Recently I attended a book launch by a local author. For once, it wasn’t my own doing, it was an invite from a friend, which I always appreciate.
Looking back upon many years on the frontlines (in the bookstores), and attending my own fair share of book events over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the “good” book launches. Most of us can agree, not every book event is perfect – this makes me sad, especially already knowing the time and energy it takes for a new book to get published.
I won’t go into all of the details about this recent book event — all I will say is that it was one of the more painful ones I’ve attended. Between the author’s long-winded presentation, the lack of audience engagement, and the four people I saw falling asleep in the crowd, I found myself looking back on the elements of successful book launches. These included:
1. Less is more, a concept worth implementing. The goal of a book event is for people to BUY the book. Reciting every little detail within the book (from front to end) can result in glossy-eyed, sleepy attendees. Attendees who are either so overwhelmed with “TMI” (too much information), or attendees who don’t buy the book due to the book event putting them to sleep.
Instead, use the “carrot” concept. Get potential readers excited about the book by explaining why it was written, what it’s about, and reading writing samples aloud. As experienced at this recent book event, EVERY single detail of the book was overly explained over a period of 1.5 hours, to the point it seemed like an academic lecture . If #s are proof in the pudding, I observed only 2 books getting purchased afterwards.
2. Interact with your reading audience. Do you have visuals for your book? Then bring them! Is there going to be a Q &A session? If not, consider it. How good is the lighting? Will there be coffee and/or snacks available? Will there be a chance for books to be signed afterwards? Do you have your speaking portion perfectly timed (within a reasonable window), so that the rest of your time is spent interacting with the attendees?
Referring back to the bad book event: there was dark lighting (due to an overhead projector that was used AFTER the 1.5 hours the author spoke), no coffee (which may have helped some folks to stay awake), no Q&A session (due to the long-winded lecture), and hardly any time for the author to talk one-on-one with the people who did stay at his book launch. Having witnessed similar situations over the years, the best thing I can say is “don’t do it.” In order to sell a book, readers need to be engaged. Engaging them at the book event can be a successful tool for increasing sales #s.
There’s more I can say, but in the interest of keeping this process simple, we’ll stop here. As usual, definitely comment if you have anything to add! 🙂