Never fear! Another great way to raise interest for your book is to host a virtual launch event on Facebook and it won't cost you a penny. A virtual launch is essentially a group of guests meeting in the same online location at the same time to 'hang out'. A Facebook event is the perfect forum for this because people can post on the wall in chronological order so the 'party' can progress throughout the night.
The best and most fun virtual launch party that I have seen was for Pigeonwings in September 2013 hosted by its writers Heide Goody and Iain Grant. These are the five top tips that I learnt from their event...
1. Set the Date - use the Facebook event to promote the time and date of the virtual launch in advance. Invite your friends and fellow writers. Treat invitations for the virtual launch every bit as seriously as if it were an actual party.
2. Set the Tone - this is a virtual party so set the tone as the host. Have some fun with it! Welcome people upon arrival, offer to take their coats, post pictures of drinks and nibbles, see how many people will join your conga line by posting underneath your status, tell people to wear fancy dress by changing their profile picture to an image of them in a silly outfit and so on. It is all so use your imagination!
3. Music! - post links to YouTube videos so everyone can hear the music being played at the party. The Pigeonwings launch asked for song requests with a Heaven and Hell theme (also the theme of the book), which was a fun way for the guests to get involved.
4. Party Games! - post pictures of silly images that share themes with your novel and set a caption competition. Offer a prize to the funniest caption. This prize could be a free copy of your book or similar merchandise like a fridge magnet or badge. You could also give a prize to the silliest profile picture, the best song requests and anyone who posts a review to Amazon during the party.
5. Sell Books - after having some fun, you can begin to promote your book. Post links to the book on Amazon and kindly ask people to download a copy. It helps if you make the book free during the virtual launch as a reward for your party guests. Plus, if lots of people download the book in a short space of time then the book will spike in the Amazon charts! To help sell books, you may also want to do a question-and-answer session using the comments under a Facebook status. You could also do a guest interview with your illustrator.
Virtual launches are fun, free and you don't even have to leave your house. Get your party started!