How to Plan a Successful Book-Launch Party

A book launch is an exciting time. It’s the one moment when all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into a book finally pay off. It’s the one moment when everyone forgets about all the publicity and outreach they’ll still have to do in the upcoming months—or even years—and just wants to celebrate the fact that the book is finally out there in the world, in the hands of readers. And the best way to celebrate is to throw a launch party. While launch parties are relatively simple to put together, there are a few key things that should be kept in mind during the planning process. Follow these simple tips and you will have the foundation for a great party.

Pick a Good Location
It seems a bit obvious, but yes, the location is super important. It should also be easily accessible. Look for venues near where the author lives so their friends and family can easily attend. Also, make sure there’s enough room for everyone. Restaurants and bars are good choices for venues because they usually have an area they can section off for large parties.

Create a Schedule of Events
Once you figure out where you’re going to hold the launch party, plan a schedule, and make sure you stick to it. These parties should run between two and two and a half hours. Any longer and your guests will start to feel antsy and ready to leave.

Keep them entertained too. Most of the party should be for mingling, but you should also plan a couple of activities to help guests feel engaged. There should definitely be time for the author to speak. This is a formal opportunity for them to talk about how much this book means to them and to thank anyone involved in creating it. Another basic activity to include is a raffle. This will also help you sell some books if you give tickets for each purchase.

A schedule of events might look something like this:

  • The first hour or hour and a half is a time for guests to arrive, order something to eat, and mingle with each other.
  • Then it’s time for some speeches. Someone (usually the editor or agent) can introduce the author, and then the author can give a short speech before reading a small excerpt from their book. And you can finish up with a fun Q and A session if the author is comfortable with that. This should last about half an hour.
  • If you do any raffles, let guests know that they have about fifteen more minutes to buy tickets before winners are announced.
  • After fifteen minutes, announce the raffle winners and then thank everyone for coming. Guests can then mingle for the remaining time or start to leave if they want.

Remember that this is just a basic timeline—you can customize it to fit your needs.

Make Sure There’s Food
These parties usually happen toward the end of the day, so people will show up hungry and expecting to eat something. If you hold the party in a restaurant or bar, this easily takes care of the food issue, and the venue will benefit from the extra sales. If you’re throwing your party somewhere that doesn’t have food available for guests to order, then you should plan to have it catered. At a minimum, make sure there are appetizers available for people to snack on throughout the night.

Each book-launch party is going to be different, because no two books are the same. But the planning process doesn’t have to be stressful, and if you just keep these few things in mind, it won’t be.

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