Hi, all – Ava Pennington here.
My last two posts were about planning a book launch party for my first book, One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God. I’m not a marketing expert, but I learned as much as I could from those who are. The posts described the planning necessary for a successful launch party. In case you missed them, check out Planning a Launch Party – Part I and Part II.
Well, the party was a success! Almost 100 people came to celebrate with me and it was a special time shared with precious friends. Still, the next time I plan a book launch party, there are things I will do differently. Here’s what worked – and what I would change…
The location worked out beautifully. My church partnered with me on the launch party, and we turned a large, tiled lobby into a reception area. The weather had been rainy the day before, so holding the party indoors removed the uncertainty of dealing with inclement weather.
I scheduled the launch party for two weeks after the book’s release date, and it’s a good thing I did. Although the bookstore had placed the order months in advance, the books arrived from the distributor just three days before the party. I must confess to a bit of nail-biting, imagining the worst: a book-signing without books! I’m grateful for the advice I had received to allow enough time after the release date to ensure delivery of the product.
Theme & Decorations
We decorated the room with gold and green trimmings to match the book cover. Along with gold tablecloths and a gold poster of the names of God, gold and green balloons and napkins created a coordinated look.
Refreshments were designed to complement the decorations.
I ordered a sheet cake adorned with a picture of the book cover – a definite success! In addition to the cake, friends provided home-made cookies and chocolates, and we also had a small chocolate fountain.
I had wanted the background music to be consistent with the party’s theme. My intention had been to assemble a collection of songs related to the names of God, but I ran out of time. Instead, we played Christian instrumental CDs.
I offered a simple quiz on the names of God that doubled as an entry form for door prizes. Those same quizzes also included an opportunity to subscribe to my e-newsletter.
I had intended to have a drawing every fifteen minutes for door prizes, but more experienced authors suggested it would be better to have two drawings every half hour, and they were right. As it was, there were a couple of times when I almost forgot to do the drawing. It was helpful to have a volunteer stationed at the prize table. She handed out the quizzes, received them back, and reminded me when it was time to hold another drawing.
A volunteer from my church was the designated photographer. He provided me with a CD of photographs from the event.
Set-up, Clean-up, and Hosting Volunteers
It was difficult for me to ask for assistance, but when I did, everyone I asked was eager to help. I tried to delegate everything since I knew I would be busy signing (or at least I hoped I would be!).
I did make a note of all the volunteers, and followed up with thank-you cards, and in some cases, thank-you gifts.
I had used Facebook to create an “event” and shared it with my friends there. I also emailed invitations to those in my e-address book.
I had hoped to mail postcard invitations, but like the bookmarks, the postcards did not arrive in time. Several people told me they did not see the email announcement in time to attend. Next time, I’ll just go ahead and order postcards. I’ve discovered there is no substitute for a personal invitation.
I posted fliers in local shops. I also sent press releases to local newspapers and radio stations, but once again, I ran out of time. I sent them less than two weeks prior to the event. Next time I’ll send press releases at least four weeks before the event.
The launch party was less about selling my book (although, thankfully, sales were strong) and more about celebrating relationships and rejoicing in what God is doing through this devotional.
Hope you can learn from my planning…and my mistakes. Most of all, I hope your next book launch party is a celebration you’ll remember with joy for years to come!