How to Organize a Book Launch
Congratulations! Your book is in print. It’s time to party.
Ok, do you literally want to have a party where people come and celebrate this significant milestone with you? If so, read on.
A book launch is an event that occurs on or around the official release date of your book where people come together to celebrate your book publication and learn more about your book.
You can host a book launch at a local bookstore.
If you’d like for your book launch to happen at a local bookstore, the first step is to find a bookstore that hosts events and has staff who support events. The second step is to pitch to them. Bookstores struggle to find audiences for book events so your job will be to convince them that you have an audience. For most writers, that audience includes your friends, neighbors, and colleagues. This is why it’s easiest to have a book launch in the city or town you live in.
If you are famous or if your publisher is engaging in a serious marketing campaign for your book, you might be able to pitch your book based on readers’ interest. But, for most of us, the book launch will include people you know. So, use that angle when pitching your book.
You can ask your place of employment to host your book launch.
If you work for a university, there may be a center or a library on campus that hosts book launches. You can ask them to host the book launch for you. Find a unit on campus that regularly host events and ask them if they’d be willing to host a book launch for you. The good thing about having this event at a university is there is a ready-made audience of your colleagues and students who will support you and help you celebrate your success.
You can host the book launch yourself.
You can throw your own party. You can order books from your publisher at the author’s discount and host an event at your home or at a local venue and people can come together to celebrate you and your accomplishments. Where and how you do this will depend on your budget and how many people you expect to show up.
Many restaurants have event space and will let you use it for free if your guests are willing to purchase food and/or drinks. If you’d like to provide food and drinks, then you can find a space that meets your budget. Whichever way you do it, a cake with your book printed on it is always a nice touch.
Depending on where you host the book, your programming may also differ. If you host the book at your home, you may just have a brief toast and thank all the people who supported you. If you host the event at a bookstore or a university, you might want to have an official program with a question and answer period.
If you are an amazing writer and your prose is absolutely beautiful, you may consider reading a portion of your book. Otherwise, it’s probably better to provide a brief overview and then answer questions. My favorite format as an author is to have a conversation. So, invite someone smart and spirited to have a dialogue with you and then open up the floor for questions.
It’s your book and you should celebrate its publication in the way that will make you feel the most fulfilled.
Tanya Golash-Boza, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced. She is widely published, with her academic works including academic and trade books, textbook chapters for edited volumes, and journal articles. She recently held a book launch for her new book, Before Gentrification: The Creation of DC’s racial wealth gap.