Welcome to this week’s post which is about that all important Book Launch or Book Signing Event. You’ve done all the hard work, your book is ready for release and so you want the event you deliver to be WOW! It’s time to celebrate and to enjoy the next part of your writing journey. I planned my first ever book signing event for The Summer Will Come. It was a fabulous event with over 70 attendees and one of the highlights of my writing career so far. I enjoyed every minute of it and felt totally delighted with the support I had. I really felt the LOVE! So here are my considerations for ensuring your event is a success too…in 10 simple steps.
- The first thing I did was set a realistic date for the launch and release of the book. I thought carefully about how long I would need to do any beta reader corrections, get the book formatted and ready for release. I chose the 25th March as it is the start of British Summer time and the timing fits in with the title of my book because the summer is on its way and so The Summer Will Come is perfect in so many ways!
- Once I had set the date I had to choose the venue to hold the launch. I wanted to choose a venue that was local, easy and free parking, was not too big and which would meet my requirements for offering food and drink. I chose a lovely little coffee shop, Cafe Buzz, which is run by a local Greek Cypriot woman.
- I confirmed the venue and timings with her. I confirmed what she was able to provide and support me with and how many people the coffee shop- would hold comfortably – combination of sitting and standing. I confirmed what food items I could provide myself and what would be available for those who wished to purchase any food or drink on the day.
- List of guests – I began putting a guest list together and started with my nearest and dearest and worked my way out – family, friends, work colleagues, authors I knew, other writers, local press. I added names to the list as they come to me, so the list was organic and growing.
- The invitation and spreading the word – I designed the invitation using a blank book cover and Canva to keep with the theme of the book. I included all the basic information but added that only cash sales would be made. I asked for an RSVP so that I could judge how many guests to expect on the day – this informed my food requirements and number of books needed on the day for sales. I sent this out the invitation across a number of different platforms including social media, SMS, What’s App, etc. I sent out details 8 weeks before the event, 4 weeks before the event, two weeks before the event, one week and then the day before, across all social media platforms and via WhatsApp.
- Plan for the day – If people are going to make the effort to come to your book launch then you need to make it interesting and fun for them. I organised a book reading (two extracts by two people – a male voice and a female voice for two main characters Christaki and Elena), a time for book signing, a Q&A which gave my guests the opportunity to ask me something about my writing and the book. I prepared some questions in advance and one of my A Team handed these out – nothing worse than no questions, eh? I indulged in some Greek Cypriot hospitality by offering complimentary food and refreshments. I ordered a jigsaw puzzle of my front cover with an idea for a game as guests arrived!
- My A team – You will need help! I realised that trying to organise every aspect of the party would be too much for me. So I rallied a number of people to help me with advance planning and of course help on the day. My sister baked a cake and topped it with a cake topper of my book cover which I ordered in advance, my mum is baked some Greek Cypriot savouries, an aunt is made some cookies, my mum is sewed bunting in colours to co-ordinate with the book cover… I organised someone to take photographs, someone to do the books sales (and organised a float for them), my cousin who is a florist is making floral table arrangements for me.
- Props and timings – Think of ways to personalise the space and make it yours. I had posters of my book cover printed, bunting, cake with book cover cake topper, flowers, mini framed book covers to have around the coffee shop and Greek finger nibbles and refreshments and Greek music! I also collated items mentioned in the book and created a “live display” which linked to my story; my grandma’s ticking clock, the red eggs, my Grandma’s little Bible, the Lefkaritika (lace) and the tsestos (flat woven basket) to make a table display. It’s about making it ‘real’ for the guests and creating a little bit of The Summer Will Come at the party. This will also help to start up conversation and questions about the story and ignite interest in the book.
- Plan my engagement with my guests – I welcomed them all personally as they arrive, I chose my extracts in advance, drew up a list of who to thank on the day, printed the poem from which I chose the title of my book so I could read it out (I did this in Greek).
- Book supply and gifts – Giveaways and a prize draw is always a good idea! I organised some giveaways (guests registered with their email address and I used this to build my email list and follow-up after the book event). The prizes linked to scenes and characters in the book and I ensured a sufficient supply of paperback copies based on RSVPs received for signing and a few extra!
I hope you have found this useful! All that’s left to be had now is to have some fun! Enjoy the day and celebrate with my friends and family around me and of course, thank you too for your wonderful support. I wish all of you, too, lots of luck in what you are doing. Love Soulla x