*NOTE: This article was scheduled when we thought the coronavirus would be over. Until it is, of course you should continue social distancing and use Zoom and Skype calls and other alternatives when appropriate. These book launch tips are for later.
You’ve written your memoir and it has finally been readied for publication. Finally comes the day when you hold your book in hand!
A rousing book launch is what’s next.
Business Boy to Business Man by Robert Verreault took several years to write. Mr. Verreault, a successful businessman, decided to give himself the gift of a memoir. Unfortunately, he died before the book was published but his family decided to go ahead and launch the book in style.
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Business Boy to Business Man is a 375-page memoir that was begun four years earlier and then was unfortunately interrupted when its author died leaving Business Boy to Business Man about 90% written. The author’s daughter collaborated with me to finish the manuscript. Had Robert Verreault lived, the book would have been some 50-100 pages longer, but his daughter and I decided we could not continue to write text and brought the story to a close at an appropriate point. She and I worked together for about two years. So…
Book launch tips for a great party!
The book launch party was a lovely experience—one that brought to those of us who were involved in creating the book a strong sense of (forgive the overused term!) closure. Writing a memoir is a long haul and it is refreshing to have an event as one might a wedding or a funeral to gather friends and family and fans together to acknowledge that an end and a beginning are occurring.
Of course, a book launch has an added function of selling books. In this case the family was not as much concerned with selling per se as with doing an event to document they were in the publishing business. This would help them be able to deduct editing and publishing expenses from the assets of the estate.
1. Choose a venue appropriately
The right venue is an important book launch tip.
A local museum, Museum LA, (for Lewiston-Auburn, Maine) which specializes in the work history of the area was delighted to be asked. Business Boy to Business Man is the story of a local man who began a machine shop in 1946. The company grew to employ 175 people in its heyday. So a museum devoted to the work life of the community seemed the right venue for Business Boy to Business Man.
The museum director, Rachel Desgroseilliers, was pleased to be asked to sponsor the event.
This book and launching it into the world is right at the center of our mission statement. We want it. Don’t go looking anywhere else to host your book launch.—Rachel Desgroseilliers
In anticipation of attracting an audience to the launch, we had done a fair amount of publicity. (Don’t overlook this book launch tip.) Robert Verreault’s widow, Cécile, had called many people who she thought would want to come. We had a feature in LA Magazine, a local magazine. A newspaper ran our press release in an arts-and-culture section. We had numerous calendar of events listings. Posters, designed by Museum LA, were all over town.
2. Get set for the book launch rush.
As the 1 o’clock start time approached we waited for our crowd to come—and come they did. About 100 people showed up! It was wonderful. There was a table of books from which we were relieved to see the books disappearing. The family and I (as ghostwriter) were asked to autograph the book. There was also a refreshment table—from which the goods also disappeared.
3. Plan the presentation.
This book launch tip is also crucial: plan the presentation.
The program was divided in four readings, each followed by a brief discussion with the audience. A Verreault granddaughter had created a power point presentation which was showing during the entire program.
In a further article, I will write about aspects of organizing a book launch. Expect great book launch tips. Meanwhile…
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