A Guide to Book Launches and Where to Hold Them.
There are countless book launches every year, how are you going to make yours stand out?
TYPES OF BOOK LAUNCHES
Get creative but the basic components of a traditional book launch are still effective. The following, or more likely a combination of them, are all forms that your book launch can take:
- Introduce yourself, the book, and your writing process – it’s why everyone is here – they want insight and to feel like they really ‘understand’ you.
- Interview with author – a relatively informal interview at a book launch can be a fascinating and rewarding experience for all involved. Make sure the interviewer is relevant and qualified.
- Reading – most book launches will include the author reading from their latest work. Read a carefully chosen short passage – practice reading it, keep it short. It is important that the reading is strictly a teaser not boring.
- Q&A – Warning: handle with care. This is always a risk as the questions from the audience can be more about sounding clever in front of their idol than asking genuinely probing and insightful questions. Increasingly authors and their agents are using modern technology here, questions being asked via twitter, slider etc.
- Signing – you may get sweaty palms, you may have to suffer some awkward encounters, but a book signing is often an important part of any launch.
WHO TO INVITE TO YOUR BOOK LAUNCH?
- Journalists – getting journalists to attend is key so ensure that you remove any obstacles that may prevent them attending.
- Influencers – these can include members of prize judging panels such as Man Booker, Costa, Richard & Judy.
- Radio/TV – who produces book programmes on the BBC? Who presents these shows?
THE BOOK LAUNCH VENUE
When thinking about location, the main consideration is are the right people able to get there easily. Consider transport links, parking, traffic and ensure that it can be easily accessed. 44 Hallam Street is in many ways perfect in this respect:
- The closest venue possible to the HQ of the BBC on Portland Place
- Within a 5-minute walk of 3 of the best-connected underground stations i.e. Oxford Circus, Great Portland Street and Bond Street.
- Heart of the West End with all the attractions that that offers.
Venue Type / Suppliers etc
Above all you want your audience to enjoy the event, to positively promote the book after the event. A few pointers in this respect:
- Use a venue with a long track record of hosting similar events, you don’t want all your hard work to be ruined the incompetence of the venue. How many events have been ruined by warm white wine, rubbish signage etc.
- Clearly the same applies to suppliers, if you have a catering requirement use professionals, we have worked with Hubbub Catering, they specialise in this type of business.
- Use a venue which looks right, again its vital that your attendees leave with a good impression, a venue like 22 Duchess Mews W1 certainly has the wow factor with bio adaptive lighting, light box table etc. Alternatively, Asia House in W1 houses some truly beautiful rooms, many with original john Adams ceilings etc.
- Very often its worth using the services of a professional venue finding company, they are free, yes really. The vast majority of venues in the UK are members of either the MIA (Meetings Industry Association) or the HBAA. Both mean commit to paying 8% commission to such agencies in return for the volume of business the latter bring. These agencies have visited the venues, know how the contracts work etc, we would recommend the venue booker www.thevenuebooker.co.uk
WHEN TO HOLD A BOOK LAUNCH?
In the evening and midweek. Tuesday to Thursday is ideal. Unless it is a very high-profile event, keep it early evening so people can attend after work and be able to relax knowing they can get home on time.
PROMOTING YOUR BOOK LAUNCH
Once you have arranged the date, time, venue and your invite wish list, it’s now time to turn your attention to promotion. Do you have an email list of subscribers? A contact book? Facebook fans? Let them know the details of the event. Social media platforms are a great free way to reach relevant people. Reach out to people on Twitter and ask for Retweets. There are a number of literature magazines, blogs, and nights that will be happy to share your event to their followers. The following are a few more promotion ideas:
Connect with listing sites and event Twitter accounts
- Strategically placed posters and flyers can still be effective
- Create a Facebook event specifically for the event and invite people to join
- Connect with people via LinkedIn and share your invite with them
- Create unique content on your website that you can then share with people on social media
BOOK LAUNCH PERSPECTIVES
AN AUTHOR’S VIEW OF A BOOK LAUNCH
A great article in the the Guardian, by AL Kennedy explains that book launches are not something authors look forward to: “It seems that for many of us, representing our work in the wider world always feels both disappointingly anti-climactic and weird….Publication is when something with which you’ve spent a lot of time definitively walks away and belongs to other people who either get it, or don’t get it.”
A PUBLISHER’S VIEW OF A BOOK LAUNCH
Ra Page, founder of not-for-profit short story publishers Comma Press, has one piece of advice: “The key to a really successful book launch is having the book printed on time…. not having the book there to actually launch can actually take the shine off proceedings…”
The point may seem an obvious one but without the physical book, the launch is doomed. It is vitally important not to underestimate how difficult it can be to actually see your book in print and to deadline. Do not hold a launch event until you have the book grasped firmly in your hand.
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