Guest blogger: Tania McCartney, author. Today, as part of her blog tour for her new book, Riley and the Grumpy Wombat, Tania gives us some fabulous hints on how to host a book launch.
Welcome again to my blog, Tania, so happy to have you visit again! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and suggestions about Hosting a Fabulous Book Launch. And from the look of your previous very successful book launches, we’re in for a treat. Over to Tania….
Congratulations! You’re published! All that hard work, intense editing process, endless hours slaving away over a hot keyboard… finally your dream has come true and your book is on the market, ready to leap into the arms of readers everywhere. The hard work is done. Or is it?
Having been both a published and self-published author, I’m extremely familiar with the post-publication fallacy that the hard work is over. In reality, the hard work has just begun. Writing, editing, publishing, are all good and well – but marketing and selling are where the real challenges lie. People need to buy your book! And self-marketing is vital, even if you have a team of publicists behind you.
So, how do you throw a fabulous book launch party?
I’m about to throw my ninth launch party, so I have my format down pat. And it works. I’ve had over 100 guests at most of the launches, and each one has been an absolute hoot. Launch parties do NOT have to be expensive nor complicated. Here are my tips on how to run the most fabulous party possible.
Host it at Home
It’s much easier to host something in your home town… organising a venue, carting around book copies, sorting out food, drink, goodie bags, balloons – it’s much harder from a distance, so throw something locally. If you must host something interstate, enlist the help of a good friend or a publicist from your publisher.
Find the Perfect Venue
Bookstores are ideal because having you visit is mighty beneficial to the store – both in terms of sales and bringing in new clients. Meredith Wright from Dalton’s Bookstore www.daltons.com.au in Canberra has consistently hosted many of my book launch parties. She always puts on tea and coffee, hires cups and saucers and even home-bakes treats for the guests. She organised sponsorship for wine for my Beijing Tai Tai launch – so she has been amazingly generous and supportive. If you can build a wonderful relationship with a local bookstore, you will benefit from that loyalty – and so will the bookstore.
Unless you are rich, hiring a venue is not an option for a launch. It’s just too expensive. Writers’ Centres may be able to help – or if you know a friend who can help you with a hall or provide a large backyard – ask away! Local parks are great during good weather but many require a permit to have large amounts of people onsite, and I would imagine selling books would be an issue. So bookstores are really the way to go.
You will pay store owners roughly 40% of RRP for each book sold at the store during the launch. Well worth it.
For my very first book launches in Beijing, I asked the local expat magazines to sponsor the events by advertising them in their magazines. In return, I splashed their logos all over my website, blog, launch posters and handouts.
I also asked a local bakery to create biscuits with the letter R for Riley on them – and again, splashed their logo around. The venues that hosted me kindly offered book giveaways for the launch. This was the beginning of my sponsorship strategy.
Since then, I’ve had sponsors provide goodie bag contents, badges, prizes (books, party vouchers, sporting equipment, toys), amazing food including an astonishing display of characterised cupcakes by pARTy Cakes in Canberra.
I have also had some extraordinary service providers – photographers, caterers, even entertainment – for free. The sponsors love the exposure to a whole new demographic and I work hard to make sure their logos are out there during my promotions.
Make sure you thank sponsors at the launch, and have their business cards, posters or flyers on hand – preferably near your book display.
When you organise any event, explore ways you can ‘advertise’ it for free. Send a press release to local and national media, search for websites that offer free listings. Ask fabulous sites like Alphabet Street, Bug in A Book and My Little Bookcase if they will list your event. And of course, put it on your website.
Also, invite media to attend the launch. If they can’t make it, send photos to your local media for possible inclusion in their social pages. Have someone take photos of guests and write down their name in a small notebook. Be sure to ask their permission to send their pic to local media.
Posters and Invitations
Spend the time creating special posters and invitations for your event. It doesn’t take a lot of time and publishing them online is free. You can also attach them to an email to act as an invitation. I print about a dozen A3 posters through a local printer ($20 all up) and give them to my venue, libraries, local business, etc. It’s worth it.
JOIN US TOMORROW, September 3rd for PART 2 of Hosting a Fabulous Book Launch – where Tania will take us through the LAUNCH DAY with lots of hints for a fun-filled event!