by Dana Lynn Smith
Recently a publisher asked me, “How do you stage an in-person book launch with a novel that’s published as an e-book?”
Virtually all the strategies and tactics that work for marketing print books also work for marketing e-books, although some modifications may be necessary.
Here are some suggestions for doing a live book-launch event for an e-book.
● Plan the event much as you would any other book-launch party, although you will probably need to hold it in someplace other than a bookstore.
Try to use a venue with a tie-in to the book. For instance, you might select a sporting goods store for a collection of stories about fishing, a travel agency or a pet store for a guide to traveling with pets, a museum for a novel about art, or a toy store for a book about kids or for kids.
Offer refreshments and perhaps some form of entertainment. For creative ideas about events to promote books no matter what their format, see “Better Than Bookstore Signings: Party On” by Tolly Moseley via Independent Articles at ibpa-online.org.
● Do a presentation based on the book’s content, not just a signing with the author sitting behind a table.
A nonfiction author can speak on a book’s topic or conduct an activity related to the topic. A novelist can do a presentation based on some aspect of a book’s story or do a short reading. A children’s book author can read the book aloud, speak on the topic of the book, and engage kids in activities. All authors can talk about writing and publishing and take questions from the audience.
● Print lots of bookmarks and give several to each attendee so everyone can pass them along to others. If you print your bookmarks with uncoated paper on the back side, authors of e-books can provide autographs by signing them on the back.
● Consider having the author “autograph” Kindle e-books by using KindleGraph (kindlegraph.com) to send personalized inscriptions and signatures to attendees’ Kindles.
● Encourage attendees to bring their e-book reading devices to the event. Then they can download the e-book on the spot. You might provide a laptop computer people can use to order the e-book if they don’t have their devices with them, but you’ll need to make certain that each person logs out of the Amazon or other e-bookstore account they used.
● If your e-book is available on the NOOK store, see whether you can arrange an event at a Barnes & Noble store. Last year B&N announced that it was going to offer autographing services for NOOK Color devices, but it’s hard to find any details. Maybe the manager of the nearest B&N can give you information on autographing.
Remember that it’s important to promote all events heavily. My suggestions include:
● Send press releases to local media.
● Send emails or e-vites to your mailing lists and the author’s lists.
● Send emails, e-vites, and/or postcards to lists of local contacts.
● Post announcements on publishers’ and authors’ blogs and social media accounts.
● Give posters, press releases, and other promotional materials to the manager at the event venue.
● Ask everybody you contact to help spread the word.
● When the publisher, author, and venue manager work together to promote the event, the potential for a great turnout is increased.
Dana Lynn Smith is a book-marketing coach with 17 years of publishing experience. Her book-marketing guidebooks and author training programs, including the Ultimate Book Marketing Plan Workshop, are available at SavvyBookMarketer.com.