Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How to Host a Book Launch Party

How to Host a Book Launch Party
 by Suzanne Cordatos

I had the recent pleasure of attending the book launch party of my writing friend—and fellow 4RV author—Kristine Carlson Asselin. In a suburb of Boston, Kris launched her first picture book, Worst Case of Pasketti-it is. It was a great time and a huge success. You can pull off a great book launch, too!
An easy jog off a major highway, Kris held her party in the welcoming community room of a local library. 80 people attended, including curious walk-in library patrons!

Who to Invite?
Invite people most likely to tell others about your book: family, friends, librarians, teachers, reporters. Invite a photo buff to send pics to author’s website, blog, Facebook fan page, local papers. Kids added zing to Kris’ author Q & A time.
Make it a Party!
Kris used an online invitation service called “evite” to get the word out. Balloons and a large poster of the book cover welcomed guests outside the front door. Inside, more balloons and entertaining activities were quick attention-grabbers.

"Be sure to include family and friends in the planning of your party,” advises Kris. “They are excited for you and will often push you to be more "out there" than you would on your own. I'm sometimes embarrassed to "sell" myself, but my family and good friends aren't shy about it at all!"

Kris put family members to work at various stations:

Welcome table
Greet people personally. A welcome poster and sign-in list near the door helps add walk-ins to your mailing list. Have a stack of business cards, bookmarks or postcards printed with book cover design and easy order information.

Activities for kids
Kris’ main character loves pasta, so she had a fun guessing contest: How many pieces of macaroni in the jar? Offer a prize because hey, who doesn’t like a goody bag? Have crayons handy and coloring pages made of your characters. Relate a craft to your book. Kris had colorful yarn and pasta shapes for necklaces.

Kris had a beautiful cake courtesy of her parents for the launch. At regular book events, you might want to offer simple candy, store-bought cookies or pretzels.

Book Buying
Assign a family member or friend to manage ongoing sales for you throughout the event. Make it easy for people to order books after the event by tucking a business card or bookmark with information in every copy sold. Extra cards on the table help guests purchase books later if they are not prepared at your event with cash.

Entertainment: YOU
This part can be intimidating, but authors who want to sell books have to put themselves out there. An ongoing slideshow of art from her book kept guests entertained until the presentation. Kris read the story along with a slide presentation of her adorable book. To prepare Kris says, “Be sure to practice reading your excerpt aloud a few times. Add inflection and pauses to make the read interesting. And be sure to project so that everyone in the room can hear you." Include time for Q&A for guests to ask about the story’s origins, getting published, etc.
Kris Asselin and Jessica Cordatos
Book Signing table
Kris invited everyone to stay for cake and crafts. And, of course, she signed books with a beaming smile for as long as people wanted her to!  More information about author Kris Carlson Asselin:
Director, SCBWI New England Regional Conference
May 2-4, 2014 in Springfield, Massachusetts
Web: ~ Twitter: @nescbwi ~ Email:
Find me on Twitter @KristineAsselin
Find me on Facebook:
Visit my website:


  1. excellent info, Suzanne. Thanks. I did something similar on my debut novel, Victoria and the Ghost, but you have some good ideas I hope to use next time. (hopefully, there'll be one) Good job, Kris.

  2. Sounds like a successful launch, Kris, and a good way to present the "how to," Suzanne.

    1. Thank you, Vivian! I'm looking forward to the day I can host my own launch party!

  3. Thanks all, and thanks to Suzanne for coming and writing about it!

    1. My pleasure. Writers make such a wonderful, interesting community of people!

  4. Great advice. I did much the same for my launch for A Shadow in the Past in my hometown. The only thing I didn't have was refreshments.
    When I have my Scottish launch next month, I've asked the person in charge of renting the hall about tea/coffee afterwards and I'll pick up cookies or squares or something. That way, folks can mingle informally, and get to know one another and I can visit one on one with those who wish to stay on.
    Now do I take my tartan covered guestbook (originally bought for our 25th wedding anniversary celebration in Scotland) or my A Shadow in the Past notebook that I used at my launch last year?

    1. Do you have a tartan blanket you could use as a tablecloth and then use the "A Shadow in the Past" notebook?

      Sounds great--good luck!

    2. Thanks Suzanne :-)

      I do have a tartan blanket and use it at all my local events. Trying to travel light but I could sacrifice some clothing to make room for it. What can I say, any excuse to get a little shopping in. LOL!

  5. Great information! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I love this post!

    It helps take the scary out a book launch party; simple, easy-to-follow steps and wonderful ideas.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Kristi Rhodes