By Chris Pepple, Writer-At-Large, Southern Writers Magazine
I was recently invited to a book launch in Nashville, Tenn. I was excited to go because I know people who work at the nonprofit that was benefiting from the event and because I still have friends in Nashville that I could visit. I didn’t do much research beforehand, assuming this event would be much like other book launches I have attended. I was wrong. This event ranks as one of the best book launches I have been to or even read about.
The author, Jennifer Clinger, was releasing her first book, a memoir titled Delivered:The Fragmented Memories of a Former Streetwalker. A first book is so hard to launch successfully. Sure, you have people who you know that will buy a copy. To be successful, however, you have to market your book to people who have no idea who you are.
So, here’s what made the launch amazing:
- A team of people helped the author plan the event. Volunteers who know the author used their talents to bring new ideas to the evening. A team approach is also useful because each team member can invite a unique set of guests to the event. Invitations can go out to several communities just through the planners.
- A logo was designed for the event that was eye-catching and could be used on social media posts. The logo helps brand the event and make all posts consistent.
- David Hutchens, a storytelling consultant, helped the author select the passages to read. A consultant can help the author know which passages will give insight into the book without revealing too much. The audience needs to be left with the desire to buy the book so they can finish the story.
- A wonderful group, The Bittersweets, played their music between each reading. They chose songs with lyrics that related to the experiences of the author. The music engaged the diverse age group at the event.
- A nonprofit group received the proceeds from the event. This association with Thistle Farms drew in an even larger audience than an author could do alone. The organization’s CEO even introduced the author.
- A press release was sent to many different media groups, and bloggers like me were invited to join in the festivities.
The event was a winning evening for everyone. I met a new author and was entertained by a great band. The author got her story out to a very diverse group of people. We all left with something to talk about, which will allow the book to keep getting publicity.
Take note, authors! A book launch for a first book can be hugely successful with the right approach.