Last weekend, I had my first book launch party. Yes, it was a little late in coming since my book had been available in both ebook and print since January/February 2011, but you know, I think holding off to celebrate was a good thing both sales- and celebration-wise. Let me explain why.
First of all, waiting allowed my illustrator, who is also my brother, more time to draw some additional original pieces to have in the art gallery show we held along with the book signing.
Second, waiting allowed my brother, the wine-tasting venue owner (where we held the launch party), and me more opportunities to promote the party and build hype for it.
Third, waiting allowed more readers the opportunity to read the book before the party date, which ended up making them want to come to the party even more because they enjoyed the book and really wanted our autographs. Instead of a launch for some author and her illustrator, an event they weren’t sure was worth their time and energy to attend, it was a party for an author whose book they liked and a chance to have the illustrator sign their book, too.
But I’ve gone off on a tangent. Back to the point of this post—co-promotion.
As I mentioned, there were three of us promoting for the book launch party: me, my illustrator/brother, and the wine-tasting room owner. Did we each have friends and fans show up? Yes, we did. Over 125 fans/friends made it there to celebrate with us. Did fans of mine buy wine and my brother’s art? Yes, they did. And I benefitted as well, in return. In fact, I would estimate that 70 percent of my book sales at the party were to my brother’s fans/friends and the wine-tasting room owner’s customers. My group of fans had the book already and were there to support me in person, which was wonderful, but doesn’t always guarantee book sales. Through the power of co-promotion and the sharing of fans, we all benefitted. By the end of the day, I had just five books left in my stock—over 60 books were sold. In addition, I made a bunch of new fans who now know all about the second book in my series, which is available currently as an ebook, with the print version to come in July. In other words, I had a lot of opportunity to sell my next book to new readers. Excellent!
Some key things to keep in mind about working together with a venue to co-promote a book launch party:
1. Make sure your products all mesh well. The art my brother chose to bring to the venue went well with my book. The wine went well, too, and it made everyone a little more relaxed and happy.
2. On your promotional materials, make sure you represent all parties involved. Make it clear to the potential attendee all of the great things that he/she will find and receive if they show up to help celebrate.
3. Make sure the potential attendees understand they are more than welcome to bring friends, family members, ex-lovers, and neighbors with them. The more the merrier. “Open to the public” was our motto. A lot of people will come to parties if they can bring someone they know and are comfortable hanging with.
4. Advertise free food and cheap drinks—we offered wine tasting for $5/person and had fun snacks to munch on—which were big draws. Have plenty on hand. (Note: We also allowed kids and dogs to the venue. Kids could come since it was only a wine tasting room and not a full bar, which solved any babysitting snafus. Several dogs showed up, too, which was fun!).
So, the next time you have a book launch party to plan, think outside of the box and share the fun with other artists and entrepreneurs. Co-promotion is a wonderful way to sell books!