I’ll be honest. I’ve only launched a book once, so I’m not a fount of wisdom on the subject. But since my book launch I’ve been taking notes from every marketing class I’ve attended and article I’ve read on how to do it with a little more pizazz next time. So I have picked up a few ideas which I’d like to share.
Throw a Book Launch Party
Gather some local attention by throwing a party for your new book. Publish an invitation in your local paper. Now if you live in a major city like I do, that might be a stretch. But there are always smaller suburban papers and neighborhood newsletters. Ask nearby libraries and bookstores if they’ll let you put a notice as well.
Pull in additional publicity by getting the backing of a local organization. Does your story feature an abandoned dog? See if an animal rescue center will advertise for you. If you give the night’s profits to their charity, not only will they probably do it for free, it will draw pet lovers who want to give to the cause as well. Is your main character a chef? If your town has a business that offers cooking classes, they may be willing to host your party for a small charge, and they’ll take care of the advertising.
Make it fun. Have appetizers, wine and activities. Throw in a reading and a door prize. Circulate and get to know the visitors. There you go. You’ve created some local buzz and added a few readers.
Throw a Launch Party on Social Media
Have a party on your Facebook page, Twitter or other social media platform of your choice. Advertise well in advance. This might be one of those times it might be worth it to pay for FB promotion. Ask your friends and fellow authors to forward the invite, and do what you can to get people talking about it.
On the day of the party, you’ll need to be available during the hours you’ve set. It’s good to set a fairly long window so people with work and family schedules across national time zones can make it. Invite guests to ask questions they’re curious about or to contribute to the discussion. But have some set topics in reserve to talk about that will be of interest to your readers – sneak previews, interesting stories about your writing and research, quirky trivia. One Titanic novelist I know of assigned guests an identity when they showed up. They’d learn a little about the person, but would need to show up at the end to learn their fate.
To keep guests interested in showing up, you can give door prizes randomly throughout to people who are logged in. Some prizes might be small – bookmarks or trinkets. Other could be larger. What qualifies as a large prize depends on your budget. I’ve heard of authors giving away everything from a $50 dining gift card to a Kindle, even a vacation package to the book’s locale.
As people log in, their social media friends will see the buzz going on, and might be exposed to your book. Additionally, those who are already interested in the book will show up and will get a little more pumped, thus being sure to buy as well as to talk it up to their friends.
Find a tribe to promote your book, especially just after it releases.
Your tribe is a small group of people who love your books. You might choose from people who have written to tell you they love your writing or simply send out a call on your blog or page asking for enthusiastic readers who would be willing to talk up your book. If this is your first book, getting help from fellow readers or your blog followers might be the ticket.
Your tribe is tasked with selling your book wherever they have influence. Do they have a blog about books? Have them write a review. Talk it up on social media. Request that their local library and Barnes & Noble carry it. Suggest it to their reading club. And on. So obviously, the more influence they have the better – that is, having a tribe member with a blog readership of 10,000 or a hopping Facebook page is helpful. But you have to start where you are. Getting anyone to talk up your book – even if it’s just friends and family or the local librarian – is good publicity.