I’m a huge fan of celebrating writing achievements, and why shouldn’t we? Writers work hard—sometimes for years on end—putting a book together. If that’s not worthy of a little reward, then I don’t know what is.
One of the ultimate things to celebrate as a writer is the publishing of your book. And one of the ultimate ways to celebrate it is with a book launch!
Now, if the thought of a book launch has you panicking instead of being excited, don’t worry your introverted little heart. A book launch can be as big or as small as you want, overflowing with people you’ve never met before, or attended by only family and/or a small circle of friends. It’s your book launch, your achievement, and you decide how you want to run it.
For the release of my debut novel, Blackbirch: The Beginning, I had a small book brunch with the Melbourne members of the #6amAusWriters crew. It was all my exhausted brain could handle organizing, and it was perfect!
We had conversations about writing, good food, cake, and gifts all around!
When I release the final book in the series and conclude a set of books I’ve been working on since 2001, I may do a bigger celebration, which may include the following…
Book Launch Ideas
While there’s nothing wrong with having just your book available at a launch, with the rise of branded print on demand items it’s very easy to get yourself some book swag.
You can go as simple as bookmarks, or as elaborate as goodie bags filled with whatever you fancy.
I wanted to thank the awesome #6am crew for their support in the lead up to my book release and gave them all a branded tote, a bookmark, green tea, and chocolate (of course!).
Giving away swag is expensive, especially when you’re paying for it yourself, and you have more than a handful of people at your launch.
For cases like that, a raffle is a must. If I’d had a huge launch, I would not have given out totes to everyone, but a raffle ticket instead, so that one or two lucky people could win themselves a tote filled with goodies. It’s a great way to add an element of fun to your launch. Just give a ticket to everyone when they arrive and then draw it during the event.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I included chocolate and green tea at my book brunch (as pictured with the rest of my guest swag below). Anyone who’s done any party planning has surely heard of the trend to make your own chocolate wrappers by downloading a template, adding your images, and getting it printed to wrap around pre-bought chocolate bars. It’s actually pretty fun, and I swear the chocolate tasted that little bit sweeter being wrapped in a cover image that matched my book!
Bigger launches allow for awesome things like cupcakes and cakes decorated with your book cover or a theme that matches your book. Lucky for me, the ever-thoughtful Belinda Grant brought a delicious cake to my launch and even made chocolate trees to add as decorations. There’s also room for more catered food if you wish. Again, it’s your launch and you can include anything you want!
A tablet at a launch is not to give away, but to help you connect with your readers.
Have one on hand so that people can easily sign up for your mailing list. Place it on your signing table, then as you’re signing people’s books, give them the option of adding their email address to a pre-loaded sign-up page.
Going old school with a simple clipboard and sign-up sheet is also an option, but requires you to manually add the emails yourself later.
Everyone knows readers love a free bookmark, so they are definitely a must to include in your launch. But there are other also things you can have made that readers might find fun, such as postcards or flyers with more detailed info about your book or specific info about the world you’ve created or your characters.
If your launch is for a later book in a series, have a piece of promo that lists all the books in order. If your budget allows, you can even get posters (small or large) made of your book cover to give away.
A Guest-Book Version Of Your Book
I’ve only been to one other book launch before and it was for Sandy Barker‘s One Summer In Santorini. She included a copy of her own book that she asked the attendees to sign as a keepsake for herself. I thought it was a wonderful idea, and I’m sure she won’t mind me including it here. I know she didn’t mind when I included it at my launch and asked her and everyone else to sign Blackbirch (as pictured below).
If such a keepsake sounds like your thing, don’t forget to bring a copy of your book and a pen and ask the guests at your launch to sign their names and/or add a brief message on a page in your book that you can look back on in the years to come.
Don’t Forget Your Ebooks
Physical copies of your book at a launch are a given but don’t forget to include ebooks too.
There are plenty of services (such as BookFunnel) where you can upload your ebook and get a code you can print on bookmarks, business cards, and specific promo cards that allows the holder to one download of your book.
If you want something more physical, you can also load copies onto USB sticks. Either way, there are options for you to sell your ebooks at events, and what better place than your own book launch!
As you can see, book launches can be as big or a small as you want and are a great way to celebrate all of your hard work. I know I’ll always remember the launch for my first book, and the friends/fellow writers I shared it with.
Read The First Three Chapters Of Blackbirch: The Beginning For Free!
If you’d like to know more about the book I launched, click the banner below. If you’d like to read the first three chapters for free, click here to download a special sample ebook, only available for a limited time.
What’s one thing you’d love to include at your own book launch? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about some practical and wishful ideas.
— K.M. Allan