How to Plan a Successful Book Launch Party

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Book launch parties, in coordination with Amazon.com Bestseller campaigns, are a great “coming out” event for your book, giving you the opportunity to increase exposure, boost sales, and celebrate all your hard work.

Since 2007, I have helped strategize about a dozen book launch parties for clients. Additionally, I’ve attended a fair share, including Tim Ferriss’ book launch party for The 4-Hour Workweek and the Ramit Sethi’s book launch party for I Will Teach You to Be Rich. From this experience, I would like to offer a checklist of book launch party best practices.

(Please note, I’m not a party planner, but a marketer. Napkin selection and color coordination are not my forte.)

Do these to have a successful book launch party:

1)   Ensure you have a sign-in sheet to capture everyone’s name and email address of those who attended the party. Email them ONCE to thank them for their attendance. (Attendees must opt-in to your website to receive more emails about your products and services)

2)   If you goal of the day is to be an Amazon.com bestseller, encourage people to purchase book upon arrival. Of course, with this strategy you will need to provide WIFI-enabled laptops.

3)   After purchasing the book, show them the bonus web page (Sample page) to retrieve bonus offers. This will require an opt-in.

4)   The aforementioned activities require 2-3 hosts or hostesses to assist.

5)   Hire a photographer to take pictures and upload on your Fan page, blog, etc.

6)   Tag people immediately to show how popular you are. Don’t tag people with dragon faces or red eyes. They will hate you later.

7)   Feed people with fresh, yummy food. Partner with a restaurant, orcelebrity chef who wants the exposure. Win-win.

8)   Provide alcohol and drinks. It’s a party for gawd’s sake. Partner with promo companies that rep alcohol and drink companies.

9)   Half-way into the event, a host should introduce you to the crowd and you can give a 4-8 minute “Thank you for everything. Sniff. Sniff.” speech.

10)  Have a videographer record this speech. Share on YouTube.

11)   Event should be no longer than 3 hours. 90 minutes to 2 hours is perfect. In-and-out, with book in hand.

12)   Prizes (iPods, Kindle, Flip), give-aways , and swag bags are good, especially if books are being purchased online. This way people have something physical to leave with. Hosts should hand gift bags to each attendee.

13)   Promote event on Eventbrite, Plancast, Twitter, and Facebook.

14)   Event should be free with purchase of book.

15)   Offer discounts to workshops, seminars, webinar for those who buy the book in bulk.

16)   Invite the media.

17)   If you are a soft speaker and presenting, please have a microphone.

Those are my 2-cents. Do you have anything to add?

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  • Adryenn Ashley

    We followed this plan for my book launch when I worked with Alicia and it was a huge success!!! We even had a hot up and coming live band play! We went all out, but didn't break the bank!

  • http://www.aliciadunams.com Alicia Dunams

    Yes! Up the game by inviting LIVE entertainment and “celebrities” who are looking for exposure, and/or parallel venues. Music and books are great companions! As is, food and books. Wine and books, etc. As an author, you are just another type of entertainer – you entertain with your thoughts and theories, whether business, self-development, or otherwise.

  • http://stevecurtin.com Steve Curtin

    Alicia, great list – the more you make the event (venue, music, drinks…) about the people/customers, the more successful! Adryenn, great suggestion about the live band. My wife recently hired a quartet to play at a company-sponsored wine tasting and it lead to a more comfortable atmosphere, longer conversations, and deeper connections. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.aliciadunams.com Alicia Dunams

    Right on, Steve! It's about deeper connections and making people feel good! You can make a jail cell exciting with right mix of conversation, people and entertainment. People/customers/clients are driven more by experience and feelings than the product or service. As business owners, we have to remember that!

  • Rachel

    How do you make the event “free with purchase of book” if you want them to buy the book on the scene?  How is that monitored?

  • http://www.aliciadunams.com Alicia Dunams

    Thanks for the comment. For my Bestseller Book Launch parties, I ensure that several laptops (3-5) are placed at the registration table so people can purchase a book once they arrive at the party. The page is set to Amazon.com so sales can be reported on that day. I have a team of people to monitor to ensure all party goers buy a book.

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