On Thursday night I hosted a launch party for my novel, “Next Year I’ll be Perfect.”
As a newbie to the “published author” title, I’ve been to a number of book signings and events where authors read excerpts from their work, but I’d only attended one other launch party. So, when I decided that I wanted to celebrate my publication this way, I was entering uncharted territory.
I scoured the internet for information about how to host such a party, but couldn’t find anything that was exactly what I was looking for. Instead, I took hints from several website, drew inspiration from pictures I saw on Pinterest and listened to suggestions from those around me to build the event I wanted (with lots of help from family and friends, of course.)
Assuming there are other authors out there in the same boat, I thought you might benefit from the steps I took
Step 1: Write a Book you Want to Celebrate
It is kind of elementary, but still… Write a book you’re proud of and that you want to celebrate. That will make all the rest so much easier. Also, have lots of copies on hand to sell, but don’t make the event about selling books. Make the event about celebrating the book you wrote. If you sell copies, then that’s just gravy.
Oh, and make sure to bring a GREAT pen.
Step 2: Find a Venue Where your Characters would be Comfortable
This was the hardest step of all. I talked to my family and friends for ages about where the party should be held. The main character’s family owns a diner, so we first checked out diners and coffee shops, but those didn’t feel quite right. Also, the cover of my book shows my main character sitting with a bottle of wine. It didn’t seem quite right to hold a party celebrating Sarah Bennett and her world in a location that didn’t serve alcohol.
Once we decided to host the party in a bar, the choices were narrowed significantly. First, it had to be a place that served good food, was affordable, and most of all it had to be someplace where we could see the characters hanging out after work. The place we chose – right on the Portland waterfront – fit the bill on all counts. It had great food, plenty of space to move around in and a pile of comfy leather couches near a fireplace in the front.
Step 3: Cake
Everything is better with cake. Besides tasting good, this cake was just fun to look at.
Step 4: Favors
Everybody likes to take something home from a party! It doesn’t matter if you are going to a kids’ birthday party, a Kennedy wedding or the Emmys… you want to leave with some kind of swag. I found a website that makes the cutest laminated bookmarks, and had a ton of them printed up. People seemed to like them and want to take them home, and they also make great free advertising.
Step 5: People
Putting together the invitation list was a no-brainer. I invited people I wanted to thank for supporting me in my quest to publish. I invited people who are important to me or have been important to me at one point in my life. I invited people I love. I invited people who make me laugh and those who I like sharing a beer with. I invited people who haven’t figured out that I don’t really know what I’m doing most of the time. I invited people who do know and like me anyway.
And a bunch of people – from each of those categories – came.
Step 6: Have Fun