Your Local Book Launch Party, Part 1: A Checklist of Tasks & Options

“Wear the old coat and buy the new book.” —Austin Phelps 

Book Launch

The purposes of a physical book launch party:

  • Celebrate and thank others
  • Get the word out about your book
  • Sell books

Here’s a checklist of items to consider for a local, non-bookstore party like I’ve done for Calculated Risk.

  1. Set a Budget. Consider:                                              
  • Room Rental Fee
  • Food
  • Decorations
  • Flowers
  • Postage for invitations
  • Prizes and helper gifts
  • Promotions
    • Ad: an expense, but will be published
    • Press Release:
      • Free, but published if newsworthy & space is available
      • May be edited
    • Flyers
  1. Set Date, Time, and Place. Consider: 
by Ladyheart
by Ladyheart

•  Scheduling before holidays like Christmas and Valentines Day may encourage gift sales, especially if the holiday is in your story.

•  Scheduling after mealtimes, 2PM to 4PM on a Saturday or Sunday or after 7PM on a weekday, lowers food costs. Cake, and possibly snacks, are sufficient.

•  Reserving a place other than someone’s home is best for security reasons. Options:

º Church

º Community center

º Rescue squad building

   If a marquee is available, ask to have your event featured.                                                

  1. Enlist Planners. At least two motivated friends to help in planning and completing tasks. Consider whether they:
  • know your area and are involved in it
  • wanted to be party planners since they were 6
  1. Promote. Consider:
  • People reached.
    • Public options:
      • Churches
      • Beauty Salons
      • Local Stores
      • Libraries
      • Book Clubs

  •   Individuals:
      •  Notify or deliver/send invitations.
      •  Option: hand out stamped invitations to avid readers to send to their reader friends.

  • photoMaterials.
    • Invitations. Option:
      •  Use your promotional postcards exhibiting book cover, blurb, and website.
      • Add party invitation information (printed adhesive labels work well).
    • Flyers – include your cover photo.
    • Bookmarks – add to promotional materials you leave at libraries
  • Distributors. With your planners:
    • Brainstorm people willing to help distribute materials 
    • Enlist distributors and deliver packets to them
    • Assemble packets in advance with cover sheets giving: distributor, venue, and number of materials in packet
  • Ads & Press Releases. Options:
    • Local newspapers.
    • Online flyers, for organizations willing to email them to their members

5.  Offer Refreshments. Consider

by Vie Herlocker

  • A book cake. Option: Machine-iced with your exact cover.
  • Extra homemade sheet cakes. Use these before cutting the book cake.
  1. Decorate. Consider:
  • Book-related items, flowers, and balloons
  • Tablecloths
  • Your banner and poster
  • Tables:
    • Welcome. Guest book, tickets for prizes.
    • Food
    • Book Signing & Sales
    • Fun Activities. Option: Free gift-wrapping
    • Giveaways. Options:
      • Your and other authors’ bookmarks.
      • Your book-related promotional goodies.
  1. Add Events. Consider:
  • Background music. Option: book-related songs
  • Short talks (5 minutes) from you. Options:
    • Welcome
    • Author-related. Your writing journey.
    • Book-related. Story behind the story. Excerpts.
  • Drawings for prizes. Options:
  1. Recruit Helpers. Consider:
    • Welcoming team
    • Kitchen help
    • Punch servers
    • Activities leaders (option: teens)
    • Photographer
    • Book sellers.
    • Clean-up team

   Provide small gift or thank-you notes for helpers.

Make sure you schedule all tasks for a local book launch party. Click to tweet.

What would you add to this checklist?