So, you’ve done it. The book has been sold, the agent is smiling and the publishers have pound signs in their eyes. Everybody is happy … especially you, now that the months of isolation have come to an end. Still, there’s one thing left to do and that is to organise the Book Launch Party and, nine times out of ten, it is down to the author.
Only the likes of Rankin and Rushdie will be treated to a swish bash by their publishing houses, so what happens on the night is … pretty much … down to you.
Which in fairness is how it should be. It’s your book after all, so why shouldn’t you set it out to sail on the Sea of Shelves with a hearty swig of Champagne, Best Bitter or warm Tizer, whatever your tipple might be? You’ve earned it.
Thing is, although launch parties may not actually make or break the book – that will happen on its merit – but they can certainly help, so the important thing is to make the launch MEMORABLE for whatever reason, so how?
Well, first and foremost, press coverage is pretty vital. The local media – especially radio – attract bigger fish like sharks around chum, but they might only attend if there’s a story within a story and nothing attracts a story as much as celebrity.
If you know one, get him or her there … even if you have to pay them. A big name controversial author would be good, but a boy band member or an actor or someone totally tallentless so you can shine in the pale imitation of their stardom, is all the better. So, in short, a reality show contestant failure who has just written an autobiography at the age of 20 exposing a torrid somewhat kinky affair with a leading politician, is a sure fire winner and pretty easy to find.
Then there’s the theme. If you’ve written a book about Aliens, deck the room in spaceships, ET’s and other sci-fi stuff and have the food, music and drink reflect it. If you’ve written a Jilly Cooper / Jackie Collins style sex romp, have it in a lap dancing club. At the end of the day, a few curling butties and a glass of warm Lambrini aren’t really going to cut it.
Then there’s what to wear. You’re a professional now, so look it. If ever there was ever a time to wear your best bib and tucker, surely the “birth” of “your baby” is it? Splash out. Spoil yourself. Go to town. This is the biggest night of your writing life … especially if it’s your debut novel … so live a little, look the part and live the part.
Get someone to introduce you to the stage and, when you get up on the podium, make it memorable. Dramatic music, a few flashing lights and a little bit of dry ice never killed anyone which, in turn, will make everybody say “do you remember when” even though some will think it tacky.
Another idea is to get some student actors in to re-enact a scene from the book, film it and then place it on your Website via You Tube as a Book Trailer. The students get exposure, your book gets exposure, you get exposure … everyone wins.
If you’ve fallen out with your neighbour, make it up with them about a week before the night. Invite them – and everyone else you know – to the event. Why? Because most people will feel duty bound to buy a signed copy and be seen with the “star of the show”. You can always fall out with them again the day after.
Finally, like all good parties and celebrations, your launch needs to be organised. In the run up to the event, rehearse everything as though it’s your wedding. Practice the speech, make sure that there are microphones available for your speakers and that any Power Point presentations or videos are clear, precise, visible and audible DAYS before you play them.
Above all, make everyone feel welcome, even if it is your local Tax Inspector. Mingle, glad hand and press the flesh with your business card at the ready at all times.
Networking is everything and this is no exception. Believe it … everyone else will be at it. Don’t miss out.
So, you’ve done it. The book has been sold, the agent is smiling and the publishers have pound signs in their eyes. Now you’ve been plunged into a world more cut throat than Pirates Of The Caribbean, those looks of joy may not last forever so make the most of it.
Above all … Enjoy !!!!