I apologize for not having put out the next part in this series much sooner than now. My computer was out of commission for the last two weeks. I've stuck a band-aid on the problem; I hope it will last me until I can get my hands on a more reliable, newer computer. To the task at hand...
The Nitty Gritty
In Part 1, we dealt with the why's of hosting a book launch party. Let's get down to the business details for pulling off this successful venture.
Unfortunately, being an indie author means that you front the cost of everything. Come up with a dollar amount of how much you can or want to spend. It can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be.
There are several different kinds of venues you can go for. The first kind is your local bookstore, indie or not. Be ready to pitch them what your book is about and why you'd bring good business their way. If you have a plan in mind, most of them will be more than willing to host your party. You can also be ready with a press kit (future post anyone?).
Cost: It is standard for bookstores to take a commission off your retail price when you book a book signing. Expect chain bookstores to take anywhere between 30-45%. Indie stores tend to take off 10-30%.
The second kind could be a restaurant or bar that would be a good fit for your theme. For example, my second book is Canadian western. I'm seriously thinking of approaching a local restaurant whose decor is outrageously western and host my launch there.
Cost: This would differ depending on the establishment you approach and the agreement you come to. Shop around.
The third kind is a library or community centre.
Cost: Libraries would be free. Community centres range in prices.
The fourth kind is your home. You have the freedom to do whatever you like. However, there are some drawbacks such as limited space and cleanup.
Putting on a large party like this takes work. Ask enthusiastic friends and family to help with decorating, cooking, hanging up flyers, etc.
You can also ask local caterers, bands, and gift shop owners if they'd be interested in sponsoring or assisting the event in some way. Call up the managers to let them know what you're about and how you would promote them in turn. If they do say yes, you would give a public thumbs up at the party by mentioning their sponsoring in your speech and on your poster. You could also splash their websites and logos on your site, social media, and email list.
This is crucial! You can put on a huge amazing party with tons of special features; but if no one knows what you're doing, it's all for nothing. All the money you've put toward this, however much or little doesn't give back the full potential return.
Social media: Write up weekly posts on Facebook to remind your family, friends, and audience that the party is happening. Create a Facebook event. Pay for a Facebook and Twitter ad. Send the invite to your email list. Write up blog posts on the event and the preparations. Or even better, do live videos.
Traditional Coverage: About two months in advance, pitch your local newspaper(s), radio shows, book bloggers, college and university professors (they can inform their students), and TV networks. Invite them to cover the event.
Keep track of who you've pitched, their contact info, and when you first contacted them on a spreadsheet. Give them a week to two weeks to receive your pitch, whether you've left them an email or phone message. Contact them again asking if they received your initial message. If they did and would like to write up a piece or cover the event, be ready to offer interviews and book giveaways.
Reach out one last time a week before to make sure they haven't forgotten you. If they did, your news might be just what they need to tide them over a slow slump.
Don't forget to create engaging posters and hang them up all over the place such as libraries, community centres, and coffee shops. Make sure you don't forget any details such as the date, time, place, and what they can expect from the event (more on that in Part 3).
Make sure you have a load of books ready for your book launch party. I couldn't think of anything worse than not receiving your books in time to sign them at your party. That's a big part of why people want to go; so they can get a signed copy from the author himself/herself. I've almost made this mistake. I didn't think to order them well in advance; so I had to fork out extra money to cover the priority shipping.
Unlock the Fun
In Part 3, we'll get our creative juices flowing to make your book launch party sensational. Tune in next week!