When my first book, Denim & Diamonds, was released, I thought about hosting a virtual launch party, but wasn’t quite sure how to pull it off. For my second book, Fatal Impulse, I decided to do a little research and host a Facebook event. It was Saturday, and now that it’s over, I’m declaring it a success. Over 60 people attended, and the ebook surged to 53rd place on the Amazon bestseller list (for women’s fiction / detective mysteries). It may not be the NYT bestseller list, but it was enough to make me proud. So, how did I do it? And what am I going to do again?
- Schedule. As soon as you have the release date for your book, schedule a Facebook event.
- Open House. Instead of hosting a “party,” host an “open house.” I ran mine from 9 am – 9 pm. This allows you to cover lots of time zones, and allows folks to come and go as their schedules allow.
- Public. You want the event to be public, so that anyone can attend. Check your settings in the event to be sure everyone is able to attend.
- Invitations. Invite everyone on your friend list that you think might be interested. Post links on groups that you belong to. Share with non-reading groups that might have an interest in your topic. For instance, I’m a papercrafter and belong to a scrapbook organizing group. I used my crafting supplies to make gifts for my party, so I shared pics of my giveaways with that group and issued an open invite to any of them who wanted to attend. Notify your local library and local bookstores. Tell friends and family about it.
- Countdown. Post links on your Facebook wall, your Twitter feed, and other social media outlets leading up to the event, reminding them of it.
- Prizes. Everyone loves giveaways. Plan to have several small gifts and a couple of larger ones, plus a “grand prize.” I chose to give away a proof copy of the paperback as the “grand prize,” plus a “first prize” of a $10 gift card to an independent book store of the winner’s choosing.
- Plan. Have a series of questions prepared ahead of time to keep things rolling the day of the party. Good questions include details about your book, but focus on your readers. For instance, something like, “In Fatal Impulse, Andi describes herself as round. What word would you use to describe yourself?”
- First Post. Outline how the party will work, what you are going to do, what prizes will be given and when. “Pin” this post so that it appears at the top of the page.
- Schedule. Post at least once an hour, something that will generate comments and interaction.
- Interact. Comment on your guests’ comments and respond to any questions they have. This is a chance for them to get to know you – and for you to get to know them.
- Links. Throughout the day, post links to your other social media profiles (Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) to encourage your readers to connect with you.
- Your last post. Thank your attendees. Let them know you appreciate them.
- Wrap up. Mail out all of your giveaways. Connect with your readers on social media. Evaluate your use of time: how many attendees, how many books were sold, sales ranking, etc.
- Celebrate. You pulled it off. Everyone had a great time. Give yourself some time off social media to reflect on your success!
If you want to look at the posts at my Fatal Impulse launch, click HERE. And if you’ve hosted a successful launch party, please share your tips!