An important part of the marketing campaign for my first novel is the launch party. Without a track record or an established reputation as an author, I need to make the release of this book an event to be remembered, a LAUNCH in every sense of the word. It's not just a celebration, it's a marketing kickoff that will have an impact on long-term book sales. In this post, I'll detail the things I'm doing to prepare for the party. My next post on Dec. 15th will be a post-mortem on what worked and what didn't at the party, scheduled for Dec. 13th.
First of all, who to invite? For me, the more the merrier. I am mailing out about 100 invitations to family and friends, and will get an invite to every home in my ward. I'll leverage Facebook, blogs and email lists to get the word out as far and as deep as possible. It all starts right here -- YOU are invited!
Next, the venue. Can't hold it at my house (too small) or at the church (against Church policy). I don't want to impose upon relatives who have big houses, and I'm operating on a budget here, so hotels and restaurants are out. Eventually, the perfect place was found--a nearby city park with an "indoor pavilion", a 2,000 square foot room with a fireplace, round tables, folding chairs, restrooms and kitchen facilities. We were able to rent this place from 5pm-10pm for about $60.
It looks big and empty now, but on the night of the party it will be filled with gorgeous holiday decor, music, and food. I've had two 20"x30" posters of the book cover made (best deal is at Costco - $8.99 each), one to go behind my signing table and one by the buffet table. There will be several Christmas trees, and one of them will be covered with promotional bookmarks (nextdayflyers.com will make you 1,000 full color glossy bookmarks on cardstock for about $60) using ornament hangers.
What about food? Unless you are independently wealthy, expect your book to be a New York Times bestseller, or expect a small crowd, feeding everyone dinner is probably not an option. We're planning to serve various hors d'oeuvres and treats as light refreshments. The party is open-house, so people can have dinner before or after they stop by.
We want to make it fun. There will be some nice door prizes we will award every 30 minutes, giving people some incentive to hang around and enjoy each other's company. The story and cover of The Rogue Shop involve formal wear, so I will be in a full tuxedo and my family will be in matching red, white, and black semi-formals. Everyone else can come as they are, we're not enforcing the theme! We found some cute little tux and bow tie favor bags at Zurchers, and the table coverings and balloons will all match nicely (my wife is in charge of this, so it is guaranteed to be nice).
How many books to have on hand? A hard question, and no matter which number I choose, I'm bound to either run out of stock halfway through the party, or wind up with a big pile of unsold books. We opted for cautious optimism with 100 books. If we run out, I have an "I'm sorry" flyer with instructions on how to order the book that includes a drawing for those who buy it elsewhere within 72 hours. Other handouts include an intro to my "WOMBAT" marketing program and a "For Your Consideration" flyer linking to the Whitney Awards website.
Will it all come together like I dream it will? Meet me back here on the 15th and I'll have a complete rundown. Meanwhile, if you'll excuse me, I need to go get fitted for my tux.
The Rogue Shop - A Book Release Celebration
Monday, December 13, 2010 6-9pm Open House
500 E. 8680 S. Sandy Utah
5 WOMBAT points for attending party, 1 point per adult guest you bring up to 5 more.