Book launches can be a lot of fun. It is a celebration of yourself and your novel, and an opportunity to share this success with fellow writers and friends.
However, it is asking a lot for people to give up a slice of their social calendar for your book launch event so you need to make the book launch memorable, exciting and enjoyable. Also, your fellow writers may get invited to book launches every other week, in which case they might have certain expectations about the event.
So, here are five things you should provide at a book launch...
1. A Good Spread - hungry guests are not happy guests. Keep the nibbles and drinks flowing.
2. A Good Guest List - writers love meeting fellow writers because favours can be exchanged: "Review my book and I'll review yours!" Therefore put some effort into the guest list. Don't just invite your work colleagues and university mates - invite lots of fellow writers as well. You may also want to invite illustrators, publicists, editors and other creative types. Make this an essential networking event by revealing who is attending on your Facebook event. If the list is good then your guests will not want to miss out.
3. A Centrepiece - there has to be an 'event' at the event to bring everyone together and make sure all eyes are on you, the author. The centrepiece could be a warm welcome from yourself, a reading of the novel, an interview hosted by one of your friends or an open Q&A panel if you are feeling brave.
4. A Gimmick - your guests will need conversation starters to bring them together. Keep these fun, communal and related to your book. For example, the Pigeonwings book launch in October 2013 had a 'Make Your Own Halo' crafts table, which tied in with the angelic themes of the novel. There was also an angel-themed quiz.
5. A Merchandise Table - never forget, you are there to launch the book so have lots of copies available. Make some money! And you don't just have to sell your latest book - sell your previous book too. You may also wish to sell something to those who already bought the book on Kindle so have some other merchandise available: magnets, badges, fancy dress, t-shirts, all decorated with the artwork from your front cover.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy your event. Feel free to send me an invite!