Writing Tip: Virtual Book Launches

One thing newly published authors often don't do--making me wonder if they know about theme--are virtual book launches. I'm not talking about doing it virtually only because of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, lots of publishers or authors had them. In fact, not having one could leave you at a disadvantage in spreading the word and/or gaining sales. I often sell a nice chunk in one day to mostly friends, family, and some fans during these launches. The important part of the book launch is that these groups of people share and spread the info. In turn, many people they know will also learn about your book. 

Sales and exposure are key, so how do you do a book launch online? Facebook has been a friendly venue for me. I was instructed to have my first book launch by my former publisher for an anthology. We made it a great group effort with lots of people popping in all day since it was an anthology of novellas by 8 authors. I asked fellow, more experienced, authors what to put in a book launch. They were all too happy to help and we attended each other's timeframes. If was a fun experience. For my first full-length novel, I did it myself getting more confident. This publisher did not do a giveaway, however, which I learned later is key in getting people to come. Despite not having a giveaway, it was my first "real" book so my friends and family were very supportive and attended. Nowadays, my new publisher throws them for me, making it much easier on my end. Regardless, having the experience of doing it myself made me learn how most indie authors must do to promote.

So what goes into a book launch? It can vary, but the ones I've attended and had myself had these key components (not in any particular order):

  • about the author
  • book synopsis
  • 1-3 intriguing short excerpts from the book 
  • 1-2 games to play for a chance to win a free book
  • Live reading of book (part or a full chapter)
  • lots of visuals and pictures
  • (if budget allows) other prizes or fellow author's novels to giveaway 
The time and length of the book launch is up to you, but I've seen good attendance in the evening, on a weekend, spread over a few hours to allow people to pop in when they'd like. That sounds pretty time consuming, but you can do the same--just check in now and then and be involved. The way to do this is to spend a chunk of time planning posts and scheduling them on Facebook via your author page. Once it is set up, they will release so you don't need to spend the day staring at the computer. I have two warnings. One, read Facebook's polices for giveaways/contests. They are easy to find on a quick internet search. There are a few rules you should abide by and material you should post about the contest. Two, make sure you use copyright free photos or artwork. You cannot use a fellow artist's work without permission because it is unethical and illegal. I like pexels (a website photographers post copyright free photos) but there are many websites out there like it.

Hope this overview helps. Some additional tips to make you virtual book launch memorable should also be incorporated. Shoot me some questions if you want me to get into more detail with any part of a launch.