The Ultimate Guide to a Stellar Book Launch Party: 6 Key Steps for Success

POSTED ON Jul 19, 2023

Nick Gray

Written by Nick Gray

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Finishing your book is an occasion worth celebrating, and what better way to honor the written word than by hosting a book launch party? 

While the term “book launch party” may conjure up images of stuffy, formal events, there's also an opportunity to infuse it with a dash of the casual cocktail party. 

In this article, we'll share some book launch ideas and steps that strike the perfect balance between semi-formal and relaxed, creating an atmosphere that captivates both literary enthusiasts and everyday readers.

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Step 1: Know When to Host Your Book Launch Party

First, plan to host your book launch party the night after your actual book launch or book relaunch day. Most people choose to do a launch on a Tuesday, so you should host your party on Wednesday. 

There are a few reasons for this strategy.

After you launch your book, you will hear from a lot of random people who will reach out to you. They will send you congratulations on LinkedIn or Facebook.

When you host your party the day after your launch then you can invite those people to your party. So you should plan to leave 10-15 extra spots available for any last-minute invitations. 

The next reason to host your book launch party the day after your online launch is that you will be too busy marketing your book during your launch day. You don't want to have to deal with a lot of stress. Allow your launch day to be for interviews and social media posts and big announcements.

Picking a Wednesday night aligns with what I mentioned in my book, The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. It is not a socially-competitive day. More people are likely to be available to RSVP and you will receive fewer last-minute cancellations due to schedule conflicts.

Step 2: Ask Attendees to Purchase Your Book Beforehand

You should ask all of the attendees to your book launch party to please purchase a copy.

Guests should be willing to show you a receipt when they show up. 

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to make this ask. Your friends want to support you and getting these first sales might be very important to you.

Send them the link to purchase your book in all of your reminder messages.

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Step 3: Send 3 Reminder Messages

Sending party reminders are important because they generate excitement for your party, keep your book launch party top-of-mind, and ensure high attendance.

Send this sequence of reminder messages to your guests:

  • Seven days before: Send out a short reminder that includes logistical info plus a fun, light-hearted image attachment.
  • Three days before: This is my favorite. Send another reminder which includes a brief biographical note about many of your guests. I call these your Guest Bios. This message takes the most time to create but has the potential to be the single greatest hook to ensure excitement and solid attendance.
  • Morning of the party: Send a final reminder, Include any logistical information–like your address and phone number–clearly up top.

Step 4: Request Reviews

Another tactic you can use is to ask for your attendees to write you Amazon book reviews during the book launch party. 

You can have books available to read at the event and set aside a few minutes where everyone can write a review for you.

Step 5: Host a Practice Party

Don't wait until your actual book launch party to host your first event for your friends or network. 

Host a practice party one to two months beforehand so that you can build up your network and practice hosting an event. 

When you do this you will feel more comfortable at your official book launch party and have a better chance of success. You will also have had more time to build up your list of people so you have a full attendee list for your launch. 

Step 6: Use Name Tags (but First Names Only)

Name tags make it nearly impossible for guests to forget each other’s names. This reduces potential embarrassment. I’m not great with names myself, so I rely on name tags heavily as a host.

When your guests start to arrive, your number one priority is to warmly welcome them into your home. Your number two priority is to give them a name tag. That’s how important this step is.

Here are the best practices when it comes to giving your guests their name tags:

  • Write first names only. Their first name is faster to write and easier to read.
  • Use large, capital letters. Write names with a black marker. Your priority is legibility at a distance, not penmanship.

Conclusion

Hosting a successful book launch party doesn’t have to be hard. When you do a few of these key things, you’ll make it a success:

  • Host the book launch party the day after your actual book launch
  • Ask people to purchase beforehand
  • During the party, ask for reviews
  • Use name tags for everyone
  • Host a practice party a month prior

About the author: 

Nick Gray is an entrepreneur and author living in Austin, Texas. He started and sold two successful companies: Flight Display Systems and Museum Hack. Nick is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, a step-by-step handbook that teaches you how to build big relationships by hosting small gatherings. Over 75,000 people have watched his TEDx talk about why he hates most museums. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Magazine called him a host of “culturally significant parties.” Visit his websites at www.nickgray.net and www.party.pro or find him on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

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