How To Throw a Successful Book Launch Event
Tammy Slaughter wrote this article
Here’s the awesome thing about hosting a book launch event after the long, laborious task that is publishing a book: not only do you get to drum up hype for the book, but it’s a great way to kick back and enjoy your success for a minute or two.
That is, as long as you have someone else to plan the event for you. It is no easy task to host a successful book launch event.
But that’s where this handy guide comes in.
When our Founder and CEO Joshua H. Davidson published his first book, The Entrepreneur’s Framework: How Businesses Are Adapting in the New Economy, I took a crash course in event planning 101 and book launch best-practices.
Hours of scrolling through Pinterest, scouring blog posts, vetting event spaces and price comparing party supplies, we hosted the book launch party of the Chop Dawg teams’ dreams to celebrate the launch of Joshua’s new book.
So, I’ve written this handy-dandy guide to help you plan a successful book launch event without a hitch!
Finding the right venue for your book launch event
Sorry folks, but the venue can truly make or break the event.
After the gargantuan task that is writing a book, most likely the budget is tight for the event itself.
If not, all the better, because it means you can be more selective when it comes to renting out the space of your dreams.
The good news is, there are many budget-friendly ways to host a successful book launch event too.
Start by scouring the internet for local event space rentals. A good rule of thumb is to start looking about a month-and-a-half in advance of your event. Quite simply searching “local event spaces” and even “local and affordable event spaces” in the search engine should bring up a whole host of results. From there, it’s up to you to properly vet the spaces.
The options can vary from cafes and restaurants, hotels and ballrooms, local bookstores, even neighborhood event spaces and firehouses. In general, you want to make sure the event space isn’t too big so that it appears poorly attended in photos. Even a well-attended event can appear this way if the space itself is too large.
When it came to finding the perfect venue for The Entrepreneur’s Framework Book Launch, it was important to get something that also served as more of a blank canvas next to the book. We found a beautiful local event space based in Philadelphia painted in all white, complete with kitchenette, projector and sound system and two bathrooms.
Quite honestly, it was the dream space to host our book launch party.
The white walls allowed the book to truly stand out in the space, and remain the focal point of the event.
Alerting the media
This is perhaps the most important step to drumming up hype around the event and book itself.
The best way to alert the media to your book launch event is to write a press release.
There are dozens of free templates online that can guide you in writing a successful press release, but one thing to note is most local news stations rely on online forms submitted via their website, so the template may not matter so much as the content itself.
However, a general rule of thumb to writing a good press release is to list your city and state (this establishes it is a local story) and the date of the book launch event (this establishes it is a timely event) right off the bat. After that, provide a brief yet catchy summary of the book, why it’s important to their audience, tease the author’s background, then provide all the details surrounding the event itself. Be sure to provide contact details for the media to RSVP and ask any questions. When possible, end the press release with ‘###’ to signify the end of the release.
You can also take a look at my stab at a press release below.
While it’s always good to try to drum up as much hype as possible in advance of your book, keep in mind to send out any actual press invitations to the event itself about a week out from the event.
With the fast-paced speed of the news world, sending a press release for your event too far in advance could lead to it getting lost in the news cycle. When it comes to getting media attention for your book, at least at first, it’s about being local and timely.
In hindsight, we probably should have lobbied our publisher to push our book launch either a week before or ahead. As it happened, we launched The Entrepreneur’s Framework on November 6th, aka Election Day, and have since heard from a few media outlets who mentioned they were swamped with election coverage or would have come out to our event.
Timing is everything, folks.
Also, you need to think outside the box when it comes to the types of media you approach. Local news stations, newspapers, radio stations and magazines are all fantastic, but podcasts and blogs, especially when hyper-local, are also a great way to get exposure for your book and the event itself.
No audience is too small, as it’s about getting the word out to as many people in your book’s niche as possible.
A local podcaster actually came out and filmed his video podcast during the initial setup of The Entrepreneur’s Framework Book Launch Event. You can watch it here! We also had local news and radio stations in attendance too.
Connecting your audience and network for the guest list
When it comes to coordinating the guest list, now’s the time to leverage your personal and professional network as much as possible. You’ll need their support to help build the initial momentum after the book launch, and of course to attend the book launch celebration.
It was truly a sight to see at The Entrepreneur’s Framework Book Launch Party – we had clients from past, present and future all talking about their apps and experience working with the Chop Dawg team, mixing and mingling with dear friends and family as well. It also ended up being a great opportunity for a lot of our clients to meet the team in person. Since we are remote based and also work with clients across the globe that’s not always a possibility.
Next, you need to identify your book’s niche audience, and get them to come out to the event. In our case, it’s entrepreneurs, whether local business owners or those in Chop Dawg’s extended network. We personally emailed dozens of the top entrepreneurs across the city an invite to the event – and have even made a few long-term connections as a result of that grassroots effort.
Planning decor, logistics and more
It should go without saying that you should have lots and lots of copies of your newly published book on hand at the actual event. Not just for the decor, but also for other’s to purchase or even to give away.
We were so happy when we found our event space, as it was the perfect size and the white aesthetic really complimented our green, black and white color scheme (all the colors from the book’s cover).
One of our guests at the actual event told us it looked like a bat mitzvah for a book (they meant it as a compliment). And knowing how much work goes into those, I certainly take it as one.
We really ran with the book design’s color scheme throughout the event. This allowed the book to remain the shining focus of the evening.
We bought green light bulbs and placed them throughout the event space. We then paired these with black and white streamers, green, white and black balloons. We also rented black linens, which gave the event space an immediate upgrade.
I will say this though: it is better to overestimate your prep time than not have enough. We gave ourselves two hours for the initial setup and were still working when the first guests poured in.
As a result, we didn’t get to utilize as many streamers and balloons as we would have liked, but the end result was eye-catching and looks great in photos. Most importantly, our author and man of the hour Joshua Davidson had a blast.
Creating an event photo wall
I’ve always wanted to host an event with an event photo wall.
The lights. The cameras. The red carpet. The unmistakable vinyl backdrop.
The Entrepreneur’s Framework Book Launch Party was the perfect opportunity.
We rented theater stanchions and red velvet ropes, and even found a cheap red carpet online. We ordered a giant 8×8 vinyl printout of the book’s cover, the cheapest banner stand we could find, and voila!
A red-carpet worthy photo opp to celebrate the book’s launch. Throughout the evening, guests got photos of themselves with the book and with the author. It was a great way to encourage picture taking at the event, and drum up that hype.
We encouraged guests to post pictures of themselves with the book and from the event using #TheEntrepreneursFramework. This is key.
You don’t want to host an event, and then not generate any social media hype. Make sure to encourage your guests to post, and if you don’t have a unique hashtag for your book, get one!
Most Important: Have Fun and Enjoy Your Book’s Success
Putting on an event of any scale can be stressful.
It’s important to remember, however, that the point of the evening is to celebrate the success of publishing and launching a book.
That’s no small feat. Make sure to enjoy the moment, but also hire a photographer to capture the moments as they happen.
Remember, the book launch event is truly only the beginning for your new book! In our case, the book launch event was a huge success, as The Entrepreneur’s Framework hit Amazon’s best-sellers list within a day.
You can purchase a copy of The Entrepreneur’s Framework: How Businesses Are Adapting in the New Economy here.