I’m no expert on this topic, not by a long shot. Still, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in case it might be useful to someone planning a book launch.
First, things can happen fast, so it pays to be prepared. Organize as much as possible before the event. Try to anticipate some of the questions likely to arise. For example, what’s the book about? Where did the idea originate? How did you design, or choose, your cover? What’s the underlying message or theme? If you can write a brief paragraph to answer some of these, you can copy and paste it into the comments during the launch to save typing and time. You should advise participants to hit the “refresh” button frequently during the launch or they will miss many of the comments—and do this yourself.
I created a series of questions that relate to the book but do not require participants to have read it yet. Joy After Noon deals with a second marriage for the husband, and the wife feels threatened by the stellar qualities of the deceased first wife. So I posed a question about jealousy. She also has to deal with step-daughters who are in the throes of teenage angst. So I posed a question about our fears for our kids, step-kids, or grandkids. I located images on the internet to accompany each question. Before the launch began, I opened a WORD document with the questions and an images folder, so that I could quickly move back and forth, and paste a question (and accompanying image) if the discussion started to lag or drag.
To encourage participation, I offered a lottery with participants getting entries for their comments. The winner would be announced the following evening to allow individuals unable to attend to read the posts for a full day following the launch and continue to comment.
Alicia Paige Boggs organized the event for me, and she took charge of creating the invitations, sending reminders, and setting up the Facebook party. As I’m not skilled in the arena of social media, this took a lot of pressure off. I was able to invite my Facebook friends simply by clicking a button. When I sent her link to friends not on Facebook, or not in my Facebook account, I wasn’t quite sure how it would work or whether they would be able to see the party. I’d recommend sorting these technical issues out in advance so you know what to tell people who ask.
Above all, relax and have fun! The event is a celebration. Your friends will be so supportive, they will make you feel good about your achievement. Who can ask for more?