It’s November, and this month we’re focusing on giving advice to authors on book launches. After you’ve spent time writing, editing and creating your book, it can be both nice to celebrate your hard work up to now, and extremely beneficial to kick-start your marketing, to have a launch event for your book. But what makes for a successful one? To find out, we asked Helen Lewis, the director of Literally PR, to give us her top tips for a successful book launch. Literally PR specialises in organising book launch events with a focus on getting journalists in the room with the author, and have been organising media parties since 2006. Here is Helen’s expert advice!
A book launch event is a fabulous opportunity to celebrate the weeks, months or years of blood, sweat and tears that led to the publication of your book. A launch event is also the perfect chance to build buzz around your book. But they can also be a very expensive waste of time if they’re not organised and managed correctly.
I have, sadly, heard of disastrous book launches on rainy cold evenings in central London with just a handful guests and no journalists in attendance (not one of ours I hasten to add!). So, if you are considering a book launch event what do you need to do to ensure it is a success? Hundreds of books are published every day, how do you make yours stand out from the crowd and appear on the media’s radar?
1. Location, location, location
Research (and visit) potential venues based on who you want to invite and what you want to achieve. Do you want local media close to where you live or are you looking at nationals? Central London is the most obvious (and in our experience, the most successful location) because we’re based just outside of London and the majority of our contacts work in and around London.
2. Make it informal
While the media enjoy presentations by the author (keep them to under 15 minutes!), book signings and the chance to do an interview, they also like to kick back after a long day at the office (wine – particularly sparkling – helps to appeal) and do some networking.
3. Keep connecting
Invite journalists to attend as well as influential people who you think will buy into the idea behind your book and support it through their networks. You may need some help with this from a PR specialist, but LinkedIn and Twitter are also very useful tools to make connections… it’s all about who you know!
4. Entertain the crowd
Consider how you can make your event more entertaining, more inspirational, more original and more interesting than the myriad other events that your VIPs and media chums will be invited to on the same night. We’ve had giveaways to win a holiday in Italy, free Champagne and canapés all night, live music, drummers, a DJ, presentations by interesting speakers (as well as interesting authors) and our next event will see us inviting children and dogs as well as VIPs and journalists!
Provide a printed press release for journalists to read on the train home, ideally a copy of the book for every guest and, if your budget can stretch to it, a goody bag packed with related products (we usually ask authors to contribute part of the fee to this cost and reach out to sponsor companies, too).
We’ve been working closely with Literally PR on an exiting opportunity for authors that will be revealed at the end of this month. Make sure you sign-up to our newsletter for exclusive updates! In the mean time, you can find out more about Literally PR on their website or follow them on Twitter @LiterallyPR.
You can also read more on book launches and tours over on our publishing advice pages.
Helen Lewis is the director of Literally PR.
Follow her on Twitter: @LiterallyPR