How to plan a successful book launch; part one

Attracting buyers with compelling cover and in-text designs
Samuel Agyeman-Prempeh

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island, says Walt Disney. However, as an author, after wringing out this treasure from the engines of your brain, what next? Launching it! Launching is when you outdoor your book and create awareness on it to initiate sales.

Regardless, a book launch is not meant for selling your book only; it is a means of generating publicity and interest among readers and critics about the newly released book and the author. Book launches benefit the author in several ways.

To begin with, they help create an author brand. Most of the successful authors around the world think beyond just writing and releasing books every year; they think about creating a brand and establishing themselves as the best in their field of writing.

Holding a successful book launch takes you a step closer to creating a brand. Once people become aware of your existence, they expect more from you – which gives you a reason to exceed their expectations by writing more.

In addition, book launches boost sales. People who attend your book launch are certainly going to talk about it. This will directly help in boosting the sales of your book.

Although my message is primarily designed for authors and aspiring authors, event organisers, entrepreneurs and persons who launch or are planning to launch a product or service will find the pointes relevant. I share five thoughts in this material:

  • Timing

Scheduling your book launch at a time that suits your audience and the purpose of the book is very crucial. People are busy attending to their work and other engagements during the day, so it is prudent to schedule your book launch in the evening or on the weekend so that as many people as you can think of can attend. A book launch on a weekday afternoon is a terrible idea – unless, of course, it’s a public holiday.

Do not keep people too long at your event; two (2) or three (3) hours are ideal durations for a book launch. You may also want to launch your book at the beginning or end of the month when most salaried workers have just received their pay. Consider the time of year or season as well. Some books will sell more at a particular period of the year, such as Christmas, Easter and other celebrations. A book on customer service, for instance, is likely to sell more when launched during the customer service week celebration, which is between October 4th-8th.

  • Guests

These are the people you invite to your book launch. The contents or genre of your book should inform you of the kind of guests you invite. A Christian devotional launch should have more Christians attending. Likewise, a book on Human Resource (HR) should have more HR practitioners and students in the field attending. These people can buy and recommend your book to others.

You should consider inviting some high-profile guests or dignitaries to grace your launch. These people lend some kind of credibility and subtle endorsement to your book. A respectable man of God, a member of parliament, a minister, a professor, board chair, among others, are perfect examples of guests depending on the genre of your book. These guests should be invited ahead of time; preferably a month before the launch date.

It is proper to send regular reminders so your guests do not miss your date. Inasmuch as you want VIPs at your event, it will be expedient on your part to invite people you have a relationship with. It is easier for them to promote you and your book than people who barely know you.

  • Venue

You should consider your guests and the field of your book when choosing a venue for your launch. You don’t want to host your VIPs in a primary school classroom. Hence, consider a hotel, university auditorium, an event centre like the Accra International Conference Centre, or wherever suits the status of your guests.

Also, the content of your book counts here. An academic book will possibly do best on a university campus, a Christian book in a church auditorium. You may want to use places that provide a holistic service, including power plants  (in case of a power outage), sound and lighting systems and food. Some may argue that hotel prices are fixed and some services are expensive. In this case, you can use individual providers of those services where you can negotiate for a suitable amount.

However, it all depends on your preference and budget. Venues by the roadside are usually suitable because they are convenient for guests using public transport. African Regent Hotel and Airport View Hotel, for instance, are both convenient locations because commuters can easily access them as they are situated by the roadside and close to public bus stops. Also, ensure that your location has disability-friendly facilities.

  • Special offers or giveaways

Your book will be auctioned and people will bid high amounts – far more than the price of the book. To appreciate them for their generosity, you can go the extra mile for their benevolence by giving them something more than just the book. You can print the books to be auctioned differently. This means you can print hardcover, use brown paper where white has been used for the book, among others.

You can also give gift packages like fuel coupons, shopping vouchers, chocolates, designed mugs and many more. Be sure to provide some refreshment for your guests as well. If you cannot afford food, the least you can offer is some snacks and water, just something to show gratitude to your guests for making time for your event or bidding generously.

  • Choice of MC/Auctioneer

Your Master of Ceremony (MC) can make or unmake your event. They are those who hold the programme together and coordinate all the processes. The MC should have foreknowledge of the book’s contents because s/he will introduce it to your audience. The MC should also know the profile of your VIPs; hence, if possible, show them pictures so they can identify and acknowledge them when they arrive.

You can employ the services of professional MCs like Kafui Dey and Jerry Adjorlolo, who are two of Ghana’s finest professional corporate MCs. In terms of auctioning, you can use a fundraising expert or an auctioneer whose profile is higher than that of the MC. The auctioneer should have an idea of your financial target for the day so they know what amount to quote.

>>>the writer is a corporate trainer, book publishing consultant and professional ghost-writer assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. You can contact the author via: [email protected]


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