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.
- Met with other self-published authors from CWCLB (California Writers Club Long Beach) and guests who had spoken to us to get ideas.
- Went to other authors’ book events for years TO SUPPORT THEM, of course, but also because we return these favors.
- 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).
- 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:
- At the venue – Also left some books for display and sale before the event.
- In person – Handed to people I met and knew (yoga, etc.)
- By snail mail! – The small fliers were easily slipped into an envelope
- Note 1: I put the fliers inside blank, inexpensive, colorful cards from the crafts store.
- Note 2: I used Thoreau postage stamps. I sent out 20.
- Engaged with Social Media
- Facebook – Copy of fliers and “invitation” to the event
- Twitter — More eyes
- Goodreads – Asked for reviews and ran a Goodreads giveaway
- Amazon – Asked for reviews
- 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.
- Brainstormed the main themes of my book.
- Prepared, advertised, and presented a second, free topic: “The Challenge and Joy of Finishing,” which may have drawn more people.
- Made lists such as:
- Plan and practice the talk ON VIDEO. See annoying mannerisms and eliminate them. Memorize as much as possible.
- Purchase themed (from brainstorm) giveaway “tchotchkes.”
- Make labels for themed tchotchkes (mine were pinwheels) to connect to the book.
- Plan themed (windmill and fortune) cookies, table decorations, and water.
- Visit the venue for space/acoustics/lighting. (I needed a cover for the window and a PA system.)
- Send email and snail mail invitations – three weeks ahead
- Look at EVERY SINGLE PERSON in your contacts list and separate by email and snail mail.
- Make a spreadsheet list of invitees to help determine number of handouts, tchotchkes, food, etc.
- Thought about the day:
- 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.)
- Have 50 books on hand just in case.
- Make sure someone videotapes and takes photos.
- 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