Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Would you Like To Have 200 People Attend Your Book Launch Party?
After launching two new children's books during the past two years, it is almost time to launch #3. Since each of my launch parties resulted in the sale of over 200 books, I am really nervous. I want to be sure that this one is also a success. Right now I'm feeling that old familiar fear: What if I have a party and no one comes?? Yeeks!
As I organize the details for this event, I would like to share with you some of my hints for making sure that a launch party is a success:
Start early - Decide on the time and place at least 6 months ahead of the book release. A local bookstore is usually a great place for a book event.
Plan the event thoroughly - Meet with the store manager and plan everything. What will the store employees be able to do on that day? What would they like me to provide? With children's books, there need to be specific planned activities. For example, first I will read the new book and then provide coloring pages so the children will be occupied while their parents purchase the books. My store manager will have the tables set up and will provide crayons, glitter, glue, etc.
Feature something special - Make this a party, a happening! Since my books are fairy books, I call this event a Fairy Party. Children are invited to come in fairy costumes. We have a face painter, a craft, some raffle drawings and a huge cake. This year my illustrator will also be joining us and he will be demonstrating his sketching techniques.
Two months ahead - To promote the event, contact all of the nearby newspapers and news websites and make sure the information is in their calendars during the month of the event. Set up newspaper interviews and supply press releases for the week before the event.
One month ahead - Have postcard/invitations printed. I order from an online printer and always order at least 1000-1500 invitations. I make sure there is something on the invitation that will entice the youngsters. In my case, I think the promise of a piece of cake is often more important to them than the new book.
Also one month ahead - Order party favors. This year I decided to hand out plastic stadium cups imprinted with a picture of my new fairy character, and filled with an assortment of goodies - a little doll, a lollypop, etc. These items can be purchased very inexpensively at dollar stores and through online catalogs. Both kids and adults love party favors.
Three weeks ahead - Make sure the bookstore has received their order of books, including any backlist titles (very important).
Two weeks ahead - Time to distribute the invitations to daycares, preschools, libraries and children's stores. I also try to visit as many elementary schools as I can, to read one of my other books and distribute party invitations. I also distribute invitations in local coffee shops (with permission, of course), my athletic club, the grocery store, and wherever I can. This is also the time that I order a very large sheet cake decorated with a picture (in icing) of my newest fairy. I purchase lots of napkins. The bookstore will provide small cups of lemonade.
Email marketing - If you have an email list, be sure to send an email invitation to everyone you know, requesting that they forward the email to everyone they know. Be sure to invite local news media. Also, don't forget your friend and family.
Yes, it's very hard work. And, it takes a lot of planning. However, it works!
Now, please come to my party!