Thank goodness we humans have an astounding ability to come up with workarounds when we meet obstacles in life. The pandemic era has transformed so many aspects of daily life, including how an author approaches their book launch.
In the good ole days, pre COVID-19, authors preparing to launch their book would plan a festive gathering where colleagues, friends, and family members could collectively celebrate the forthcoming publication together –– In person. Live.
Well, times have changed, and resourceful authors have now embraced virtual book launches. Yes, just like so many areas of modern life, technology has come to the author’s rescue. By using digital hosting platforms, it is now possible to drum up enthusiasm for a book launch right on your computer.
Think of the possibilities! Before, promoting an in-person book launch was limited to the availability of your local peer group. Without the geographic limitations of planning a live book launch guest list, a virtual launch can include people from anywhere in the world. To learn more about planning a virtual book launch, read on!
How To Plan a Successful Virtual Book Launch
Because of physical distancing measures, people have become accustomed to using Zoom for virtual gatherings over the last couple of years. With a certain comfort level around digital meetings, people are much more open to participating in virtual events –– including virtual book launches.
Authors can leverage this newfound familiarity with digital gatherings and use any one of a variety of platforms to host a virtual book launch. The key to pulling this off successfully is planning ahead.
Follow these steps to plan your own fun, informative, and lively virtual book launch:
Step 1: Pick a hosting platform.
Start by selecting a hosting platform for your book launch. Consider these top options:
Remember to select a time of day for the event that will work for various time zones. Each of these platforms offers tutorials to help familiarize yourself with how the platform works, so you can be well prepared.
Step 2: Create an invite list.
Create a digital invite for the virtual book launch. There are online tools available to help you create and distribute the invites and track the RSVPs, such as SignUpGenius, Eventbrite, or Paperless Post.
Once your invite is in place, it’s time to get the word out. Create an email list of contacts to upload to the online invite distribution tool. Add an email opt-in to your website’s home page as a way to collect emails and send visitors an invite.
Step 3: Develop a timeline for the event.
Right from the outset you will want your book launch party to go smoothly. To make that happen, make a timeline for the event. Schedule the various elements out in sequential order. These include introductions, discussing the book, reading of passages, a keynote speaker, any fun games or activities, a Q&A session, a drawing, and a wrap up.
Step 4: Select a host.
Ask a friend or colleague to be the emcee for the event. They will be responsible for introducing you and any other speakers, announcing poll results, guiding any activities, and for thanking the audience at the end for attending your book launch party.
Step 5: Organize speakers.
If your book is in the nonfiction genre, you may consider inviting a keynote speaker to deliver a short speech related to the topic of the book. This person should be an expert in the field and will lend additional credibility to your book.
Step 6: Create visuals.
When planning the hour-long event, you or your technical team may want to intersperse some graphics or photos into the presentation. These will align with the theme, tone, and genre of your book, adding a little visual flair during the event.
Step 7: Select passages to read.
One of the most powerful ways to influence someone to purchase your book is to wow them with an enticing excerpt or two. Select a couple of passages, just a few pages each, that will whet their appetite and motivate them to purchase your book immediately after your book launch.
Step 8: Plan a book promotion.
Plan to incorporate some type of book promotion into the event, whether it is selling the first 50 copies at a discounted price, or even planning a local book-signing event where people can enter a contest in person.
Step 9: Do a dry run.
Unless you are a seasoned pro at hosting Zoom meetings, it is wise to do a practice run prior to the event. It doesn’t have to be the entire hour. Condense the agenda down and weave in the visuals and polls and this mini version will allow you to work out any technical challenges while also being able to practice your public speaking skills a bit.
Step 10: Have a Q&A.
Readers love to connect with authors. They are interested in learning about an author’s life, about their pets, their writing process, and their future writing projects. Offer event participants an opportunity to pose some questions that you can answer during the virtual book launch party.
Step 11: Sign off with a call to action.
Before signing off, thank the participants for attending your book launch and encourage them to purchase your book, as well as to leave an honest book review. Inform the audience where they can buy your book, and post the links to the meeting notes. If you recorded the online session, you can later post the link to your website or Facebook page. Share some screenshots that make fun photos of the event right onto your social media platforms as well.
Virtual Book Launch Party Ideas
Since the book launch will be virtual, instead of in person, it won’t be the snacks and beverages that will draw attendees. Instead, consider these fun virtual book launch party ideas to make your book launch be memorable:
- Add some polls. Interspersing a couple of polls into the book launch event helps keep the viewers engaged. People love participating in polls.
- Hold a drawing. Announce at the beginning that all the names of those who RSVP’d were put into the drawing, and three names will be selected to receive free copies. Do the drawing live on the feed at the end of the book launch.
- Get creative about promoting the book launch. If you are wondering, “How do I announce a virtual book launch?” it’s time to think outside the box. Lure people to join the event with an offer of a free, signed copy for the winner of a drawing. Or create some fun Instagram stories in advance of the virtual book launch to pique interest and gather more emails for the invite guest list.
- Make a toast. At the beginning of the event, ask attendees to join you in a toast –– whether it is a cup of coffee, some lemonade, a glass of wine, or whatever their beverage of choice. It’s a fun gesture that everyone can do together to celebrate the launch of your new book.
Virtual book launch parties are a fun way to reach a lot of prospective readers, all from the comfort of home. Whether the pandemic ends soon or not, one thing is certain — virtual book launch parties are definitely here to stay.
Get Expert Help for Your Book Project
If you are up to your elbows in completing your manuscript, why not make use of some expert guidance from a professional self-publishing company? Gatekeeper Press offers the whole spectrum of self-publishing services, including editing, proofreading, book cover design, illustration, and distribution. Reach out to Gatekeeper Press today!