A few weeks ago in my local library I overheard a conversation at the desk. A gentleman was introducing himself as an author with a new book coming out and asking if the library would display a poster advertising the launch event. With my ears flapping, I pounced on the poor man before he could see the triumphant glint in my eye and escape. The result of that meeting is this blog post giving you Robert A. Brown‘s ten top tips for organising a book launch. Robert is a children’s author but his tips make sound sense for the rest of us as well.
- Set a realistic budget for your launch.
- Invest in some promotional materials, e.g. business cards, postcards, flyers of various sizes, pull up banner, book marks. These make a statement and look professional. But remember your budget – promotional materials may help sales but they won’t guarantee them.
- Choose a suitable date to hold the launch. Don’t rely on the publisher’s date for printing, as there is often slippage. Make sure your books will definitely be available to sell and sign.
- Consider what type of event to hold, e.g. daytime or evening, formal as in a bookshop or library, less formal, as in a café or a room in a pub/restaurant. Do you want to attract passing trade or is it invitation only?
- Decide what refreshments will be available if any and find out what the costs will be.
- Select a price point for your book, offering attendees an enticing discount compared to bookshop and internet prices. Have appropriate change ready in a float.
- Publicise the launch event. Approach shops, libraries, relatives, friends and media with publicity material and flyers and, of course, your book. Build up a social media presence.
- Recruit friends and family to help during the event, e.g. serving refreshments, selling the books and taking money, taking photos for future publicity, a master of ceremonies (to meet, greet and direct people) etc.
- How will you manage questions from the audience? Will people raise their hands or do you want questions written down on postcards and collected by another of your helpers? Pre-plan answers to the most common questions e.g. Where do you get your ideas from? How long does it take to write a book? Be prepared for the unusual, Robert was asked, ‘What is a hedgehog’s favourite tipple?’!
- ON THE DAY: You will be busy! You will be signing books, posing for photos, responding in the Q&A, giving a reading and delivering a brief speech including list of thanks.
Remember to enjoy your day – you have worked hard to get there!
Robert A. Brown is the author of the children’s and young adults’ book William the Hedgehog Boy. The story is inspired by the work of Michael Morpurgo and Dick King Smith. It will be enjoyed by readers aged 9-11 with an interest in wildlife.