Reflections on running my first book launch
The highs, the lows, a bit of over-excitement and a lot of emotion.
As a reminder to myself for next time and to help others thinking of running a book launch, I have reflected on some of my learnings. I thought writing a book was a learning curve — I had no idea of the scale of the learning I was going to undertake when it came to uploading the book and…running a big launch.
Here are my key musings/actions/ideas for next time:
- It was a genius idea to prerecord the afternoon sessions — I was EXHAUSTED by then and struggling to get words out. Defo a must for next time.
- Get a team on hand in the background to pull out key moments, comment on lives, send out reminders, etc. I hadn’t done this but defo should have lined up my VA or someone to be on hand for the day and just to help send reminders of links etc to guests.
- Leave 30 mins between sessions. I had a lot of back to back sessions or only 15 mins in between and it wasn’t enough to decompress or deal with anything overrunning. Never mind getting food or going to the loo!
- Maybe even get someone involved as a compere to pass you from one guest to the next and get things set up for you.
- Involving Amy Nolan to record the day as a lovely reminder and celebration has been PERFECTION. Defo do this.
- Book the day off after to deal with getting orders together, responding to hundreds of notifications, sending thanks to those involved. I didn’t and it’s been chaos. There have been so many lovely comments and shares of the book and I’ve been struggling to keep on top of them.
- The merch went down wonders especially with being something based on an activity in the book and was a nice addition for those who contributed their story or took the time to be early readers. Everyone loves a sticker! Especially freelancers.
- Remember to actually talk about where people can get the book from! I didn’t in the sessions, but luckily my guests did an amazing job of that for me.
- Create a feeling of community and celebration (not just of the book) so people want to get involved.
- Plan much further ahead than I did (literally days or even hours before) and set some time aside to sort all the live links, interview prompts and set up software.
- Be prepared for tech issues! It seems obvious, but I just thought I’d be okay. Have a backup plan if your internet fails you.
- Stick to what you are good at — this isn’t the time to try something new. I learned this the hard way with one difficult session which I found particularly difficult to deal with as I was shattered by that point. Turns out I’m not a quizmaster and need to stick to drinking wine and having random sweary chats.
- Don’t plan your launch in what you know is your busiest work month of the year. 😆
- Leave plenty of time for the proofing and delivery of your first batch of books. Mine arrived with a huge error from KDP and now I can’t send any out for promo until it’s resolved.
- It’s never too early to start promo — get familiarising yourself with podcasts and press you want to feature in a way in advance and get a feel for the topics they talk about. Start to contact them early (prelaunch) as some have longer lead times, and let them know about launch day so they can see tune in and see how you are in interviews. Then follow up with the straight after whilst you are fresh in their mind.
PS. I did none of this — it has only just come to mind.
- I needed a better promo in the run-up — I didn’t publicise it nearly enough as I was struggling to find the time. Definitely schedule a lot of awareness posts and get people booked in.