There are basically two ways to run a book launch – online and in person. A successful book launch does both, but not necessarily at the same time, like when a pandemic prevents it. David Kerr’s book Wall of Tears came out just when Australia went into lockdown in 2020 and the restrictions on numbers in gatherings continued throughout the year. He finally had the launch recently, and it inspired this post. See a brief video of the main parts of the launch at the end of this article.
Online book launch
An online book launch includes things like:
- A series of blog posts and emails to your email list over a period of 6 weeks before publication date, ending with an out-now blog post. This is to build anticipation. Each post should reveal more about the book – coming soon, cover reveal, pre-order now and out-now posts.
- The same postings for social media accounts using good graphics that stand out. Videos work well, so consider a book trailer and other video options.
- Arrangement of people to leave reviews on the book page as soon at it goes live. This is vital even if you do nothing else. A book with less than 20 reviews on Amazon doesn’t look good. Book Sirens is one place that finds reviewers for you, and (like us) it’s an Alliance of Independent Authors Partner, which means it’s been vetted for integrity.
- A book blog tour to get your book seen.
- A 99c or free sale to get new readers and get your book higher up the Amazon rankings. The higher it is, the more people will see it. Such a sale needs to be advertised through one of the many sites that advertise reduced-price books.
- A cross promotion with other authors – they share your offer or new release post with their email list and social media accounts, and you share their offers with yours.
The first point depends on you having a website and blog (which is recommended for authors planning more than one book. The other option is an author page on their publisher website). The second point depends on you having social media accounts. The more followers you have, the greater the chance of the book finding readers. To build your social media presence, you have to have been working consistently for at least 6 months before hand, the longer the better.
Some authors are reticent to bite the social media bullet, but you can use it entirely for your writing business and not get caught up in the social media jungle. At the very least you can have an account and support your publisher – if you have one – to promote your book by liking, commenting on and sharing their posts on your book. Presumably, your publisher will do this new release social media marketing for you too – we do.
The last point depends on your having an email list of people who liked your other books, or who are interested in the upcoming book. That also needs to be worked on before the launch date. Here’s an article on how to set up an author email list.
The other three, you have no excuse not to do!
In-person book launch
- Set a budget. Keep it small unless you know you’ll get a hundred people to the launch.
- Choose a venue. Our local authors often use the Kiama Library because it’s free and they have an email list to which they advertise the book launch.
- Contact local newspapers, radio and TV stations – give them a media kit and a reason to do an article or interview on you and your book. See this guide to creating a media kit for a book.
- Tell your friends about it. Send an email to your author email list.
- Contact local organistations whose members might be interested in it and ask for a little space in their newsletter to advertise it.
- Arrange catering if you want to include drinks and nibbles in the event. This is not necessary but is a nice touch where possible and practical. It depends on the venue, the kind of book, the time of day, and most importantly, your budget.
- Find someone to introduce you and any guest speakers, and also to ask you questions about the book.
- If your publisher or editor is local, then ask one of them to speak about the book.
- Plan an audio visual presentation if you can. It may be showing your book trailer, or photos of the setting, or photos that inspired the characters.
- Choose a short passage to read – around 800 words. If you don’t have a good reading voice and aren’t comfortable public speaking, then ask someone with a good reading voice to do it for you.
- Arrange a running order for the day.
- Do it once in one venue, and if you can, do it again in another venue in another town. Perhaps as part of a meeting of a social group whose interests align with the content of the book.
Of course, the more friends you have and the more organisations you beling to, the greater your chance of having a successful in-person book launch. And if you have it videoed and edited down into something short, you can also use it on social media and your blog as one way to keep the momentum going after the launch.
For more detail on running a book launch take a look at this article
Wall of Tears book launch
Over a year after the release of ‘Wall of Tears’, author David Kerr finally bit the bullet and arranged 2 book launches in different towns. The second one only just made it. Greater Sydney went into lockdown the same week, but Kiama, where the launch took place, was just outside the zone. (We couldn’t have it now though because the whole state is locked down.) So we sat there in our masks and watched as David talked about the Palestinian and Israeli stories behind the book and showed photos of Israel where the book is set.
This short video shows you the kinds of things you can do in a book launch. You’ll also meet the author, David Kerr, and get the story behind the creation of Wall of Tears. This talented author weaves true stories into this fictional work that looks at the Israeli – Palestine conflict from the perspective of characters we can relate to on both sides. Find out more about the book in our book section.
I shot the video on my phone camera because Rose, our videographer and book designer, was isolating after being in the greater Sydney area, so the quality is not as good as we’d like, but you get the idea. This is the kind of thing we can do for our local authors.
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