120 - How to Throw a Book Launch Party

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This week's blog post and podcast shares how to throw a book launch party. I'm sharing experiences from my own recent party and giving you tips and questions to help you decide if throwing a book launch party is right for YOU!

When my latest book, Creative Collaborations, was nearing completion, I decided to throw a local book launch party. For myself. I've NEVER done anything like this before and typically am not the party-throwing (or going) type. Hellooooooo, introvert!

Still, this party seemed perfect for the launch of this book and I'm so glad that I did this! Keep reading or listen using the player below (or on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app) to find out what I learned and if a book launch party is right for you!

Listen to Episode 120: How to Throw a Book Launch Party

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How to Throw a Book Launch Party

Why I Threw Myself a Book Launch Party

There are a lot of reasons you could consider having a book launch party. For me? It started when I saw a really amazing space on Airbnb while researching for a retreat that I am considering in 2018.

When I saw it, I thought: I WANT TO DO SOMETHING THERE.

My book release date was approaching and happened to fall on the same week as my 40th birthday. Why not rent the space and have a book launch/birthday party? It simply sounded fun!

There were other more intentional reasons as well. The book is all about networking and working with others. It seemed fitting to have a party where I could invite friends, family, and the local social media and blogging community.

In a recent interview with Joanna Penn on the Creative Penn Podcast, Ryan Holiday (author of Perennial Seller) said that the marketing plan should fit the message or content. When I heard that, I KNEW that this was the right plan for this particular book.

WHAT TO CONSIDER IF YOU ARE THROWING YOURSELF A BOOK LAUNCH PARTY

1/ Consider your WHY

There are a lot of reasons you may want to throw a book launch party. Before you get to ANY planning, you'll want to think about the goals. I love talking about WHY. My whole course, the Foundation Series (now a part of my bigger course, Blog Growth Boost), is all about applying your WHY to everything. It brings clarity and makes all the other details more clear.

Here are some reasons you might want to throw a book launch party:

  • Sell books
  • Gain authority & influence
  • Discoverability
  • Have fun
  • Celebrate with your people

To shed some light on these, don't have high expectations on many of these! A book launch party isn't necessarily going to sell tons of books (unless you have a big group that's interested and a lot of copies to sell). It can help people to see you as an authority, especially if you can do some PR outreach and get the event covered in local papers or magazines.

If you list the event publicly, like on Meetup or another site, this might increase discoverability. It also opens the door to people you don't know showing up, which might pose challenges like upping the cost if you have a lot of people simply show up.

You can definitely have fun (even if you're an extreme introvert like me!) and it's something special to celebrate with your audience.

2/ Consider the ROI

As I touched on before, you may not make tons of money throwing a book launch party. You're more likely to lose it. Depending on the sales price for your book (mine was $.99), you may not make tons of money. You COULD find that it helps you reach bestseller in some categories, which mine did.

Selling print copies could make more money, but if you're buying author copies from something like CreateSpace or Kindle Print on Demand, you won't see that affect your rankings.

Before you toss a lot of money at something, consider what you get back.

3/ Consider your finances

Throwing a book launch party may not be a smart financial choice. My party ran about $1000 for 40-50 people. You could absolutely do it cheaper than that, but I made a few choices (like location) that made the price jump. You can totally use a room in a restaurant or a free space for your party and make other cuts to do this on a budget.

But I was also able to secure sponsors (more on that in a sec) to completely cover the costs of the book launch party. Before you toss a bunch of money at a party, consider whether you'd make more money running Facebook ads or investing in another kind of marketing.

TIPS FOR THROWING AN AMAZING BOOK LAUNCH PARTY

Still want to throw a book launch party? I feel you. Clearly. I won't hold you back! Here are some tips to get the best results for the least amount of work and money.

  • Set Your Goals

Yep, circling back to this. It will REALLY help with the next few decisions if you know your goals and are clear!

  • Set the Location, Date, and Budget.

You'll want these set up before you hit the next one, which is about sponsors. Keeping the goals of the event in mind, pick a location that fits what you want to accomplish. That will likely help set the date, because of availability, or if you want a specific date, that will cut out some locations. I would highly recommend looking at Airbnb and VRBO for some cheaper, out of the box options! Knowing the spot will help you plan for your budget.

  • Reach Out to Sponsors.

This was huge in making my party possible! Start with the brands you use and love. I reached out to Convertkit and Mediavine, which are two companies I love and use. It helps if you already have a relationship and contact there and can actually get a person's email rather than the straight up info @ company name email. I also connected with the local rum distillery, Grateful Dane, and they were able to come out to the event. Kroger, a national brand, sponsored the food for the party. I had worked with them before as well and attended local blogging events, so had an actual contact.

Put together a sponsorship package, being very clear about what you can offer. This doesn't have to be in person! Grateful Dane came out to the party, but the other sponsors were digital. I linked to them in posts, talked about them on the podcast and social media, made cards with their logos for the party itself, and sent emails to my list talking about the sponsors. Give them the dates and your social numbers and be as specific as possible about the benefit to THEM.

If you want to learn more about sponsorships, you can read a lot more about this and pitching and follow up in Creative Collaborations!

  • Hire Help.

You may want to pay a coordinator or ask a friend to help. I did EVERYTHING from the buying of supplies and food to the cleaning up and sweeping the floor after the party. It was hard. I knew it would be. Realize that if you don't hire someone, this will all be YOU.

  • Make It Valuable to Your Online Community.

I streamed the event live to my Facebook page and group. Well, not the WHOLE event, but the part where I had Madalyn Sklar from Twitter Smarter give my intro and then when I read from the book. That way the people who couldn't be there live could still take part.

IS A BOOK LAUNCH PARTY THE BEST WAY TO LAUNCH A BOOK?

In short, a book launch party is probably not the best way to launch in terms of ROI. It can be super fun and a great way to meet your fans and present your book, but if you want straight up ROI and sales, you'll want to follow more tried and true methods for making sales. (I'll have a few links below.)

I love innovation, so if you want to be creative and try something that may not work, just count the cost first! Can you afford it to fail? What can you gain and how can you leverage the event even if it doesn't result in tons of book sales?

I would not change a THING about my party (other than having the printed books arrive on time) and felt like it was the perfect thing to launch this particular book. Will I have another for my next book? Doubtful. But I would totally go back in time and do this one again.

I hope this has help you learn how to throw a book launch party AND if you actually should. Tips or ideas?? Leave them in the comments!!

Helpful Links for Making Book Sales:

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