It is an exciting time in the life of you and your book. You’ve survived the drudgery of editing and the layout process and now your book is hitting the printing press. The next step in the process – spread the word!
Part of the process of getting the word out about your new book is a promotional event. Sadly, many authors feel this is an unnecessary step when self-publishing. However, in my experience, hosting an event to celebrate the official birth of your book is an important and valuable part of the publishing process.
Tips for Hosting Your Promotional Event
- Press release. The first step is to create a press release announcing your new book. Most newspapers are no longer printing them, however, if you have a community newspaper, they may not only publish the announcement, but may also include a picture! Additionally, the best use of your press release is for the Internet. Check out this article on how to use a press release for promotion. Press Releases: Still a Viable Marketing Tool.
- Selecting a venue. I have had some authors balk at the idea of a promotional event because they didn’t want people to come to their home but there are lots of venue options for new authors. You may not have a budget for renting a hotel ballroom or party center but you may be surprised to find other locations willing house your event. Here are a few affordable ideas:
- Check with your local library. Many have meeting rooms and it is also a great way to connect with your local librarians about the possibility of putting your new book on the shelf. Family restaurants are also a possibility.
- Chains like Panera Bread often have meeting rooms they are willing to reserve at no charge or just for the price of food.
- Local wineries often have meeting rooms available for an event and it could be fun to host a wine and cheese book release event.
- Local bookstores are also a great venue. Check with the local owner/manager about the possibility of hosting a book signing event.
- Now that you have your venue it is time to spread the word on social media:
- Create an event on your Facebook page and invite your friends and connections.
- Post the event on your LinkedIn page.
- Create excitement with Twitter, sharing little tips about your event and even a sentence or two from your book to build the anticipation.
- Create a short video invitation to post to YouTube, Vine, Tumblr, Facebook and to email your friends.
- Speaking of email – make sure you have collected every email you have ever received and send them an announcement. Use the press release!
- On the day of the event, be sure to show up at LEAST an hour before the scheduled time. If possible and if there is enough space, have a table set up with your books, fliers, press releases and anything else pertaining to your book.
Have a friend or family member help you so they can take payments while you sign books. Mingle with everyone there and be sure to ask what types of books they like, what they have been reading, etc. Even if you do not get book sales right away, be sure everyone has your information and knows how to order a book later. Here is the checklist for your book signing event:
- Money box with change [recommend $100 minimum of change]
- Receipt book
- Business cards
- Pen for signing / extra pens
- Tape: cellophane and strapping
- Sunscreen [if outside]
- Extension Cord
- Bags for books purchased
- Display for Book
- Decorations for table
- Cell phone [for emergencies]
You have dedicated a large chunk of your life; emotionally and in time, to the creation of your book. It is time to celebrate. Your local community will be excited to help spread the word about your book, but you first have to let them know it is published. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful method of marketing and your event will help get the buzz started.
You deserve the recognition and so does your amazing work. Once you have your book published, make sure you host a book release event.
p.s. This article is about holding an in-person event. Keep your eye out for an upcoming article on hosting virtual promotional events!