As I write this in April 2020, the world is just starting to accept that we are dealing with a major international health crisis which will leave very few people untouched and could continue for some time. There have so far been over 114,000 deaths and over 1.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 spread over 151 countries. It’s a worrying, anxious time for many people, especially those in high-risk categories. We wish you all the best, and hope that your lives remain as normal as possible.
People have been affected in many ways. One effect the social isolation has had for authors is not being able to hold a physical book launch with people gathered together. But this does not mean you have to skip a launch – you can move it online. Who knows? You may even reach a bigger audience this way as you are no longer confined to you local area.
If you’re considering or planning an online launch, we’ve put together some information on this page to help you.
Webinar with publishing guru Michael Hanrahan and digital guru Doyle Buehler
In this video you’ll get some great tips from Michael Hanrahan and Doyle Buehler. First, Michael will look at why you should have a book launch and common mistakes people make, and then Doyle will examine how to prepare a digital book launch, including the apps you should be using, how to prepare for and promote the launch, and how to get the most out of it. (It’s got so much great info in it that it’s a little over one hour long.)
How to plan and execute a virtual book launch
Jaqui Lane from The Book Adviser has been involved in a number of online book launches. In this comprehensive blog, she looks at what an online book launch looks like, platform options, planning and timeframes, preparing for the launch and much more.
Things to know before you launch your book
Authors often tie themselves in knots trying to decide how to launch their book. I’m here to solve this for you – read on.
What do I do?
I hear this question all the time: ‘What do I do for a book launch?’ The answer is simple: anything you want! My father was a writer so I’ve been around books my whole life, and I’ve seen it all when it comes to launches. When I was kid we had a book launch in our lounge room. I’ve been to intimate book launches in restaurants and launches with 400 people in conference centres. I’ve been to book launches at bookshops, libraries, conferences, universities, photography studios, art galleries, pubs – you get the idea.
Of course, you can’t do those things while we’re all on lockdown, but just be aware that there are really no standard requirements for a launch. The launch marks the release of your book into the world. Usually you’ll have a guest say a few words about how awesome you are and how hard you’ve worked on the book, and then you can say a few words. There is really no official way to ‘launch’ a book. Just do whatever works for you.
Planning your launch
It’s vital to plan your launch well and think carefully about why you are having it. If it’s a party for friends and family, make it that; if it’s a business event, run it accordingly and have a goal for how it will benefit your business. Either is fine – just don’t confuse the two.
This is one of the main reasons to have a launch – because it’s fun! Put the business side of things away for a little while and enjoy the event. It’s a great achievement to have written and published a book, so invite your friends and family and have everybody pop a bottle of champagne. You’ve earned it.
As well as being a celebration, a launch is a great way to generate interest in your book. You can send out a media release promoting your launch. You can even turn it into an event: if you’ve written a cookbook, do a cooking demonstration online. If you’ve written a book about architecture, give people a virtual tour of a heritage building.
Selling your book
The launch is also a great chance to sell books. With an online launch, ask everybody to log into their favourite bookstore on their phone and everybody can purchase your book at once.
You will most likely be tempted to give copies to your close family and friends, and this is fine, but in publishing it’s a bit of a tradition that friends and family buy copies from you to help support your writing and publishing venture.
When should I launch my book?
Giving some thought to the publication date of your book is also important. Is it possible for you to find a date that will be relevant to your book that could help you gain publicity? For example:
- If your book is a guide to building a shed that might make a great father’s day gift, release it a few weeks before father’s day.
- If your book is full of holiday activities for kids, release it just before the school holidays start.
- If your book covers learning to surf, release it at the start of summer; if it’s about learning to ski, release it at the start of winter.
Keep in mind that you need to give people time to buy the book, so if it’s a good father’s day book, don’t release it on father’s day but a few weeks before. And of course if you’re launching your book while we’re on lockdown, think carefully how this could impact your planned launch date.