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What an Author Needs to Bring to a Book Launch

Most of the people I work with opt for self-publication. As independently published authors, they are the ones  who organize their own book launch. Recently, The Memoir Network held a successful book launch for the publication of Business Boy to Business Man by Robert Verreault as told to Denis Ledoux. Writing a memoir is a long haul and it is refreshing to have an event to gather friends and family and fans together to acknowledge that an end and a beginning are occurring.

Here are some ideas for what you will need to  bring to a book launch:

  1. A sufficient number of books to sell. It is hard to say what sufficient is. You clearly do not want to run out of books—and so abort sales. So… make a good guess about how many people might show up. I would round that number to the number in the next full box of books. That’s how many book  I would bring to a book launch.
  2. A layout of the books. I will display some of the copies I bring and keep others boxed beneath the sales table. I may even keep some in the car if I have someone who can go out to fetch them during the program. Whatever you don’t sell you can bring back home. I like to bring to a book launch some of my other titles to sell also. You can offer a bundle price. Always set the table with many books as this leaves the audience feeling that they are not buying one of the few books that someone closer to the author ought to be buying.
  3. A cloth or two to spread over the table(s), display stand(s) to place your books against (have several displays even if you only have one title), perhaps a potted plant. I like to cover the front and sides of a table so that the possible mess beneath the table is not visible. I want people to feel comfortable about moving around the table.
  4. The table is where you can create a sign with the price of the book (or your bundle) so that you are not always repeating it. This can be propped against a book on a display stand. You can print this sign out at home, and have it to bring to a book launch.
  5. A supply of pens to sign books and sign checks (people will walk away with pens you provide them to write checks).
  6. A flyer of the book for you to set on chairs. This both acquaints people with the title and gives them something to bring home to either pass on to others or to remind them to buy the book.
  7. Business cards or other printed contact information (other than the flyer). You want people who did not buy to leave with contact info. You also want people to be able to contact you easily. These are easy to forget to bring to a book launch.
  8. A publicity board with copies of reviews of previous books. Minimally: the press release you wrote for this book. I have used tripods to hold the boards and I have also taped or pinned the boards to a wall or curtain.
  9. Sheets for getting peoples names and emails. A clipboard and an attached pen. I like to print these out so that people are cued and can write in a straight line.
  10. A box filled with appropriate paper and coin money. Since many books sell for $XX.95, it is useful to have a lot of nickels. Dollar bills come in handy, too. If your state or province has a sales tax, calculate the change that people will be requesting and have a lot of it on hand.
  11. A Power Point presentation. Bring your own projector if the venue does not have one.
  12. If you have someone to help, you can take credit cards. Today mobile phones are equipped to process credit cards, but you need to procure an app beforehand.

If you can think of something I have forgotten to mention to bring to a book launch, please add it in one of the comments.

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