Are you ready to get published? Great! Why not throw a party? A book launch is not only a great opportunity for you to celebrate this amazing achievement but also an event that can affect your future sales. While you should not forget about the power of building a brand and creating a fanbase (people who love your style and are happy to buy everything you write), the book launch itself is a powerful marketing tool you can only use once and have to make the most of it.
But wait, aren’t all ebook launches boring and obsolete? And how to throw a party if your potential readers live on the other side of the planet? Read on for tips and tricks of an interesting, exciting and successful ebook launch your readers will talk about.
Why throw a book launch?
Finishing your book doesn’t mean that you can lay back and relax, quite the opposite. You will still have to market and sell your book – and remember, nobody will do this for you, not even your publisher, if you have one. Many people make the mistake of considering marketing and bringing attention to your work and your book as some necessary evil. It doesn’t have to be this way: your book is great. You didn’t write it to get rich (be honest, most writers never do) but to create amazing content. Finding each other with your audience is the greatest thing that can happen to you and to your readers, and you have to do everything in your power to make it happen.
We already created a step-by-step guide for promoting your book: from the first idea to weeks after the book launch. If you missed it, check it out here. This article focuses solely on the event itself.
When you start planning your actual ebook launch, there are two main ways to go:
– To hold a physical book launch at a ‘real life’ venue
– To hold a virtual book launch in social media
Which one is better for you? Just follow this flow-chart to figure it out.
All in all: if you are likely to get the influencers of your ideal readers into one room, give them tea, cupcakes, an interesting talk or games and an autograph, start looking for a venue. But if you are lucky enough to have friends from all over the world, live in a village or have a smaller budget, better think online. Either way, your ebook launch is an event and should be treated that way. It has to be fun, entertaining and well organized.
A live book launch
Holding a live book launch will give you the opportunity to meet potential publishers and agents and charm your readers with your personality or ideas. You have to become very famous for people to turn up for your autograph only: if you hold a live launch, you have to know what makes people show up and buy a copy. Don’t waste this great opportunity for a simple reading and signing copies (or using an e-signature software for autographing ebooks!).
A book launch is just like any event: it comes with costs. I’d love to say that your possibilities are limitless, but in fact they are not – they are limited by your budget. If you have some money at the first place, you could rent a venue, send out beautifully designed physical invitations, pre-print some copies of your book and provide bubbles and nibbles. But don’t worry, the success of your book launch depends much more on your creativity than on the thickness of your wallet. Crowdfunding or finding a sponsor is also an option: people are always more willing to participate in something they were helping to create.
The best venue for your ebook launch might not be a bookshop. It best be the place where your readers would normally hang out – a special café, the library, a pub’s common room, a coworking office place or a school. Take into account how many people you are expecting – be realistic. Everybody should be able to fit inside but it is sad if half the chairs are empty. Does the place provide catering or you have to bring your own food? Can you make basic changes in decoration? Your venue also should have free WiFi – people should be able to download or buy your book straight away. If you can get a laptop set up for those who don’t know how to (or don’t want to) buy a book from their phone or Kindle, even better.
Try planning ahead and advertise your book launch at least a month in advance. (Check out our article for marketing advice.) This will give you enough time not only to spread the word about it but also to start collecting reviews from your reviewers and bump up your Amazon position.
Most book launches are dreadfully boring: only few people are truly interested in listening to the author reading their own books. Yours doesn’t have to be! Actually, it doesn’t even have to be about your book. If your event is interesting on your own right, potential readers will show up and fall in love with your work.
Are you writing period fiction? Have a costume competition. You can also create an interesting presentation on the era and customs. Can you take your readers on a city tour, talking about interesting real and fictional events? Do it. Get your readers interact with each other and get them excited: your book launch should be something people remember, talk, write and tweet about. If you are lucky enough, these people who beforehand were only slightly interested in your work will become your fans.
If you write non-fiction, even better: you can hold a talk on the topic of your book or present real life material. You can even have a panel conversation. The book launch should function as a teaser for your book: read it to learn more.
5) Physical copies
You don’t have to print physical copies of your book to hold a book launch, but they look always nice. If you only print a few (under 10), it won’t make you bankrupt but will look very nicely on the table next to the Kindle displaying your book. It will also make a great giveaway to your guests. Giveaway? We arrived to the best part of a live book launch: freebies!
Everybody loves freebies. You don’t have to offer a Kindle to everybody who decides to show up, but you could give out one as a prize. (They are not that expensive any more.) Bookmarks, branded pens make great cheap giveaways. There could also be something in your book to prompt something clever; for example, if you write about dogs, you can give out puppies! (Or maybe not?) Some people prefer non-material giveaways. You are naming a character after me as a ballot prize? Count me in.
What about giving everybody a free ebook? While some people think that you should never give your book away for free, I can’t agree: everybody likes a bargain. Giving free books away is a great marketing tool for first-time authors. Try to persuade your first readers to write Amazon reviews, blog posts and tell their friends about you. If you are an author with a series of books, you can offer the first book of your series for free or as a giveaway. Once your launch day (or launch week) is over, you can start actually selling your book on your normal prize.
7) Your Launch Team
You don’t have to organize your book launch all by yourself (just like you would ask for help when organizing a wedding): everything is better as a community project. You can ask your readers’ opinion at every stage of your book launch. They might know a place, might have a great idea: who knows? People are more likely to turn up, if they feel involved. Your launch team can help out on the event itself as well: helping people with downloads, collecting email addresses, attending to catering.
A virtual book launch
Launching a virtual book launch is actually not that different from a live launch. The same principle has to be followed: make it interesting and fun!
A great example of a successful virtual ebook launch is the Be Everywhere Day: Nate suggests that you should find the top influencers and schedule a guest post with at least ten of them for the same day. The posts should be just as engaging as your regular blog posts, or even more: this is your chance to talk to new people. You can also host a live Q&A on Facebook or Reddit, have a quiz or a contest: try to make it engaging and real time.
After the launch
Your job doesn’t stop after the book launch. After documenting the event in social media, you have to personally thank everyone who participated, preferably within a week. Use your freshly collected email list to kindly remind everyone about reviews and to give them hints about what you are working on next – as your job as a freelance writer never stops.