Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Book Launch by Diana Flegal

This past Saturday I had the privilege of attending a client’s book launch. Since my clients are scattered all over the US of A, it is rare for me to be able to lend my physical support to them all, as much as I’d like to.

 Author Amy L. Sullivan did a stellar job hosting a fun, creative and successful book launch both online and within her local community. I thought I would interview her and pass along some do’s and don’ts in an effort to assist you in preparation for your launch event planning.


Do Become Visible Online
Amy purposefully supported others online. She joined groups, wrote articles for websites, completed interviews via Skype, committed to pray, and became genuinely interested in the projects other people were doing. She sought out those who had similar missions as she did and joined forces to work on new endeavors together. 

Do Share Your Vision
Since Amy’s book is on generous living, in addition to an online book launch, she wanted to host a local event where families and nonprofits could meet one another with the hopes of becoming involved with each other.

Amy prayed about a venue for her local event. She wanted a place in the midst of her community where families could come and children were welcome. Once the venue was found—a perfect place in answer to her prayers—she assembled her event team—comprised of 6 local people. This team met twice and communicated regularly through email. 

Once Amy shared her vision with others, she was surprised how many people wanted to rally and help her.

Do Assemble a Team to Get Behind You
Three months before the book’s release, Amy also assembled an online launch team. Amy had been building genuine online relationships for a few years, and at this time, she simply asked people if they would be interested in helping her spread the word about her new book when it released.
Three weeks before Amy’s book released, Amy gathered the people who said they would support her in a Private Facebook Group. Forty-seven members participated in challenges and online sharing about the book.

Do Plan Out What You Will Ask of Your Online Launch Team
Examples of things she asked them to do were:
§  Share about Amy’s book on their blog.
§  Tweet and retweet: Amy provided them with already made tweets to share.
§  Share photos of the book’s cover and quotes from the book online.
§  Amy sought 100 people to participate in Thuderclap (an online platform which allows tons of people to share about the same message) and CLAP her book once.
§  Pray. Amy felt prayer was of extreme importance in her book launch’s success. One launch team member’s sole contribution was to pray every day for the book launch and the local event.

Do Brainstorm    
Amy’s wish list for her local event included a face painter, live music, a graphic designer, fun decorations, and kid-friendly food. By the end of the first meeting with her local team, all items from Amy’s wish list had been assigned to others.


Don’t Forget to Reciprocate. Amy made it a priority to share about what others were doing. She made sure to highlight the successes of those around her, and she worked hard not to make things all about her.

Don’t plan to do everything yourself.
“Taking on too much will burn you out and steal your joy. People love to help out—delegate!” Amy knew she wanted to share photos with quotes from her books on them so she asked her photographer friend for photos and a techy friend to place the quotes on the pictures. This was the result.

Don’t be afraid to ask people and agencies in your community to attend local events.
Although Amy’s book is Christian, she invited nonprofits which were not, and guess what? They came.

Amy’s nonfiction topic related to the entitlement of today’s children and how parents can help their children be more “others-centered” lent itself to her inviting and building the event around eight nonprofit organizations. The nonprofits were happy to come and share what they were about with Amy’s community, and many of them provided the children with hands on things to do. This photo is related to Project Linus.

Don’t Exceed Your Budget
There are many venues in your community that you might be able to use free or pay little for. Check with your church or synagogue. Many of them prefer their buildings be used for community events. Consider bartering, offering to help them set up and tear down for their next event.

Amy can you give us an idea of what this event cost you and how you budgeted for it? Overall what did you spend?
“Prayer was a huge factor –An online group I started called #RiskRejection presented me with a donation of $800.00 to hold the event, and I stuck to that amount, but I used every cent.

“Besides showcasing the nonprofits, face painting, photo taking and snacks, I wanted to hold a drawing in which one of the organizations would win a $100.00 donation, but I ran out of money. So we held a drawing, and instead of a financial prize—I gifted the winning charity with a media promotion I created and will implement for them. Who can’t benefit from online promotion?” 

That is a crazy cool idea Amy, and I loved the scratch off cards you had that each of the guests took to each of the nonprofits table and had scratched off. It was a great way to see that each nonprofit was visited by your guests. Then turning them in and choosing our favorite charity to gift the prize to- brilliant.

Nonfiction titles can easily have themes built around them, but fiction titles could be fun as well. If your book is a Historical, consider dressing in period costume, and preparing snacks relevant to that time period. Check with historical groups in your area and see if they would be willing to present a table about them and what they offer to the community. Ask Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Pioneers or other youth groups if they would provide a type of entertainment for your event.
I hope this interview with Amy has been helpful. 

By the Way: Amazon just put Amy's book on sale today- the print version is  now just $6.17


  • List Price: $13.95
  • Save: $7.78 (56%)
In Stock.

Your turn: If you have published a book, tell about your book launch. We’d love to hear ideas and strategies that worked for both online and local events.


Eddie Jones said...

These are great ideas. Every author should copy this page, paste it into Word and save it for their next book launch.

Linda Glaz said...

Good info. Love to hear about these amazing marketing folks.

Anne Garboczi Evans said...

Really great info. I love your ideas, Amy, and will utilize them when I have my first book launch.

Amy Sullivan said...

Thanks so much for the highlight! One thing I left out of the interview was how much FUN I had with this event. Honestly, it was a fabulous time.

I've heard people usually don't have a big turn out for in-person, book release parties and book signings. However, I was beyond pleased with how this event went.

So thankful for the people God placed in my life to make it happen.

I am certainly interested in what other readers do for book events!

And PS: YES, the book is half off today so if you are considering buying it, today is the day!

Margie Houmes said...

Dear Amy, What an inspiring post. The Word of God has been proven in your passion to live generously. "Give and it shall be given unto you."
To God be the glory! And in your book launch the Son of God was lifted up and many were drawn to Him by your light!
What are you working on NOW?
Love and admiration,
Margie Houmes

Joyce Hart said...

Good post ladies - awesome book launch. I'm going to post it for my clients to look at and tweet it & put it on the Hartline page.

Amy Sullivan said...

Hey Margie,
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm now focusing on a series for tween girls!

lori mcclure said...

I was at the event, and I think one of the biggest reasons it was a success is that Amy didn't make it all about her. She found a way to bring others together for a bigger purpose - to celebrate each other and to focus on living generous lives. I don't know if every book lends itself to that type of camaraderie, but I think that's a real goal to strive for. People like to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Amy Sullivan said...

AGREED! People do want to be a part of something bigger. Thanks so much for reading!

Cindy Sproles said...

I'll be borrowing some of these suggestions. Great job.

Amy Sullivan said...

Thanks, Cindy. Borrow away.

Caryl McAdoo said...

Enjoyed your post, Amy and got some new ideas. You had a wonderful theme to work with. For fiction authors, I'd encourage to come up with a theme from your book such as Amy's generosity - - - I'm thinking myself on what theme I can use. I can see where that gives one a big step up to planning the party.

But I don't have just one. And I don't spend a lot of $$ Maybe I'll try to get it all written down and share :) Thanks for this interview, both of y'all :) and Blessings from Texas!

Amy Sullivan said...

Blessing to you Caryl, as you plan out an idea for yourself!

Erin Unger said...

It's so encouraging to see how Amy's event went. What great ideas for a book launch!

Caroline said...

Great ideas!