Eight Steps for a Successful Book Launch
By Kathryn Atkins, Long Beach Branch


What? You FINALLY finished your book, FINALLY found a publisher you liked, FINALLY chose a cover and inside layout (fonts, page headers, etc. ad nauseum) and NOW you have to stage a BOOK LAUNCH?

I wasn’t sure what exactly to do, but I did something right, apparently: I had 60 (!) guests at the launch and sold 31 copies of Giving My Self to the Wind that day. Here’s what I did.


  1. Met with other self-published authors from CWCLB (California Writers Club Long Beach) and guests who had spoken to us to get ideas.


  1. Went to other authors’ book events for years TO SUPPORT THEM, of course, but also because we return these favors.


  1. Marketing


  1. Secured date and strategized with the venue owner. Ours puts author events on their Social Media page. I gave him a short bio and a copy of my flier (see next).


  1. Made fliers. I made colored four-up 4-1/4” by 5-1/2” fliers, which are easy to mail and hand out as follows:
    1. At the venue – Also left some books for display and sale before the event.
    2. In person – Handed to people I met and knew (yoga, etc.)
  • By snail mail! – The small fliers were easily slipped into an envelope
    1. Note 1: I put the fliers inside blank, inexpensive, colorful cards from the crafts store.
    2. Note 2: I used Thoreau postage stamps. I sent out 20.


  1. Engaged with Social Media
    1. Facebook – Copy of fliers and “invitation” to the event
    2. Twitter — More eyes
  • Goodreads – Asked for reviews and ran a Goodreads giveaway
  1. Amazon – Asked for reviews


  1. Sent a press release, which was picked up! – I’d made friends with local papers by supplying free content starting a year ahead of my launch. Two local papers and the publisher featured the book launch.


  1. Brainstormed the main themes of my book.


  1. Prepared, advertised, and presented a second, free topic: “The Challenge and Joy of Finishing,” which may have drawn more people.


  1. Made lists such as:


  1. Plan and practice the talk ON VIDEO. See annoying mannerisms and eliminate them. Memorize as much as possible.


  1. Purchase themed (from brainstorm) giveaway tchotchkes.”


  1. Make labels for themed tchotchkes (mine were pinwheels) to connect to the book.


  1. Plan themed (windmill and fortune) cookies, table decorations, and water.


  1. Visit the venue for space/acoustics/lighting. (I needed a cover for the window and a PA system.)


  1. Send email and snail mail invitations – three weeks ahead
    1. Look at EVERY SINGLE PERSON in your contacts list and separate by email and snail mail.
    2. Make a spreadsheet list of invitees to help determine number of handouts, tchotchkes, food, etc.


  1. Thought about the day:


  1. Who will GREET the attendees and lead them to the book sales area, and introduce them to other attendees? (Find a “natural greeter” to help you. My brother was great.)


  1. Have 50 books on hand just in case.


  1. Make sure someone videotapes and takes photos.


  1. Was scared, but did it anyway. Don’t forget to the thank people who attended!


Following a very successful launch party, Kathryn Atkins’ new
Giving My Self to the Wind is available and has received high praise

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