Avoid Curling Sandwiches: Plan Your Dream Book Launch

When the writing is complete, the cover design is ready, and your book is edited and off to print, the next leap of faith is your book launch.
Many first-time authors we work with have a rich vein of career and life experiences which fuel their passion for writing. Yet we often see that becoming a published author is their greatest challenge yet. When the writing is complete, the cover design is ready, and your book is edited and off to print, the next leap of faith is your book launch. This event can single handedly cause a tummy-turning flow of emotions. On one hand, you want it to be a roaring success, full of fans. On the other, you’ll need to budget for the occasion. But toughest of all, it’s only natural to worry whether anyone will show up at all, let alone like your book.

Planning is the best way to overcome such fears, so let’s look at what you need to make it your dream book launch:

1. The venue

No matter where you’re based, you need to think about what will appeal to your readers. It’s possible to spend anything from a hundred pounds for a private event in your own home to thousands on hiring the perfect venue and providing an open bar. Independent bookshops are ideal - when discussing ideas for the launch, you can also build a good relationship with them to stock copies of your book.
 

2. Your guests

Inviting a local community celebrity or a prolific blogger offers the opportunity to gain more online publicity and coverage after the event. Of course, you can write a press release about your book launch, but it’s advantageous if the journalist is there in person. You’ll want to invite family, friends and supporters - don’t forget they might want to bring friends along. And it’s common for 35-40% of people to drop out of free events at the last minute, so if you want thirty people in the room, aim to register forty attendees in advance of the date. Be aware, if you’re not well known, you might need to invite over 400 people to get that many positive responses.
 

3. Catering ideas

From canapés to tapas, it’s worth making the food easy for your guests, especially if they’re standing and tables are scarce because it’s impossible to hold a drink, a plate and eat at the same time! On a budget you could order nibbles from M&S Food or splash out and hire a professional firm. By choosing a local business, you can even ask for a little support to help promote the event.
 

4. Running order

With a mix of people in the room, it’s worth setting a relaxed agenda where they can get to know each other before your talk. In addition to reading a short extract of your book, we would recommend introducing how you got into writing, why you’re passionate about the business topic or theme of your novel and your journey to bring it to life. People buy from people; sharing your personal story creates a bond where they’ll remember being at the book launch for years to come.
 

5. Marketing mix

If you’re stretching beyond your circle of family and friends, it’s key to prepare several ways to promote your book launch. Although social media is brilliant for reaching new audiences, traditional marketing tools can be equally effective for local events.

Consider:  

A dedicated landing page on your website with a sign-up form for people who can’t attend - and a direct booking link for those who can. (Free events are free to advertise on Eventbrite)
Professional headshots of you holding the book, reading with a group and at your chosen venue.
Postcards with a visual of your book to leave in coffee shops and the book shops.
Leaflets with the book launch details, posted on community noticeboards, in schools, the local library and any high street shops near your chosen venue.
Bookmarks to give to your guests, so if they don’t buy on the night, they have a memento.

With professional photographs, you can create a series of visuals to use as Facebook posts or adverts. It’s possible to run an ad campaign with £50 budget, targeting the exact audience you want to reach for your launch. Sharing posts daily on platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn will get you more visibility - but remember the algorithms don’t necessarily share your posts with all your followers - especially if you’re linking to a website. (Simply put the link in the comments on LinkedIn.)
 
We always promote our authors' events on our Calendar. Do talk to us about your book marketing plans and let us know what you need included in your Publishing Package. Contact us here!

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Nicholas King