Monday, August 10, 2015
So you want to have a launch party?
I have been thinking about this for quite some time. Not knowing exactly how to describe the exciting chaos that is a Book Launch Party. I had a blast, because from beginning to end this is my book. I worked countless hours for this. I sent it to editors, entered it in contests, pitch wars and critique group.After two years of changing the POV from third person to first person, I sent it off to more editors. Found an amazing cover artist, and had my husband format it for me.Finally after two years and a final edit and review it was ready to be published. Then what? I am doing it myself through Amazon sure, but I have to get it out there somehow right? So why not throw your book a party!
My first question was. "Where do I have this?" Since I am self publishing and The Kings English Doesn't do signings for authors that have published through Create Space, (it has to do with shelf space and losing money for unpaid books.) I needed to find a place that was big enough for my friends and family to come, but cheap. We don't make a lot of money being authors, and self pub authors are footing the bill. So I needed a place that basically was free. So my parents backyard it was.They have a beautiful garden and yard and plenty of space that I needed. Plus it helped that they are located right in the middle of the valley. Big thanks to my Mom and Dad, without them and their yard it wouldn't have been the success it was.
Then you have to advertise it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, emails. Word of mouth. I have an amazing marketer who is a dear friend and did all of this for me, mostly because I bribed her with food, and because she is awesome!
Now comes the next part. What do you do at a launch party? Just sell books? How do I engage with those that have sacrificed their time to come? I decided to have it set up so that when they came in I could get up and hug them or take pictures with them. Then planned small activities to have at the launch.
Here is the fun part, tricky but fun. I wanted this to be a family fun event. I didn't want people to feel like they couldn't bring their kids, or had to find a sitter just to come to my signing. So I recruited the help of my best friend. I gave her a $100 spending budget and told her to go find prizes for a fishing booth for the kids. She is super creative and a fun person by nature so I knew I could count on her. She had a cute fishing booth and fishing poles she made for a previous activity, so she used that. She ordered small prizes like, bouncy balls, mini notebooks, mini slinkys, candy and other small prizes. There were enough prizes the kids could go back multiple times, and that gave me a chance to talk to the parents and give my appreciation without them having to stress if there kids were getting into things they weren't supposed to.
I decided that having door prizes and a drawing might entice a few more people into coming. I think it worked. I posted teaser photos and a contest on the Facebook page to get people excited. I didn't spend much either. Here is another cheap trick. I went to Walmart and found the coolest Star Wars buckets for a couple dollars, that already had popcorn in it. Then I added a $5 movie, and went and got the boxed candy for a dollar. The grand prize? A little bigger movie bucket, but instead of a movie, there was a gift card to go to the movies. So basically a date night bucket.
They just wrote their name and phone number on a piece of paper and we did the drawing at the end of the night.
With that said, I only had the launch party last for about two hours. But I still felt like I needed to thank all those that came and sacrificed their time for me. I feel the best way to do that is with food, or sugar! So we had a fun food booth too!
Everything homemade! That's what's great about not doing it in a bookstore. I can make my own goodies. so we offered popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate rolo cookies and Cupcakes! I had little bags for Gummy bears, and ice water and lemonade to drink. The food was a big hit, and people were excited about it.
I do recommend that if you are doing this outside, do it when the weather is usually guaranteed good. like June. Just keep everything out of the sun, and try and do it at like a park or someplace that's shady.
Now lets talk numbers.
How many books to have on hand? I went off another blog that I read and ordered 100 copies of the book. I would suggest that if you are inviting hundreds of people, yes a hundred books would be sufficient. But I would not order that many. 50 -75 is the perfect number for a smaller launch party. It gives you left over books if needed, but not so many that you are overloaded with unpaid books. I still have a case that I haven't sold, so it's almost lost money. Then I feel like I just want to give them away just to get rid of them. So use your judgment on the number of people you think would actually purchase the book.
Food? You can never have enough in my opinion. Plush you can take the left overs home.
Prizes? Keep it simple. Don't go overboard. Then you just feel like you spent more on the prizes than you made in selling the books.
I recommend having a large poster of some sort of the book cover if people want to take pictures with you.
I also had some shirts printed up with a saying from the book. I only did like 12 in total. I figured they wouldn't sell as much, but I wanted to try. I actually sold more than I thought. So you can always do that.
And last but certainly not least. The Signing.
This gave me absolute joy. I wished I had been able to stand and hug and talk with each person for hours. I was overwhelmed with gratitude with each person that came. Sharpies! The blue one I am holding in my hand is NOT a good marker. Use a fine tip black or gold. The color sharpies have a softer tip and makes it look like a kindergartner signed the book.
Have a square set up. That way people can pay with a card. Hardly anyone uses cash anymore, so setting up a square is cheap, easy and you can use it at all your signings. I also had cash and change on had for those that paid in cash. I only took checks from those that I knew.
Major highlights? obviously everyone that came. I also was honored to have the cover artist there. She made herself available to come and sign. I loved that!
The atmosphere created itself. Everyone came to celebrate my book. I heard how proud and impressed they all were. I felt like I was on cloud nine looking down on the top of the world. I don't think any book launch could ever compare. In all I spent $200 on the whole launch. As far as the books go, that always varies with the price you have to pay for your book with the company you are doing it through. I don't recommend bookmarks, just because it's something that is going to probably get thrown away. But you can always have them printed for cheap. I loved every second of my launch, and I am so grateful for everyone that came and everyone that helped! I hope this helped answer some of your questions. For more pictures you can visit my Author Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorElizaCrosby/photos_stream.
I am also on Twitter and Instagram. If you have any questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Luck with your launch!!!