The Author Launch Party Plan for Anchored Hearts –
Part 1 of 4 -Where Do YOU Begin?
Welcome to the first in a four-part series about how I designed and planned a successful launch party for Anchored Hearts. Okay, well it hasn’t happened yet but I’m claiming total success.
That party is one month away as of today and I am having so much fun (and some GOOD stress) and I wanted to share my process with you so you too can have fun, cut down on bad stress and be successful at your own event, whether that’s to release a book, product or anything really. If at any time you would like ideas or to pose specific questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at Teegarner@aol.com and if anything here was helpful to you, be sure to leave a comment.
So let’s get started – some of this may seem redundant and I know, I know you’ve read some of it before on other sites, but keep reading as I go a little deeper behind the scenes and take time to tell you the WHY of my thoughts/tasks.
WHY throw a launch party? Don’t you hate that question? Isn’t it obvious? Uh, because I want to! Is that not reason enough? Okay if you must here’s my real response to WHY have a party (it really is because I want to, though). J
To celebrate my success – writing ain’t easy but it is fun/rewarding
To alert others of the availability of the new book and sell/autograph some
To share with the media – if they come, great, if they don’t, send them a picture with descriptions and information immediately following the event – Yes, you can still get a mention/coverage after the fact, sadly that’s the way it’s working now anyway.
1. THEME SELECTION
The thing that is so important (to me at least) about trying to develop/having a theme is that it’s simply something for you to work around/toward. For me, theme includes color scheme, décor ideas, centerpieces, end result – it can also include words and a tag line. But, if a theme is hard for you to come up with at all, don’t worry about the words so much as ensuring that the visual/tangibles fit into an overall vibe you’re striving for.
To come up with a theme, I asked myself what do I desire to occur on behalf of my guest? When they come, I want them to leave, saying WOW.
So, central to all my events is for my guests to feel:
- A luxe feeling (even if I didn’t spend a fortune, no one has to know but me. Delight is in the details and time, care and attention go along way). People will notice the effort (or they’ll notice that there was little effort).
- A take-home offering (parting gift) – I ALWAYS have favors, they are my thing. It’s usually edible but I also prefer USABLE things that people will keep. Printing things on wrappers that people will throw away (I’m so sorry) annoy me to no end. What a waste of your hard earned dollars.
- A feeling of satisfaction (for the guests) for you, it should be about feeling a sense of accomplishment. For the guests: (e.g. food is up to par/tasty, lighting, being able to hear the entire program, flowing smoothly, good entertainment, ability for audience to engage/interact and little details go along way).
- Without a theme, you’ll have a harder time deciding and narrowing down what should be included in your party. You will be all over the place because everything you see, you will force yourself to utilize even if it doesn’t fit. Use your Pinterest board to corral ALL the posts you can stand. You can narrow them down to what you will actually do, later.
What happens when you don’t have a theme?
- You buy a mishmash of things that don’t “go together”
- You have too many ideas and no clear direction
- You waste money and time (because you will have to take things back that don’t fit and you may miss the return deadline doing so)
You can come across to others like you’re frazzled and all over the place
My theme overall:
- Using the colors from my book (blue and silver)
- Décor for the table will be simple with fresh flowers/little lamps – I actually am putting a ticket under one chair per table and whomever get’s that ticket, takes home something special (this also lets me have a set number of gifts based on number of tables).
- Favors boxes with candy
- I’m having a raffle and have three nice gifts that include a Pashmina scarf and some gourmet foodie items/chocolate is always a good choice and maybe a gift card
2. Develop a CHECKLIST with TIMELINE/ASSIGNED TO NAME
This is super easy – choose your date and work backwards outlining everything you have to do. Also if you can, assign specific tasks and delegate to your team.
3. GATHER INSPIRATION FROM OTHERS TO DESIGN YOUR CONTENT
I mentioned that your Pinterest page can help you gathering ideas for what you would like to do. Whether you have a structured event, or just a meet/greet/sign books, it’s fine no matter what. Do what’s right for you. The more you do at the event, the more you have to do to prep for the event. There is so much information already out there, take some time to look at all the ideas. Here’s some YouTube Resources that should inspire you too.
I’ll have a post, perhaps Part 3 of this blog that will talk about conceptualizing and filling the content of my launch party.
I remember that when I first started planning the launch (and really events in general), there weren’t lots of blogs, YouTube and other online things that showed people what to do step by step. Instead there were some that reviewed the actual event, more as a promo and that’s great, but few places that I could find that showed more of the lead up/planning part of their event. BUT I’ve found just a few here and the the list is growing. Search often as obviously more and more people are uploading things everyday.
Remember that even if it’s not about the book launch per se, there’s still good information and ideas there and the ideas is what it’s all about.
