Time for Online Book Launch Parties!


If you’re on Facebook, there’s a very good chance you have attended or at least been invited to an Event by friends or family, or you may have hosted one yourself.  It’s a great way to keep track of who is attending while also allowing them to share the invitation, even if they can’t attend themselves.  From a promotional standpoint, it’s an incredibly valuable way to spread the word about an event beyond which you could have necessarily done alone.

I’ve “attended” an online party or two (I think the last one was for Jamberry), and it offered a remarkably wide array of ways for the host to interact with the attendees.  With that in mind, how can this be applied to your book launch?

  • Interaction with readers!  Regardless of how fast we try to answer emails, Tweets, comments, etc., there is going to be some kind of delay until you are able to compose a reply.  With a scheduled time and duration for an online party, you can reply to questions and comments in real time…you’ve already designated this time to chat!
  • Promotion!  You have a book that is available for purchase, here you can FB inviteprovide direct links to it!  Readers that may just not have “gotten around” to buying it yet are probably more likely to do so when you remind them, supply links and provide…
  • Incentives!  I personally wouldn’t want to offer free copies of the book I’m trying to sell (why give attendees a reason to hold off on buying it in hopes of winning it?), but otherwise, the opportunities are endless: free copies of your other books, Amazon gift cards, fun items like reading-related coffee mugs or tumblers (Amazon makes giving away stuff incredibly easy).  A free idea that is guaranteed to be a hit is offering the chance to have a character named after the winner in the next book.  Be creative with ways attendees can enter: sharing the party info on social media, participating in a discussion, correctly answering questions, etc.

Just as you would prepare for a physical party, you’ll definitely want to prepare for an online party to make it as successful and enjoyable as possible, for both your attendees and you!

  • Pick a day/time that is most convenient for your target audience, make it long enough to allow people two or three timezones apart from you to participate, and emphasize that it’s virtual…if a participant has the Facebook app on his/her phone, they can join in from almost anywhere!
  • Enlist the help of a friend or two to assist with juggling the technical aspects, leaving you free to “mingle” with your guests (if you have enough time, they can help you with a dry run too).
  • Have photos and videos ready in a designated folder for uploading, along with a document containing anything you can copy/paste instead of winging it and typing everything in real time.
  • You wouldn’t show up to a party in your pajama bottoms, right?  Dress as you would if the launch were being held at your favorite bookstore, coffeeshop, etc.  Allow time in advance for hair and makeup, dress to impress!
  • Up the wow factor by sharing pre-recorded videos like a book trailer!
  • Write out a schedule…you don’t want to run through all the bells, whistles, contests, etc. in the first fifteen minutes and have people drop out when they realize that’s it.  Save the biggest announcement or prize drawing for the end, but make sure you assure attendees that everyone who entered has a chance…you don’t want to alienate readers who genuinely couldn’t stay for the entire event.
  • An online party is different in that you don’t have to actively be entertaining every single second (people will be popping in and out), but definitely consider using Facebook Live to at least start and end the party!

Finally, make sure to share and return the love…if you’re invited to a fellow author’s online launch party, make an effort to stop by and participate!

Have you ever used Events on Facebook for promoting your books?  Would you like to?  If you’re not a Facebook fan, what platforms would you prefer to party on?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!