Here are some tips that I used.
- Do not call it a book launch, but a book launch party. Yes, doesn’t a party sound like more fun than a boring old-fashioned launch?
- Schedule your date and time with the bookstore manager, and start telling people about it two months before the date.
- Talk about it with the same enthusiasm you had planning your wedding. I’m assuming you had fun with that, or perhaps a special birthday party.
As Carolyn Howard Johnson says in her book, The Frugal Book Promoter, How to do What Your Publisher Won’t”
“A book launch is akin to planning a wedding. You may not need an elaborate canopy of wedding bells but all the other elements that makes a wedding a success must be considered for a launch.”
- Make some special postcard invitations and give them to everyone you know. Your friends, neighbors, people at the gym, store owners, I mean everyone.
- Insert 5 invitations into each ARC, (Advanced reader Copy) you send out, or just drop them off or mail them and tell your friends to spread the news about your book launch party.
- Get sponsors for your event so that you are “inviting” other local businesses to participate and this will make it easier to get press coverage.
- Walk to restaurants or stores, close to your bookstore location, and introduce yourself. Bring a copy of your book and tell them how many people you expect to attend. I said 75, because Laguna Beach Books told me they could accommodate that number.
- Mention you’re a local author to the restaurant manager. It’s better to show up in person, dressed professionally, with a copy of your book to offer them. Mention how you love their restaurant and would be grateful for an appetizer or other food item for your book launch party. Also let them know why you picked their restaurant. I wanted a tropical dish, from a local Caribbean restaurant, that fit my theme.)
- Introduce yourself to local store managers and ask if they would donate a gift basket or gift certificate for your book launch party. I asked a chocolate store, a hair salon and a home linens store, and they all said, “yes.”
- You have to make follow-up calls or visits, and it does take time, so be polite and persistent.
So be Gutsy, and just go out there and ask. What’s the worst thing that can happen? The word “No,” and that’s not the end of the world.