*Events In Review
Girl Online Launch Party – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqNLnwYMdlw
Donnal Jarett’s Your Not My Mommy Book Launch Party – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRwNG2jjN4g
Okay, this one is here just for the eye candy. 🙂 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyZf1u2roHo
Sherria L. Grubbs Book Launch Party https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SIjNiIa47Y
Upgrade How to Host a Book Launch Party for the Huffington Post (Rana Florida) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gqmBHomnkU
Life After College Book Launch Party Presented by NY Creative Interns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLgMYT13-Ak
How to Throw a Book Release Party from Writer.ly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NNbxagfXVE
*I do not personally know any of the authors above, nor does listing mean that I am endorsing any one person or products.
4. CREATE the INVITATION and INVITE LIST
You can’t start your invitation list early enough. Even when you start listing, you’ll be surprised how many people you think of (and later how many you didn’t). You also have family in the area and your Mom/Dad/SO’s friends/family that will expect an invitation too!
Invite the Public or Not? – While my event isn’t open to the public, anyone can come if they find out word of mouth, but I’m NOT broadcasting the event for the masses to attend and I’m not discouraging people that aren’t necessarily people that I didn’t personally reach out to, either. I have taken the time to invite select local people from the media -whether I did some research and got their name from a friend or mentioned the event briefly in a press release.
You would think that I would discuss budget first because depending on the number of people you have, you have to know your budget. And this is true. But budgets annoy me and I’d rather get the number and have a cut off date for RSVP’s than to stress about whether or not I’m going over my capacity. It’s up to you to do what you feel is important but it’s also up to you to know what/how many you/your venue can handle. I do have that number (both for attendance and money to be spent) in mind, BUT it has wiggle room and that’s what I’m striving for.
I have also read somewhere that if you want 50 people to attend, you have to invite 4 x that. I’m not sure that’s true but I did use the rule loosely. There are people in that final number that I’m striving to get close to, that I know are NOT coming and that’s okay. The invitation, remember, serves as part announcement too, so send it out.
I also did about 100 printed invitations and looking back on this, I would have done less, but the majority of people got an invitation through my Constant Contact announcement.
For the invitation, I saw two online that I liked here (see graphic)
I found this invitation (pictured below) online and could not find the link again. Here’s a thought, be CERTAIN that your name, web address appears ON the invitation. I could be promoting this person again and again or their product if ONLY I knew who they were. Cute invitation though, right? Maybe they don’t want us to know who they are and maybe it was a private event. 🙂
and here: http://www.heatherrigney.com/ – Scroll down to the August 5 or May 28 posts
Put those finds on your Pinterest page or be sure to bookmark them for future reference. The other important note is that if you hire a Graphic Artist, you want to GIVE them something to show the vibe you are going for. For them, visual aides are key to help them craft something just for you/your tastes.
5. IDENTIFY and CORRAL YOUR TEAM
We all need help. So rather than exhaust yourself trying to do it all, identify the best people to help you and ask them early on. One important note, one of my team members is NEVER on time but when they get there, they are great. I love them dearly, but what I ensure is that whatever assignment I give them, either is only needed toward the end of the event or that I have a backup plan. KNOW YOUR PEOPLE, People.
TEAM TASK EXAMPLES
- Greeters / Registration (if there is just a check-in of some sort) – Having someone to welcome people and ask questions and to direct them can mean the difference between smooth running event and people annoyed because they felt ignored or didn’t know where to go.
- Set up/Clean Up Crew
- Sound Technician – they would simply help with the mic/and know how to cue up my Book Trailer, etc. (this can be the hotel people too, but they are not at your beck and call per se, so it’s nice to have someone to help you personally or designate that person to work with the hotel)
- Book-signing Set up Table / Décor Assistance
Cashier? – Don’t know what to call this person but they will understand how to use the Square (to process payments with CC’s on my Smart Phone) and could handle that while I’m chatting, and signing books
Back up – just one or two floaters to fill in as needed.
I sent a nice note to these people asking for their assistance and outlining what I need and what I felt they could help me with. Don’t assume that ALL your friends are coming to your party, they likely are but some might have a conflict so it’s important to ask them as soon as you have your date.
- Overall, this group of helpers isn’t more than 5-6 people strong and some can do more than one thing depending on what you need and depending on the time.
To look a little more “official”, I asked an acquaintance that owns an event planning company if she would serve as “host” for my event. I talk more about using someone like this in the BUDGET post that I discuss in Part 2 of this series. It will be up in a couple of weeks.
So, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your launch party. It should be fun, NOT a headache and with proper planning, it can be an awesome and rewarding undertaking.
I wish you the best! Send me a photo from your book/author launch party with a little helpful caption to share your ideas and I will post them on my FB page.