How to plan a successful book launch; Part two

successful book launch: How to plan in COVID-19 era

If you are follower of this publication, then you are certain to observe that this is a sequel to our earlier publication on ‘how to plan a successful book launch’.

As I paid attention to feedback from readers and messages I received via mail and social media, I have carefully designed this publication to be relevant for all persons who may be launching a product or service.

I extrapolate insights from my experience in running book launches for clients to include persons who may be launching their unique businesses.

In the first part we looked at Timing, Guests, Venue, Special offers/giveaway, Choice of MC/auctioneer.

We continue this part with:

  1. Publicity

“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.” John D. Rockefeller was spot on in this assertion. Launching a product is a good thing, so make noise about it and let people know. Besides, it is people who will buy your products, so how do they know such products exist if you do not tell them?

Radio and TV talk shows are great publicity if you can afford it. Write to stations to be invited on their shows and use the opportunity to talk about your project. However, social media is the new ‘ish’. Make maximum use of interactive media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These have a wider reach; posts stay longer and they easily collate feedback.

There’s no harm in trying bloggers and social media influencers to trend your book launch. Ameyaw Debrah, Zion Felix, Kobby Kyei and KalyJay are some popular ones in Ghana. You can let these people stream the launch live on their media platforms for wider coverage. However, if ‘your money no reach’, then you should use your own platform and encourage friends and colleagues to share and repost. Social media is cost-effective, ‘dea wohiaa ne data’; to wit, ‘all you need is Internet data’.

  1. Reader Reviews

Apart from you, let someone else tell your audience why they should read your book – or very importantly, why they need to be at your launch and purchase your book. It is important to engage trustworthy people who have knowledge about the field of your book and whom your audience can trust to give a good review ahead of the launch. If your book is about HR practices, for instance, then you can have an HR expert write a review of it for you. Share these reviews in nice graphical formats on social media to whet the appetite of invited guests. Send manuscripts to reviewers early to make their work effective.

You may have two groups of reviewers; those who actually endorse the book, whose endorsement are captured in the book. You may also have others whose role might be critical as a hype. They may be persons you have invited to be at the launch to speak about the book. The first group can certainly be at the launch as well.

In addition to fliers, these reviews can be expressed in audio and video formats. They can also be transcribed and used as an introduction to your book on digital platforms like Amazon when you consider digital publishing.

  1. Launch team

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” – Helen Keller.

There is no way you can pull off a whole book launch successfully alone. You need people to help you coordinate all activities leading to and at the event; sending out invites, retrieving pledges, facilitating refreshment, entertainment and publicity. You need people to usher at the event, and together these individuals make up the launch team.

  1. Coordination

Setting up your venue properly is very crucial. Imagine there’s ‘dumsor’ in the course of your programme and you have no plan B. You need to make sure all logistics and equipment are arranged and are functioning as they should; the lighting, the sound – and even furniture. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, be sure to follow the one-metre spacing rule, and make sure your guests are comfortable when they need to stand up or move around.

The role of entertainment at events can never be underestimated! Arrange for some music, spoken word, poetry or dance performance. Some guests are probably stressed from work and other engagements. Nonetheless, the soothing voice of Six Strings, the singer and guitarist, is sure to relax and calm their minds so they can concentrate on your event.

  1. Virtual launch

In recent times there has been appreciation for new ways of doing things, especially when it comes to meetings and events; virtual classes, online church services, and many more. It is therefore not out of place to consider virtual book launches. This is also a more cost-effective choice, since you don’t need to ‘book’ a physical place and hire logistics. All you and your audience need is a strong Internet connection and sufficient data bundle.

Yes, it’s a virtual launch – but be sure to send out invitations on time so your guests can prepare adequately (so those who have to climb trees to get Internet connection can spot the right tree). You still need an MC to coordinate the programme, so choose a lively person because online events are more likely to be boring than physical events.

Have adequate information on the people you are inviting, especially when they pledge their support. It will help you follow up on their promise. Also, have details of your bank and mobile money accounts ready so that guests who want to send their support immediately can do so conveniently.

Be sure to share the link to the event early enough, and keep it short! Your guests are using their own Internet bundle, so do not make them consume it all – well, unless you will do a data bundle giveaway as ‘item 13’. Organise entertainment as well. The artistes can join from wherever they are and perform for your audience. They have left everything else to support you, so make it worth their while.

Product launches mainly create awareness of your product’s existence to your target audience. It is one of the major ways you can market your product to make the needed profit, so take it ‘World Cup’.

>>>The writer is a corporate trainer, book publishing consultant and professional ghostwriter 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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