A couple of weeks before the launch of my debut book, Relic Defender: Key of Solomon with Samhain Publishing in March 2011, I was having lunch with a close friend who asked me if I was going to have a book launch for my book.
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I remember looking at her with perplexity because, before then, I hadn’t even considered doing any kind of launch. Sure, I had thought about marketing and promo, but that revolved around seeking out sources of free and low cost methods. Besides, why would I need a book launch when I wasn’t going to have an actual book? I know what you are thinking and luckily, I got there too.
Over the next couple of days, I thought about her question. Soon the thinking became researching which then became the idea that, why shouldn’t I have an online book launch? As the Internet gave me a few ideas but not a lot of information, I quickly realized I was just going to have to come up with something on my own. So I did.
So, what is a Virtual Book Launch Party? The short answer is whatever you want it to be. The longer is it’s just like a book launch party (or book release party), but instead of having a physical party (at a bookstore with an actual book) the party is online.
The first thing I did was create a site for the release of my book. I used Wordpress.com as I’ve used it before. If you have a website, you could create a page just for your launch party. I thought about doing that with my author site, but decided I wanted a site fully focused on my release.
What should you put on the site? Content should not only draw in readers but entertain them. Not make the site all about “Buy my Book”.
For the posts, I pre-wrote and scheduled one for each day. The first day was all about the launch. The remaining days were about the stories behind the story. Things like sharing the mythology behind the creation of my world. We writers do a lot of research and it was fun to expand on what I had used in my story. Another friend mentioned a site where the author posted deleted scenes. Since I loved that idea so much, and had the scenes, I posted them too.
For party favors (or door prizes), I came up with a schedule beginning the day the book released. Each day, I gave something away and the choices here are also limited by your imagination. And your budget. Some favors you can offer are downloads of your release and gift certificates to the publisher or a bookstore. You can build some partnerships with other authors. One party favor was another author’s books, and she helped my launch by putting a post about my book and launch on her site. As I’m a romance author, I also gave away chocolate (yes, we love our chocolate), but you can do other gifts. Another idea is to have some sort of grand prize on the last day.
And last, once you have your site set up and ready to go, then it’s time to announce your launch party. If you are like me, you are on more than one loop or author group, so utilize those sources. If you have time, visit your friends’ blogs and share the news (make sure you link back to their site).
Was my Virtual Book Launch Party a success? I certainly think so. I’ve met new people, gathered some blog followers, had fun revisiting my story’s past and chatting with commenter’s. Best of all, my release hit number 4 on Samhain’s Best Seller list within the first 5 days of my book launch!
When my next book is out, I’ll do this again. It took valuable writing time and energy but reaped far more than it took. So, next time you have a release, why not have a party – a Virtual Book Launch party?