When I knew my first book was nearing its publication date, I made a decision to host a party to celebrate publishing a book rather than a traditional reading. A very small part of my motivation might have been my reluctance to talk to book stores about my first book without the ability to offer numerous reviews, but I could have gotten around that by doing the reading at a bar or coffee shop. I wanted to celebrate the achievement with my friends. For me, it was about the book, but the focus was on the accomplishment. The result was a great time, but I did learn a few lessons.
Booktrope author of Zues is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, Michael G Munz
We rented a room at a restaurant sight unseen. It turned out pretty well, but I didn't realize it wasn't wheel chair accessible until fifteen minutes before go time. The room was long and narrow and it made it a little difficult to walk around and socialize, but it worked out.
Order Lots of Books
I had forty people scheduled to attend, and we had about that many people pass through the event. Twenty books was not enough and I sold out quickly. It's a great problem to have, but there were a few more sales that could have been had if there were more books on hand. It was also a good thing my husband and I went into this expecting to spend way more than we could possibly generate in sales.
An Open Tab Means Less or No Profit
We decided to host the party at a restaurant that is known for catering to people with allergies. They specialize in Italian food and we decided to order primarily pizza, salads, and sides. We went into it knowing that we would spend far more than we would make, but we wanted a party.
If you want to make a profit, hold your launch in a bar or coffee shop and do not open a tab. The tab will get you more attendees - which is good! - but it will eat into your profit margin until there is none.
Bring Migraine Meds
Bring all the medications, actually. Publishing a book is very stressful even if it is exciting, and stress can trigger health issues. There's also Murphy's Law to consider. If you bring your medications, you probably won't need them.
Next time I will host a traditional reading, but I have zero regrets about this party. It was a tremendously good time and it was so great to see my friends. The amount of support everyone offered was amazing and I left feeling inspired to keep going. It was a truly wonderful experience.
Have you attended or hosted a launch party? What did you like or not like about the event?