Darren M. Palmer
Ten Tips for Hosting a Successful In-Person Book Launch
You are nearing the finish line!
This is the moment that you have been waiting for, the opportunity to hold your book in your hand and celebrate your hard work and dedication is finally here!
The end of your book publishing process can also seem overwhelming if you have never hosted an in-person book launch event. The good news is that Self Publish N 30 Days is here to help give you some ideas to make this celebration a huge success!
We have created 10 quick tips to help you begin the process of hosting an in-person book launch event. We [HLS1] will cover how to pick a venue, budget, sales, registration, and tips on how to write a great speech!
First and foremost, you need to decide how much money you can invest in your launch. This doesn’t mean that you have to be extravagant, but covering the basics is a must. If this is an in-person event, you want to treat it like a small gathering or party.
When there is an event, there are usually beverages and at least something to snack on. To keep costs low if you want to provide alcoholic drinks, consider a cash bar where guests pay for alcohol, but you provide nonalcoholic options like soda, sparkling water, or iced tea. Snacks can be as simple as a tray of cookies, or a cheese and cracker board.
Also, consider if there will be a fee to rent out a space for your event and if you want to have decorations. A few balloons and some pop-out quotes of your book framed make a simple, yet impactful vibe.
Think about where you want to host your event. A typical in-person event should be a minimum of two hours.
- A place mentioned in your book: If you talked about a place you worked or that was the main setting in your book or story, like your home or a restaurant, actually hosting the event in that location will allow your book to come alive.
- A local cafe or bar: This is great especially for a small launch. Speak with the management and see if they can help you host your event.
- Event space: Hotels and venue halls can be a little pricey. Sometimes a great option is a restaurant inside of a hotel. They may even be able to offer you an outdoor patio space to host your event.
- Local bookstore or library: You may be able to even sell your book at a local bookstore. Hosting at a bookstore or library filled with books creates a great atmosphere for your guests.
- A local park: A great option for an outdoor event space that’s cost-effective. Be sure to check to see if you need to leave a deposit to reserve tables or BBQ area.
3. Recruit a Team
Gather a few family or friends to help prepare ahead of time and on the actual day of the event. You will need the help to make sure things run smoothly. Someone can help with greeting guests, and others can help with book sales and any merch you may have.
Consider playing some music with a basic speaker and your iPad or phone. You will want someone in charge of that so you can spend your time mingling with guests.
Is this a public or private event? Either way, you will want a way to capture RSVPs especially if you are paying for a venue and refreshments. Create an event on Facebook and/or through Eventbrite. Make the tickets free but tell your guests that you only have limited space, so they need to register as soon as possible. This will help you to get a more accurate headcount.
Huge discounts are not necessary because the people at your launch are there to help support you. However, you can create incentives for people to buy more than one book. Create packages that allow for multiple sales with a small discount.
For example, a single book is $25, but if you purchase two books today only at the event the cost is $40. Make sure you have a way to receive payments either through a cash app or cash itself. Again, you will want at least two people besides you to handle the sales so you can be ready to sign the books.
6. Capture Attendance
This is a great time to build your email list. As guests arrive have them sign in with their name, email address, and how they heard about the event. You can also create a QR code with a google form to make this an easy, paperless process.
7. Order of Events
Having a run sheet with the order of events should be created by you and shared with the team that is going to help you. This ensures that you have a plan and that you won’t run overtime, especially if you are renting a space.
Here is an example:
1:00 Welcome Guests
1:30 Speech/Book Reading
1:45 Drawing for Prizes
2:00 Book Signing
3:00 Start Cleaning Up
These are not necessary, but they do add excitement to your launch. This is also a great incentive for people to come to your launch. Some ideas to give away: a copy of your book, t-shirts, hats, stickers, $5 gift cards to Amazon, free 30 min strategy call with you, etc. You can also give away flowers on the tables or quotes you put in frames.
This is also a great way to have people stick around for your entire event. Let them know that there will be a raffle at the end.
9. Speech/Reading from Your Book
Even if you are shy in front of groups, it is important to give at least a short speech to your guests. Having a microphone is a must especially if it’s a big space. You will want to make sure your guests can hear you.
The best way to start is by introducing yourself, as you may have some people who have never met you before. Then go ahead and dive into why you wrote your book. Don’t forget to thank the team that helped with the launch and the guests who took time out of their day to come and celebrate with you. To wrap things up, I suggest choosing an excerpt from your book to read as a preview for your audience.
You can also consider having your audience ask questions about your book or the book writing process.
10. Promotion on Media Platforms
Promoting your book and your business is important not only leading up to the event but on the day of. Take pictures of yourself with your book and do a countdown to the event to get your audience to attend. On the day of the event, have someone on your team be in charge of pictures and capture the moment. You will be too busy mingling and signing books to do it yourself. Create a hashtag for your guests to encourage them to post their pics on social media and tag you in the posts. Also, don’t forget to tag @selfpublishn30days in your social media posts.
Here at Self Publish N 30 Days, we want your book not only to be successfully published, but we want to provide you with resources to have a successful book launch that you deserve after all your hard work. We hope that these tips have helped you to get started with this celebratory milestone. Congratulations!
-- Dr. Sarah Lepe, Book Production Manager