One casualty of the pandemic in the publishing world, the book launch party, is sure to return. The only question is not “when,” but why”?
The vast majority, and I mean like 99.5%, of book launch parties, are not
profitable nor worthy of media attention. They can be big ego boosters and
serve as fodder for social media posts, which is fine, but they are often
events that do little to make the book a success.
Book launch parties, at one time, were more important than they are today. There were fewer book launches years ago and the authors were more accomplished, holding sometimes elaborate parties in cool settings.
Big-time publishers would enlist their society friends, stable of best-selling authors, and Hollywood royalty to fill a room. It was a setting for the powerful to remind themselves of their place in the world. Whispered seductions over drinks between adults having affairs could even be sealing future publishing deals.
I haven’t been to a good book launch party in a decade. Today, there are 1.6 million new books released in a year, including some 370,000 from traditional publishers. Just as anyone can publish a book today, anyone with a pocketbook can throw a party.
For all authors, a book launch party is a celebration of an accomplishment, where friends, family, colleagues, and supporters gather to honor the momentous occasion of seeing a book’s first day of sales. It is seen as the culminating moment when ideas, sweat, and passions materialize into a concrete product, when a dream turns real.
But the truth is, in today’s world of advance pre-sales and pre-pub buzz, the real moment a launch should be celebrated was four months prior to your book’s scheduled release date. When you launch your book marketing that is the day you need support, resources, and praise.
Authors should hold a book launch event if they:
* Are somebody — and you know who you are — or believe you are a good pretender.
* Can afford to throw a party with no presents to offset costs.
* Have a fat ego that needs to be stroked.
* Need a setting to get great video and strong visual images for social media.
* Believe they can get media to attend.
* Are able to secure a celebrity or famous expert to attend and draw a crowd.
* Can have a strong streaming component.
* Can get a sucker — I mean sponsor — to underwrite the costs.
* Are launching a book that merely serves as a calling card to draw attention
for a more expensive product or service with a potentially big pay-off.
For most authors, think high school graduation house party more than a Bar Mitzvah or wedding-sized party. Celebrate the joy of publication and get the word out for your book, Just don’t blow your whole marketing budget so Uncle Jack or cousin Nancy can have a meal on you.
Still, though I rail against these parties for authors, I wouldn’t mind attending one now. Heck, I would attend a birthday party for a two-year-old! Anything to get out of the house snd circulate with people again. I need an excuse to step out of my sweatpants and to stop seeing jeans and a clean T-shirt as dress-up threads.
The pandemic has helped the book industry rewrite how books get launched and it is not a lesson to be ignored that book launch parties are not needed, though desired by some. We should throw a party to celebrate the end of these often expensive gatherings that in the end do very little to determine an author’s success.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.
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