Topper Jones

What’s a Book Launch Party?

What’s a book launch party? And how do you plan for one? That’s the topic for this week’s newsletter. And timely it is.

This Friday, October 13, 7-9 p.m., The Book Bungalow (St. George Utah’s local independent bookseller) will be hosting a book launch for All that Glisters.

What’s involved in throwing such a party? 

All that Glisters Book Launch Party Flyer

I had no idea. This launch party is for my debut novel, after all.

So, time for a little research. For that I turned to one of my favorite resources for beginning and established authors—Writers Digest magazine.

According to public relations expert Julia Drake (WD, March 2016), when it comes to connecting with your readers, there’s no substitute for an in-person book launch. As she explains:

“Although today’s virtual world allows authors to connect with their audience without ever leaving their house, virtual communication cannot replace the physical experience of sharing your book and knowledge with a room full of real people at a book signing.”

So what does it take for a successful in-person launch? Drake gives 10 tips. I’ve chosen three to share:

  • Picking the Right Venue Is Half the Victory
  • Your Big Moment (The Reading)
  • The Signing

Venue Selection

So you’ve decided to hold a book launch party. The next question is where?

Well, that depends.

If you’re objective is primarily to celebrate the publication of your manuscript with a few friends and family, a local restaurant with a banquet or private room is perfect. That’s what one of my writer friends did. Complete with party favors tied to the theme of the book. Big success!

But if you’re trying to reach new readers, you’re best bet is to go with a commercial location having a proven track record for launch parties. In my case, that meant the local independent bookseller—The Book Bungalow. The owner has a big community presence and is known for hosting and promoting new writers.

The nice thing about booksellers is that they take care of ensuring there are enough books on hand for purchase and signing, provide a venue for the reading including a PA system, and of course, seating for the attendees. Package deal!

Other venue options include the local library, community education centers, college campuses, and writers’ groups. You’ll need to do your homework to find the ideal location for your launch objective. As Drake counsels, the key to victory is: “Do your due diligence.”

The Reading

PR Expert Julia Drake doesn’t mince words when it comes to the Big Moment. For sure, attendees are going to expect you to read a little from your masterpiece. But as Drake says, “no one loves sitting for two hours while you read from your book, your face buried in the pages.” Instead, she suggests keeping the reading portion to 15 minutes or less. The rest of the presentation should focus on you, your background, and what inspired you to write the book.  

When it comes to speechifying, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best: “Be sincere. Be brief. And be seated!”

Book Signing (Bring a Good Pen—Wait, Make that Two!)

Meeting the author in person and getting them to sign a copy of the book is a big part of the book launch event. Be sure to bring a good pen. Especially one that, as Drake warns “doesn’t smear or bleed through the pages.” And practice your signature.

Readers love it when you personalize their copy, so think through beforehand what you want to write. That way you can keep the book-signing line moving.

Will You Join Me?

This Friday evening, October 13th, please join me for a Book Launch Party at Southern Utah’s finest independent bookstore. We’ll be celebrating the release of my debut mystery All that Glisters. There’ll be a short reading, Q&A, a book giveaway, and book signing. And, of course, mysterious treats. More clues on the book giveaway announced at The Launch. 

When:  Friday, October 13, 2023,  7 p.m.—9 p.m.

Where: The Book Bungalow, 94 West Tabernacle Street, St. George, Utah 84770


Hope to see you there.

Further Exploration

To learn more about what it takes to plan an effective book launch party, check out:

10 Tips for a Successful Book Launch by Julia Drake (Mar 2, 2016)

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