Things you must bring to your launch:

  • Your speaking notes
  • Your introduction, printed in large type. You’ve probably coordinated ahead of time with whomever will introduce you, but just in case they have a brain lapse and forget to bring the introduction they’re going to read, it’s a good idea to bring your own. Just sayin’.
  • The book you read from (with passages marked)
  • Bottle of water
  • Extra books (in case the store runs out)/contingency supplies
  • Signup sheet for your newsletter (on a clipboard, with a pen attached)
  • Pen or Sharpie for signing
  • Business cards
  • If you aren’t at a bookstore: Sales materials (cash, cash box, receipts, phone or ipad, square for online sales, helper)

Betsy Graziano Fasbinder came up with a whole list of simple things your friends can do to support your book, from “liking” your fan page to writing a review.

I love Betsy’s idea of printing out copies of the flyer “How to Support your Favorite Indie Authors—A Few Tips” and putting one on each chair at your launch event. I’m redistributing Betsy’s content with her permission.

Also nice to have:

  • Poster or banner
  • Food and beverages (plates, napkins, glasses, serving bowls, pitcher, corkscrew, tablecloth, trash bag)
  • AV equipment (for background music or video, slideshow)
  • Swag (bookmarks, pins, giveaway prizes, etc.)
  • Raffle tickets and a hat or bowl

Tip: Decide ahead of time how you’ll sign (Happy Travels, Happy Reading, With warmest wishes, etc.).

Tip: Consider using Post-it notes for names (especially if you are worried that you’ll forget an acquaintance’s name). Have a helper greet each person in line (before they get to you) and write the correct spelling of the person’s name on a Post-it, which is then stuck onto the page you’ll sign. This speeds things up by saving you the trouble of opening each book to the correct page — and the awkwardness of asking how to spell a name you “should” remember.

Next: Announce your launch event and invite everyone you know.