have a Book Launch Party?
- Tip #1: Pick a Date
- Tip #2: Pick Your Venue
- Tip #3: Find Volunteers
- Tip #4: Invite People
- Tip #5: Announce on Social Media and Email Newsletter
- Tip #6: Provide Refreshment
- Tip #7: Set up a Book Table
- Tip #8: Have a Speech Ready
- Tip #9: Prepare an Interview
- Tip #10: Do a Book Reading
- Tip #11: Have a Book Signing
- Tip #12: Mingle with Attendees
- Tip #13: Take Photos and Videos
- Tip #14: Send Thank You Notes
- Tip #15: Use Photography to Promote Your Books
- What Not to Do
- Party On!
And if you haven't checked it out already, be sure to read our in-depth article about how to have an amazing book launch. While the book launch party is fun but optional, there are many things on this list that you should strongly consider.
Plus, we also have a book launch checklist that you can download for free. The checklist gives you everything you need for a dynamic book launch, packaged in a convenient cheat sheet.
Should You Have a Book Launch Party?
Before we get into the tips, we should discuss this question: should you even have a book launch party?
The short answer is: you don't have to.
A party is an optional book launch strategy. Can you sell some books at a book launch party? Yes. Is it enough to justify the time and expense? Most likely not.
So what is a good reason for a book launch party? Here are a couple of answers:
- To Celebrate: honestly, one of the best reasons for a party is to celebrate your achievement. You just wrote a book! That is worth a party.
- To Build Word of Mouth: direct interactions with fans and potential customers is a great way to build word-of-mouth for your book. While less tangible and easy to measure than other marketing tactics, you shouldn't ignore it.
- Parties Are Social Media Gold: if you carefully document your party with photos and videos, those can go a long way on social media.
- It's Fun!: Finally, the last reason to have a book launch party is…because why not? Parties are fun, and a party all about your book can be even more fun.
Now it may be that a party is not right for you, and that is totally okay.
If you are introverted, or otherwise dislike parties, there is absolutely no reason why you should have them.
But if you are more extroverted (like me), then a party might be just what the doctor ordered. So with that in mind, let’s get into the tips.
Tip #1: Pick a Date
While the obvious choice for a book launch party is the same day as your book launch, it doesn't have to be.
A lot of people choose the day before, as a way of building hype around your book. But you could also do it anytime before or after your book launch. Whatever is convenient for you. I might recommend a weekend, perhaps the weekend before your publish date.
Tip #2: Pick Your Venue
The venue you use will depend on your desires. If you want something more intimate with just your friends and family, then your home will do fine.
However, if you want something bigger, you should inquire into other venues. You could rent out a venue, or see if a library or bookstore would be willing to host your book launch party. While it is unlikely that you can do so for free, it's worth searching.
And if you are willing to shell out a little bit extra for a nice venue, don't let me stop you. Just don't expect to make a profit from it.
Tip #3: Find Volunteers
For most authors, a book launch will not make significant money on its own, meaning you will not be able to pay for entertainment, catering, etc.
If you have the money and you want to spend it, go right ahead. But consider that a cost, not an investment. You are not likely to make that money back directly.
Instead, look for friends and family members who might volunteer. Do you have a brother-in-law who likes to take photos? See if they would be willing to be your photographer.
Tip #4: Invite People
Once you know the date and venue of your book launch, it is time to start inviting everyone and anyone you know.
Start with your community. If you are not having a private event, advertise your book launch everywhere you can come on Post-it boards, in the gym, in the grocery store, etc.
Tip #5: Announce on Social Media and Email Newsletter
One of the first things you should do is set up a Facebook event, and start sending it to everyone.
Additionally, you should make sure your email newsletter knows about your book launch. While most of your email subscribers will not live near you, you might be surprised to find that some do. And some might even be willing to travel short distances to be there.
Tip #6: Provide Refreshment
Every good party should have food and drinks available. Again, if you are expecting to entertain a large group of people, consider this an expense.
Tip #7: Set up a Book Table
Since this is a book launch party about your book, you should set up a table (or multiple tables) to show off said book.
You will want to have plenty of copies of your book available, so that you can sell as many as you can. This is the only way that you will be able to recoup the costs of your book launch party.
Side note: do not give away your books for free (other than, perhaps, a giveaway raffle). You spent a lot of time and money on that book, and on the launch party, and you should be paid accordingly.
Tip #8: Have a Speech Ready
A good chunk of your book launch party will be devoted to you, so that your attendees can learn more about you and your book.
So it is worth having a topic on hand to talk about. You can talk about your book, the process of writing your book, lessons that you have learned, etc.
Tip #9: Prepare an Interview
If you want to take it to the next level, ask someone to interview you in front of your attendees, so that you can answer questions that you might not have thought of on your own.
Alternatively, you can simply take questions from the audience, and answer them.
Tip #10: Do a Book Reading
Finally, one appropriate way to interact with your attendees is to read from your book. Not only is this on point for a book launch party, but it will also encourage people to buy your book if they are interested.
Tip #11: Have a Book Signing
For those who buy your book at your event, be sure to sign every copy for them.
A book launch party is a great opportunity for readers to interact with an author in a more intimate setting, and so anyone who buys your book is worth a signature.
Tip #12: Mingle with Attendees
While the previous three tips focused on you, you want to make sure you are equally focusing on those that chose to come.
Spend some time talking to as many people as you can, answering their questions, thanking them for being there, etc.
Tip #13: Take Photos and Videos
This is one of the most important tips, in my opinion. Have someone whose job it is to snap photos of you and of your attendees. And be sure to take a few selfies yourself.
Having this library of photos and videos will come in handy later on.
Tip #14: Send Thank You Notes
Where possible, try to send a thank you note to each person who attended, especially if it was a more intimate event.
If this is not entirely feasible, you can also thank people on social media or by email.
Tip #15: Use Photography to Promote Your Books
Assuming you have photos and videos of the event, these can be incredible assets for further promotion.
Photos of a book launch party are great for social media, especially if you have a good photo of you signing books, or of other people holding your books, etc.
This proves to your potential readers that your book is more than just some digital file on Amazon's servers. It means something to someone, and not just you.
Use these photos as often as you can, especially during the first month of your book launch.
What Not to Do
While we have spent most of our time talking about what you should do for a book launch, there are a few things that you shouldn't do.
- Do Not Hog the Spotlight: while a book launch party is technically about you and your book, don't make this the central focus. Instead, focus more on the people that are there, thank them for being there and showing an interest in your book, and simply enjoy the festivities.
- Do Not Give Away Free Books: I mentioned this earlier, but you should not give away free books at a book launch party. You can sell them at a discount, but giving away books for free gives the wrong impression, and it also negatively impacts your bottom line.
- Do Not Spend Too Much Money: a book launch party is a fun activity, but the cost can quickly balloon into something unmanageable. When you add up venue reservations, catering costs, and more, you can quickly lose a lot of cash. What's more, selling books at your book launch party is not likely to make up these costs. Try to keep your party within a respectable budget, whatever that looks like for you.
Are you ready to plan your first book launch party? Then get out there and get to work.
Once you have finished your book and know the release date, it is time to pick your party date, find a venue, and start planning.
But do keep in mind that this is an optional marketing tactic. You do not need to have a party to sell books. In fact, if you are an introvert (like many authors), then the idea of a party might sound horrible.
But for others, it is a great way to socialize, celebrate your achievement, and get more eyeballs on your books.