This post is based on my experience of throwing a launch party for my recent release of Capsule. Book release parties are important because they allow you to celebrate your accomplishments and hard work.
For me, this one was easy. I manage a locally-owned coffee shop housed in a building that dates back to 1865. I knew the upstairs of the coffeehouse would be perfect, with its stone walls and 70’s furniture.
I also knew I’d be able to decorate it however I’d like, because the shop is like my second home. If you don’t have access to a place like I did, I would suggest trying to have it at a local bookstore or event space with a good atmosphere. I have heard of people holding release parties at their house, but I chose a public location because I knew I’d have guests that I don’t know personally.
This is more important than you probably think. The theme of your party should encompass the work you are celebrating. Some people will come to your party because they’re familiar with the book you are publishing (Because of all your fantastic buzz and advertising leading up to the release of your book!), but other people will come just for you, and not necessarily the particular book.
For me, this was such a humbling experience. I had many people there because they wanted to support me, but knew little about the book. Having your party be themed to your book will bring them into the world you created. It will set the mood, and get others excited about the novel they are helping celebrate.
CAPSULE was so much fun because I had outer space to work with. For my outfit, I wore leggings with galaxies on them and painted my nails to have galaxies. Rod, another member of the Wordwraiths, printed a vinyl poster of my novel cover that was taller than me. We hung it up to take photos in front of it. I also played my noveling soundtrack (the playlist of music I listened to while writing Capsule) in the background, which created an amazing ambiance.
Food is important. People like food. I like food. I had my party in the evening, so I went with cocktail type snacks. Upstairs, we had wine and cheese. I also had cookies frosted to look like galaxies, made by the pastry chef at the shop.
Another fun thing was having a display of Milky Way bars, because the mission of my protagonist is to reach the edge of the Milky Way galaxy. I attached some silly book themed signs to them.
Downstairs, one of my coworkers graciously worked the espresso bar for me- that way guests could pick up a coffee or espresso drink if they wanted.
Marketing and Activities
Marketing can be a scary word. If you are going to sell any books, you need to change your perspective of this word immediately. I learned a lot about confidence from Tim Grahl’s book, “Your First 1,000 copies”, which I highly suggest you read if you haven’t. He shows you to change your perspective from anything and everything you thought you knew about marketing and self-promotion, and look at the reasons why you are doing it. (This could be a whole other blog post.) Marketing is building connections with people and creating long lasting relationships with them. You have to believe that you are providing your readers with something that could help better their lives.
Just as much as the launch party is to help celebrate your hard work and accomplishment, it’s also to get the word out on your publication and share it with guests. I highly suggest printing some hard copies of your novel that you can sell at the party. You should research ahead of time how you can achieve this. Make sure you get a proof of your novel before you buy a ton of copies, and make sure the copies will be delivered in time before your launch party (this sounds like common sense- but because of all the other things you have to do, it could easily become overlooked. I was panicking towards the end and ended up having to pay extra to have them expedited).
Figure out how you can take payments. I did cash, and set up a square account so guests could pay with their card (on my iphone) if they wanted to. I also had a laptop handy incase anybody preferred to buy the ebook version on Kindle Direct Publishing.
Another activity you could do is to plan a game that goes with your novel. I decided to do a contest (because they are fun!). If you buy a book, your name got entered into the contest to win a Space Capsule Tea Infuser (perfect with the coffeehouse space). I gave away two of those. You could also use your book as incentive in contests.
Another important detail is that I had a sign up sheet for my mailing list at the table where the books were. Emailing lists are so important for keeping customer connections (Also an entire other blog post). I was so excited when I saw more people signing up for my mailing list than just my Mom (thanks, Mom!).
Make sure you have business cards for people to take as well (Makes a good bookmark, also has your contact information and website on it).
I am quite shy when it comes to public speaking (you probably wouldn’t be able to tell this if you saw me speak), so I opted for going around individually to guests and thanking them for supporting me as opposed to making a speech. You could do either. My location was intimate, so it worked out well for me. I was also asked to sign book copies as I went around, and that was so much fun.
Ultimately, just have a good time. So much work and dedication goes into writing your book (which is the easy part). Then you start the road to publication, which is even more challenging. With this being my first launch, I know I’ve made many mistakes that I can learn from moving forward. But after the excitement of releasing your creation out into the world, allow yourself a little time to set back, reflect, and enjoy your accomplishment.
Your excitement will radiate onto your guests.
❤ Kristin and The Wordwraiths