Whether or not you’re a Facebook fan, hosting an online launch party for your just-published book can gather readers and sell books. Real-world book launches are useful for getting the word out about your print book via press releases to newspapers, but sometimes the response in terms of actual attendees leaves something to be desired.
For a Facebook launch party, attendance is only limited by the number of friends you have (and the number of friends your friends have). And you can do a launch party for an ebook, if you haven’t printed books yet. You can also post an event for a real-world launch or reading.
Before you sign on to Facebook to create the event, you’ll need to design a header for the event page, the same size as your Facebook header (or get a design friend to put it together). As in all design, colorful and eye-catching will draw the most interest. Make sure the header gives all necessary info about the event in one glance (i.e., include the words “Book Launch”).
Next, log on to your Facebook page and click on “Create an Event” on the right side of the page. Upload your cover photo, choose the date, and fill in the rest of the fields. One to two hours is a good amount of time—it takes a while for people to read and comment, and you don’t want to tire your fingers too much (once it DOES get going, you may be typing constantly). When you’re done, click “Publish.”
Post an opening comment to explain the event, and click on “Share” to invite your friends. You can also add the event to your news feed. You’re ready to go! If there will be some time passing between the setup and the event, check the page regularly for questions (“How does this work?” comes fairly frequently).
Now for an important tip: Before the party starts, gather some snippets of information—short excerpts, a bit about why you wrote the book, the cover graphic, table of contents, a short bio—and have them ready in a Word document so you can copy and post them on the event page at intervals. Once the party begins, you’ll be too busy answering questions and addressing your readers’ comments to write long posts. With your book info ready to go, you can grab something quickly and post it, and keep answering questions.
I like to open a launch party with a cheery welcome, a brief description of the book, and a request for questions about the book or my writing process. This encourages people to post. Also, consider a giveaway—a drawing for a free copy of your book, or if feel generous, other items like gift cards, coupons, baskets, or a free course.
It’s challenging to address all the comments—don’t get stressed if some slip by, because you can always go back and answer them later. Be sure to Like at least some of the comments (try to Like each poster at least once).
Here’s an even more important tip: You have to keep refreshing the page in order to see new comments and questions. When someone posts, their picture will usually show up at the bottom left of your screen, and clicking on it will take you to their post so you can respond. You can also click on “Notifications,” top right of the screen, to refresh the page.
One critical note: Don’t give too much away in your excerpts. You want to whet readers’ appetites so they want to buy your book, not satisfy them completely. Pick compelling scenes for your excerpts to hook your readers.
Finally, stick around until the end and be sure to graciously thank everyone. Be generous with praise and gratitude. These are your fans and your word-of-mouth activity that will bring readers to your books.
BIO – Katherine Mayfield is the author of the award-winning memoir, The Box of Daughter, a book of poems, three books of essays, a book on writing memoir, and several books on coping with emotional trauma and bullying in the family, at school, and at work (www.katherine-mayfield.com). She teaches memoir writing online and blogs on dysfunctional families on her website, www.TheBoxofDaughter.com.