Ava Pennington

Author, Ava Pennington

Hi, all – Ava Pennington here. Planning a book launch party is a labor of love. It’s a lot of work, but since it’s for my baby, I don’t mind!

Last month I covered planning and logistics for a successful book launch party. If you missed it, here’s the link to Part I.

This month, let’s talk about invitations and publicity for your book launch party.


Unless you are planning a sit-down dinner, don’t be too concerned with keeping the invited number of guests at a manageable level. People will probably come and go throughout the party. While some will stay longer than others, think of this more as an open house rather than a dinner party.

You can send invitations three ways:
–    Emailed invitations designed yourself or through a site such as Evite.com (for those in your email address book)
–    Event invitations through a social media site such as Facebook (this is good for local people for whom you don’t have email or snail-mail addresses)
–    Printed invitations through snail mail (for the physical addresses in your address book)

Use all three methods to reach as many people as possible.

Invest in postcard invitations with your book cover on the front and the details of the party on the back. Mail them to all your local snail-mail addresses several weeks before your launch party. Inexpensive postcards can be purchased through several on-line companies, such as Vistaprint.com or Gotprint.com., or you can use graphics software to design and print your own.

Bonus: even if the recipients are unable to attend your book launch celebration, the postcard will serve as a visual reminder to purchase your book!

Local Publicity

Flyers are a simple way to get the word out about your launch party. For establishments where you are a frequent customer, ask proprietors to post one in a window and leave a stack on their counters for customers to take. Remember to include your Chamber of Commerce, too.

Contact local radio stations several weeks before your event. Email addresses of program hosts are usually found on the station’s website. Request an interview during the week before the party. Tip: include a list of suggested interview questions to make it easier for them to say yes!

Send a press release to local newspapers four to six weeks in advance of your event. Include a jpeg of the book cover and an author photo. Consider following up with another release one to two weeks prior to your party in case the first notice was misplaced. 🙂

In addition to the who, what, when, and where of the launch party, your press release should include information about your book—price, publisher, and where it can be purchased. Also be sure to include a brief author bio.

You might also write an article about you and your book. Local newspapers are always on the lookout for human interest stories, especially “local gal (or guy) makes good” articles. Tip: include information about your ties to the community to make it even more attractive!

Ask your church to include the event in their newsletter, and send flyers to other churches in the area, as well.

Of course, there’s no substitute for grassroots, word-of-mouth publicity. Build buzz by telling  your friends, and ask them to tell their friends. Everyone loves a party!
Social Media

Spread the word through social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, ShoutLife, and Twitter.
Set up an “Event” on Facebook for those who live locally.

Use Twitter to tweet trivia (a tongue-twister!) questions about your book, then tweet the answers to increase interest in your book and your party.
Also, announce your event on your website, blog, and in your newsletter.

Be sure to keep the announcements upbeat and fun. Social media is just that…social!

What else can you think of to enhance the publicity for your book launch celebration?

Next month, I’ll look at follow-up and evaluation, including an evaluation of my own book launch party.
See you then!

2 thoughts on “I’m Planning a Party! – Part II

Marja Meijers

October 14, 2010 - 11 : 49 : 25

I’ve done several parties in the past, and you’re right, they’re more like open house parties… with a book signing!
Last year I invited other artists too and we had several tables around the house and in the yard (art, jewelery, cards, books etc.). We did it in November, so guests could shop for Christmas gifts.


Ava Pennington

October 14, 2010 - 12 : 06 : 07

Marja, what a great idea…and just in time for Christmas!


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