Book Launches and Talks: Some Author Tips
By Harriet Hodgson
Book marketing is easy for some authors. Other authors see marketing as a threatening experience. Just the thought of standing in front of a group makes these authors sweat. They wish they were home, sitting at the computer, and cranking out copy.
There’s another problem with book launches and talks and it’s control. Despite input, an author doesn’t have control everything–things like the date, lead-time, publicity, a poor audio system, and technical failures. Background noise can also detract from an appearance.
I enjoy speaking and looked forward to speaking to a local organization. The organization had agreed to host a book launch for me. The event seemed to be well-publicized: emails to community groups, notices in the newspaper, and on a large sign in front of the building.
And I did my part. I paid a graphic designer to create a poster for my books, made handouts, autographed books, and put “autographed copy” stickers on the covers. So far so good. Minutes before the launch was to begin, my contact person told me only six people had come to a previous event. Oh my.
Actually, I suspected this might happen. There were no cars in front of the building and nobody came early. When things go wrong, an author has two options–act down and defeated, or interact with those who came. I chose the second option and sold three books.
Although I’m an experienced author. I learned several things from this experience. My observations may help you to market your book or books.
- Check the community calendar. Before you schedule a book launch or talk, scope out your competition. The local newspaper is a good source of information. Television stations also announce community events.
- Help with publicity. A publicity plan that looks good on paper or in an email may not be the best plan. Offer to help with publicity if you’re concerned about it. I thought about doing this, but didn’t follow through.
- Prepare for a large group and a small. The moment I realized only a few people were coming to the event I switched to my small group talk. It went over well, After listening to a story I told, one person said it had the makings of another book.
- Don’t take things personally. Experiences like this come with the writing territory. Several days after the book launch I spoke to a service group and got rave reviews. This was a nice balance to the book launch experience.
- Change your strategy. I wanted to help and support the organization that hosted the book launch, so I agreed to speak there again. The same thing happened and only six people came. One attendee said the publicity had been awful. “Usually we have 60 people here,” he declared. I don’t think I will speak there again.
Book launches and talks are lots of work. I write self-help books. If I reach one person I feel like I’ve been successful and this idea keeps me going. My advice is to do your best, no matter what the circumstances, and make yourself proud.
Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 37 years and is the author of 34 books. Her latest releases are Happy Again: Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss,” “The Family Caregiver’s Guide,” and “Affirmations for Family Caregivers.” The third book in her caregiver series, “A Journal for Family Caregivers,” was released in March of 2016. Visit her website and learn more about this author, grandmother, and caregiver.