You’ve been to other authors’ book launches — think about which ones were the most enjoyable, and why. What did the author talk about? What was the ratio of talking to reading? How aggressively did the author promote sales? How much time was spent on Q&A?

Have you ever been to an author event at which you felt you just had to buy a copy of the book? What made you feel that way?

Here are a few things to consider when planning your launch event:

  • Organize your ideas like you would for a business presentation — have a point of view, present it in an interesting way, know what action you want your audience to take, and be sure to ask for the sale. I worked with presentation coach Betsy Graziani Fasbinder before my book launch; she helped me figure out what I wanted to say as well as providing an evaluation of my presentation skills and specific recommendations for looking both composed and energetic.
  • People want to know the author, so include personal anecdotes about your writing process, some backstory, and perhaps why you wrote the book.
  • Prepare ahead of time for Q&A, especially for any difficult questions you anticipate.
  • The larger the venue, the longer the presentation. In general, aim for 10-20 minutes speaking/reading plus 10-20 minutes for Q&A.
  • Remember that your audience is there because they are interested in you and your book. They want you to succeed. They probably want to buy your book — give them a good reason to do so. Even better, give them a good reason to buy several copies — do you have a special offer for launch week purchases?
  • Practice, practice, practice!

Remember to prepare a list of things to bring to the launch event, so you don’t have to scramble to get them together at the last minute.