The moment I started thinking about a book launch party, I was already a month too late. With all the excitement and other commitments I had for GARDEN OF THORNS, I didn’t think about throwing a book launch party until about a month and a half out.
I was sick with a fever that day but I couldn’t sleep, worrying about how I was going to plan something that I had never done or even attended before. I went online and while I found a few things, it wasn’t nearly enough to help me plan something like what I wanted to through. So here are a few tips and tricks that I found helpful to plan an event on a budget:
Start planning early.
Seriously, the earlier, the better! I’d suggest two months out, at least. I started with only a month and a half and it was tight trying to fit everything into a schedule. The more notice you can give your location, the better.
Pick a location.
Is there a local bookstore in your town? That’s a perfect spot to host a launch party since they have easy access to getting your books. I’d suggest calling well in advance. As I mentioned above, two months will usually work so that they can fit you into their schedule and have plenty of room to advertise. You also need to know what they allow. Here are some questions I prepared for when I called my bookstore:
- Can you get a hold of my books or am I responsible for that?
- Do you provide tables and chairs?
- What else do you provide, if anything?
- How will you advertise this event?
- Do you allow food and drink? Can it be homemade or does it need to be store bought? If so, do I need to provide receipts?
- Is there anything I can do to make this easier for you?
Who do you know?
This is a big one and will allow you to stay on budget, When I started planning, I wanted to stay around $200-$300 for the entire event and that meant I needed to think about the people I knew that could help me. Do you have a friend or family member who is a photographer? Ask them! Does someone you know make the best cupcakes? Maybe they’d be willing to make them if you buy the ingredients. I asked my aunt to make cakes since she makes gorgeous ones and my uncle took all of the pictures at the event. With the help of my mom, dad, and friends, we were able to set everything up and help the book store tear things down at the end.
Make things that will serve more than one purpose.
Think about the themes in your book and what you can take from them to make cool giveaways and prizes. You don’t necessarily have to give away gift cards, get creative. For my novel. I made a paper cut shadowbox of my book cover, jars that I’d glued green glitter to that glowed like Zarenite jars from the book, little necklaces and purchased two dozen roses and attached quotes to them. Everything I made served as decoration for most of the event but I gave it all away at the end. People we so excited to grab “a rose on Rose” and loved the raffle for the necklaces and shadowbox. Think about ways to stretch your pennies!
Plan how you’re going to fill the time.
I had made a little schedule for the hour so I knew how long to take on each portion of the event. It ended up not going that way at all (I’d planned on signing all books after the event but people kept coming up to me before it started to get their books signed and I couldn’t say no. They were handing me a book that I wrote to get signed, after all!) but at least I had an idea. I was really stressed about the part where I needed to talk in front of the crowd so I decided on an interview style so that someone could be up there with me. We spent about 20 mins while I answered a set of 10 questions that we had pre-prepared and then I accepted questions from the audience. After, I read a very short passage. Even if you mess up (and I did in the beginning even though I’d practiced a million times) just take a breath and continue.
Make sure to announce your event on all social media sites that you use. I leaned hard on Facebook for my event because that is how I was going to target the locals. I made flyers and hung them up at local restaurants (ask before you do this. A lot of them I visited frequently so they already knew me,), visit high schools and talk to the librarians. I found that creating an event on Facebook and asking a few friends to share it with all of their friends really helped spread the word. My mother was a particularly good source for this because she knows everyone in our small town!
Remember to breathe and have fun!
This is one I took to heart. I made all of the decorations, shopped for deals, asked a lot of my family and friends for help but on the big day, I made sure to enjoy it. I spoke with everyone, smiled big and savored every moment of the big day.
Hopefully these tips that I learned help you! There isn’t a right or wrong way to do an event like this. As long as there is something to eat, you talk about your book and you celebrate this huge event with friends and family, you’ve done a great job.
Please let me know if you have any questions!