Hosting a Digital Book Launch
By Marina Reis
As you have likely already noticed, we here at Word Alive Press are big into authors promoting their books with the world at large. Whether this is through a blog, regular social media posts, or getting out and networking with your readers and peers, promoting your book is the best way to get people to know about it!
Usually, the first thing that an author does to promote his or her book when it is hot off the press is to host none other than a book launch. Typically held at your local bookstore, community centre or church luncheon room, a book launch is a tried and tested way to introduce your book to family, friends, and anyone else who supports your writing journey.
At this point, you are either consciously or subconsciously thinking, “This all sounds well and good, and as soon as bookstores re-open and we can stand within six feet of one another—"
But hold on. What if you don’t have to wait?
Have you ever considered introducing your book to the world with a digital book launch?
Don’t worry, a digital book launch is not nearly as complicated as you might think—in fact it is in some ways, much simpler than having a physical book launch, and usually more cost-effective too! Strangely, the topic of a digital book launch was something that Word Alive Press wanted to blog about before we entered this odd time in human history, but now it seems like an even better time to let you know about it.
A digital book launch is a way to introduce your book to readers on the Internet. It can be done using your favourite social media platform, such as Facebook or Twitter. It’s the best way to launch
your eBook, but also a great way to launch your physical book as well.
First, if you’ve never experienced a digital book launch, I recommend doing a bit of research. You’re reading this blog, so that is a start. I also recommend browsing around your peer networking circle and seeing if one of them is holding (or has held) a digital book launch that you can take inspiration from. See what you like and what you don’t; what will work for your book and your audience and what will not.
I recommend planning your digital book launch a month before you want to hold the event. Book your date and start sending out e-vites to friends, family, readers, clients, colleagues, and peers. Try producing a cohesive look, or theme, for your book launch. For example, use the same font as your cover for your e-vites, create an attractive Facebook or Twitter banner that matches the cover of your book. Don’t forget to specially invite anyone who has already endorsed your book, or written your foreword. And whenever possible, encourage them to share the event with their circles.
You may also want to invite bloggers and media personnel too. I recommend sending these outlets a media kit, or a press release, so that they have some insight into the type of book you have written and how that relates to their own audience.
Take this month to promote (promote, promote, and PROMOTE) your digital launch. This is the best and most generous part of social media: you can do all this for free or for a reasonable cost. Ask around your writer friends as well if you can further promote your launch by doing a guest post on their blog, for instance.
Hold your book launch on a reasonable day and time. A weekend day is good and, if you’re trying to reach an international readership at all, try holding your launch at a time when those readers are likely to be able to engage as well. How long you want to hold this launch is also up to you. Two to three hours is a good length that allows for peak engagement.
A significant part of the planning process is making sure that you fill the time you will be spending hosting your digital book launch with enough activities to keep your virtual attendees entertained. Things like games, contests, formal interviews, informal question and answer time, and even a livestream reading of a small section of your book are some great ideas. If you are afraid you will run out of content, ask friends and peers beforehand to help with this and maybe even join in at some point during the launch. It is best to over plan so that there is no awkward lull in your launch. Keep it as animated as you would if your audience were literally standing in front of you.
As your digital book launch takes place, give your readership access to you. This will establish your reputation as an authority in your field. Share what inspired you to write your book, share details on your writing process, or even provide intel into other projects that you are working on, all topics that your attendees will care to know.
A great way to end your digital book launch is with giveaways of course. I like the idea of something related to your book, like a free signed hardcover copy, or a mug or a tote bag with your book’s cover. Other universally liked items like Starbucks gift cards or chocolate baskets will find favour with your crowd too!
End your digital launch by thanking everyone for coming and supporting this venture of yours. Keep these people posted on your book’s progress the weeks following your launch, keeping them informed on such news as if you will be doing any interviews, keeping up your blog and social media posts, and linking to any articles written about you or your book.
Remember to enjoy not only the hours of the digital launch, but the time that you take planning your digital launch as well. If this is something new for you, use it also as a learning experience. What you learn with this experience you can take with you when it’s time to promote your second book after all.
About this Contributor:
Marina Reis is a Project Manager at Word Alive Press. She graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.