There really is no right or wrong way to have a debut party. I’ve heard of authors having simple signings with cookies and punch all the way to themed parties with full-fledged dinners, at anywhere from a library to a restaurant to a rodeo. I’m realizing that it doesn’t matter so much WHAT an author does, as much as HOW she does it.
I certainly don’t claim to be the expert on planning parties (I’m actually horrible at it!). But I can still share a few things I learned through my experience about how to make the event more successful.
|Thanks to my friend Kim Anderson |
for taking all of the pictures!
I set the date for my party a week before the official release. But first I made sure that my publisher could guarantee that my books would be available. In fact, my publicist was the one who initially suggested the earlier date for the party—if not a week early, then on the date of release or very close to it. We want the party to be the start of all the excitement, a place for people to come get our books early before they’ve had the chance to purchase it elsewhere.
2. Find a supportive location, preferably one that will help with promotion.
I decided to have my party at a bookstore simply to save myself the logistics of having to sell the books myself (which involves a whole other set of complicated details). Since my small town only has two bookstores, I approached the family-owned Christian bookstore that I’ve shopped at for years. They printed up posters, had bag-stuffer announcements, sent out Facebook and email invitations to everyone on their mailing list, and had a special display for my book on the front counter. They went the extra mile to help me!
3. Send out personal invitations and announcements.
I gave my publicist at Bethany House the information regarding the party, and she designed and printed up invitation cards for me. Then my daughters helped me address them, stuff them in envelopes, and send them out to friends. In hindsight, I’m able to see that those I personally invited made up the bulk of who came to the party--the friends most excited for me and wanting to help me celebrate. If an author can only do ONE thing to announce their party, I’d say the personal invitations are the most important.
4. If possible, get community support.
My local newspaper interviewed me and published it the week before my party. They actually gave me a full page in the Sunday paper and announced the book party. The article sparked community interest and some of the people I met at the party came as a direct result. We also put up posters about the book signing around town. Blogging friend Janel Gradowski saw the poster at a coffee shop and recognized me from blogging. She came to the party and we had the chance to meet.
|Thanks to my friend Molly Black|
for bring the Petit Fours!
And isn’t that what writing is all about anyway? Connecting with others? Whether through blogging or through our stories or in real life, we find fulfillment when we genuinely interact and encourage each other.
How important do you think a launch party is for an author? Have you had one or will you? What other things do you think are important in making launch parties successful?
P.S. This week is the final countdown to the release of The Preacher's Bride! Make sure you don't miss out on the final giveaway. Answer Trivia Question #4 to enter the drawing!