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Why you shouldn't throw a book launch party

Throwing a book launch party is a popular way for authors to generate some early buzz and promote their new books. However, if you are a self-publishing author, you may want to reconsider the idea of throwing a lavish party to celebrate the release of your new book. Here’s why:

Why throw a book launch party anyway?

Apart from celebrating your feat of writing, the purpose of a book launch party is to spread the word about your book and gain new readers. The best way to achieve this goal is by getting some kind of media coverage for your launch party—by inviting book reviewers, critics, journalists, agents, bookstore owners, and any other kinds of people that can help advance your writing career. Book launch parties can be held at a public place, such as a bookstore or another venue that is relevant to the theme of your book, in order to make your event more credible.

The reality for self-published authors

However, the reality is that if you are a self-published author, gaining media interest in your book might be difficult. The release of your book probably won’t be considered “newsworthy,” unless you live in a small town or are already a public figure with a following of fans. It’s also very likely that most of the people that will show up to your launch party are friends and family members that already know about your book. If you have gone through crowdfunding to get your book published, they have probably already bought your book when they supported your campaign as well. Keep in mind that you’ll also be responsible for buying all of the copies of your book that you want to sell at the party in advance. If you don’t sell them all, this could leave you in a financial hole.

The main problem is that book launch parties can be very costly. They include expenses like food, the venue, and copies of the book. This cost may not be worth the payout you get in terms of promotion for your book. The time and money that you would have devoted to throwing a launch party may be better spent in other ways. Consider the following alternatives:

Alternatives

Promoting your book is still key. The best way to promote your book is by generating positive word of mouth, since book-buyers trust other readers above anyone else. Given the enormous influence of the web and social media, the best way to generate positive word of mouth today is by building a following of readers and fans online. Using online methods to promote your book is also the most cost-effective way to reach a large number of readers on an international scale.

So instead of hosting a book launch party, host an online book launch party through Facebook or Twitter. Consider offering giveaways to attract guests, and make yourself available to live chat about the book. In addition to conducting a book tour in bookstores, conduct a blog tour. Getting bloggers to review your book is a great way to find new readers.    

Temper your expectations

Nothing we’ve said here is meant to discourage you from throwing a book launch party if that’s something you really want to do and you have the resources to make it happen. After all, the release of your book is an event worthy of celebration, since you’ve likely spent so much time writing it. The launch party gives you an opportunity to present yourself publicly as a published author and to thank everyone who has supported you along the way. Just be sure to temper your expectations about how much your launch party will boost book sales.