A step-by-step guide on how to plan a successful book launch

by Anna Kiousi

Does planning a launch for your book seem daunting or stressful? Launching your book is one of the most important milestones to commemorate as an author, so we prepared a step-by-step guide on planning a successful book launch and celebrating all the hard work you’ve put into your book.

1.  Start with a clear plan

Start with a vision: what do you picture for this event? Write down your ideas or make a Pinterest Board, and don’t hesitate to get inspiration from the internet. For example, start thinking about whether your event will have a specific theme, colour scheme, or timeline. Then, consider which of your ideas are feasible, considering your budget and availability.

Pro tip:

Although you may think you can do everything yourself (and you technically could), chances are you’ll cause yourself anxiety and won’t enjoy the process. You can’t be the event’s author, planner, bookseller, and caterer all at once. So, whether it’s a family member, a friend, your book marketer, or a local event planner, recruit some help as soon as possible!

2. Iron out the important bits

There are tons of things to think about when you’re planning a book launch, so steal this list of important things you need to take care of:

  • Space: Price, size, guest capacity, date availability, how long it’s available for, whether food is allowed, accommodation for dietary requirements and allergies, etc.
  • Catering: Food or snacks (depending on event time), refreshments, people to help serve food, etc.
  • Activities and happenings: Book signing, book buying station, games, trivia, Q&A, etc.
  • Photos and press: Person taking photos, photo ops, etc.
  • Guest list: Number of guests and +1s, invitations, room for extra people, allow walk-ins or not, etc.

3. Create buzz early

Whether it’s through family, friends, your online network, or digital and printed invites, start inviting people as early as you can! People’s schedules get booked up really early and the last thing you want is for invitations to be turned down because you’re inviting guests just a week before the launch.

Some great tips are to create a social media invite on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, where the event can be seen publicly and can attract more people. Ask people to RSVP with the number of people attending, so you’re prepared for the rough number of guests who will show up on the day.

Pro Tip:

An easy way to invite people to your book launch is using a free Canva template to create your book launch invitations. They’re easily shareable and you don’t need to print anything!

4. Ensure people can buy the book on the day

Don’t forget about the launch’s main event: your book! Ensure you bring plenty of copies with you to sell and a marker or pen to sign them alongside any business cards or merch you have for sale. If you plan to make sales on the day, don’t forget to staff your merch or book counter and ensure people can pay in cash (with change available) or card for convenience. You can use an app like SumUp for that.

If in doubt, centre your book launch around the book itself. Here are some ideas:

  • Author Q&A
  • Book signing hour
  • Lucky draw for free copy and gift
  • Raise money for a relevant, local charity
  • Invite a local artist who can sell bookish accessories like stickers and bookmarks

Pro tip:

Practice your signature with the pen you’re going to use in advance! This doesn’t only help you feel confident and get a perfect signature, but you’ll know in advance if the pen you’re using is prone to smudging (often happens with ink pens) on the ink goes through the paper onto the next page.

5. Be prepared for (and okay with) the unexpected

Just like with any event, or frankly anything in life, prepare to be okay with the unexpected. Guests might not turn up or the drinks might not arrive in time and that’s okay. We’re not saying expect the worst, but just keep in mind that even if the event doesn’t go exactly how you pictured, it will still be a great time to remember.

Pro tip:

Although you might want to make up a detailed plan B for some scenarios, chances are it’s all going to be okay in the end if you keep a positive attitude. So, try not to overthink every single detail. Also, don’t be afraid to delegate smaller tasks to save yourself stress.

6. Don’t forget to have fun!

Amidst all the planning and running around, you might end up forgetting a very important thing: this is meant to be fun! Book launches are parties designed to celebrate you, the author and the hard work and time you put into writing and creating a polished book. So, enjoy it!

Take photos with the people who chose to come and support you, mingle with the guests, enjoy a refreshment, and relish in your admirable accomplishment!

Pro tip:

Even if you don’t have anyone to take photos of the event, don’t forget to capture some moments yourself through selfies with guests, a short video, or even a group photo! It will make for an amazing memory and an impactful social media post later that week.

7. Following up after the launch

After your book launch is over, send people a follow-up message or email thanking them for showing up. You should also ask them to leave a review if they liked the book and share their photos from the event on socials (and tag you!) if they want.

When you post about the book launch on your profile, consider tagging important guests that showed up, and linking to where people can buy the book online.

Pro tip:

If you’re feeling extra generous, you can send your book launch attendees a unique discount through email after the event. This could be for the services you offer, a chance to buy more copies or other books you’ve written, or a link to your merch store if you have one.

That’s it for our step-by-step guide on planning a successful book launch! If you’re looking for ways to market your book using social media, explore our book marketing ideas here.

Follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram to learn the latest book marketing tips for your upcoming book project!