As co-director of a small press publisher, Christmas Press, and its associated imprints, Eagle Books and Second Look, November is a busy month for me. We have three book events scheduled, two being a launch for the same new book on two different days in two different cities and the other being a re-celebration, in a different city, of a book published (and launched) earlier this year. In the weeks and months leading up to the events, I nailed down the details; venues, publicity, making sure authors can come, and ensuring that the books would be available at the various venues. This is easy when it’s being held in a bookshop, as one event is, but not so simple when they are held in other places. It’s certainly not the first time that I’ve run such events, both as publisher and as author, and it’s pleasing to know that they have generally been very successful. It struck me that perhaps WU readers might be interested in some of my tips on planning book events.
If it’s a launch, think carefully. I know most of us authors love a good book launch but not every book needs to be launched—and wearing my publisher hat, I understand why publishers can be reticent about that! For a start, it’s a lot of work, it costs money, and your supporters can get launch fatigue if you do launches too often. Launches are especially good for debut books; for bespoke, collectible books; and for group books, such as anthologies and collections. In each of those three cases you are pretty much guaranteed to get a good crowd, as friends and family flock to the debut author’s event, connoisseurs and special-interest people get fired up over owning their own signed copy of a collectible book, and contributors to anthologies and collections can be relied on to turn up to celebrate their group effort, bringing their own supporters with them. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that other types of book launches don’t work. They certainly can, but you’ll need to put in extra work and imagination if the launch is for say your fifth or tenth or twentieth book—unless of course you are a bestselling author for whom crowds will always come no matter what! [Read more…]