I once had a client who wrote a book set in the 1970s. To launch the book, she found a store that was all about the ‘70s. She then convinced them to host her book launch party. If you plan on holding an in-person (or even hybrid) launch event, your venue can add a lot to the experience your attendees have, as well as affect how much publicity you may get from your event.
Selection Criteria for Your Book Launch Party Venue
You want to select a location that draws in and engages your ideal readers. Here are some criteria that you should consider when scouting for book launch party locations.
- The venue should add value in some way to the event. Does it relate to your book or book topic in some way? For example, the ‘70s store for a novel set in the 1970s. I launched my Public Speaking Super Powers at a Toastmasters club meeting.
- Can you create a win-win for the owner of the venue? In other words, will your launch add value to the venue, as well? For example, you can include the venue in your marketing plan and work out ways to draw people to the venue in general, not just for your party.
- The logistics need to work for you, the venue owner, and the attendees. That means the date and time need to work. That means there needs to be sufficient and convenient parking. That means the venue needs to be able to support any technology, hospitality, and audience size your event requires. For example, would it have been cool to launch Public Speaking Super Powers at a comics shop? Yes, but most are too small, don’t have enough parking, and don’t serve the target audience of the book.
The Benefits of the Traditional Bookstore Launch
A bookstore is an obvious choice for a book launch party and one that many authors make. Of course, it makes sense … a book launch party is supposed to jump-start book sales, so why not hold it in a place that people buy books? The benefits of hosting a launch party at a bookstore include:
- Ease of sales — they sell books, so they can sell yours
- Literary credibility — bookstores are for readers, including yours
- Better media attention — an established bookseller lends credibility to your launch
- Piggyback on bookstore promotional resources — event calendars, posters around the store, website, email newsletter, etc.
Stepping Out of the Box and Into Your Readers’ Imagination
Beyond the bookstore, you can not only add your book to your readers’ bookshelf, but also increase brand awareness, and engage your readers (and potential readers) on a level that an ordinary venue is unable to do. Here are some ideas to get your own imagination going:
Like a bookstore, a library lends literary credibility to a book launch party. You can also add a fundraiser for the library to the event, which could improve press coverage and attendance. This venue works great if you plan to do a reading, and especially well if you are a local author.
A nice home, yours, or someone else’s
Depending on how large the home is, the launch party could be an intimate or large affair. Either way, holding the party in a home gives an air of coziness or intimacy, that holding it in a retail establishment doesn’t. Also, the event can be more exclusive. If your home doesn’t work, perhaps you have a friend who has a nice home you can use. If that isn’t an option, Airbnb is a good place to start researching for unique, homey venues. You can also hire someone who scouts locations professionally, but that will add to the cost.
A thematic location in alignment with your book
Like my client finding a 1970s shop, you could find a venue that has something in common with your book. For example:
- A winery wine bar for a novel that has a wine theme or backdrop
- A comic-book store for a history of superheroes
- A gift shop for a book about gift-giving
- A toy shop for a fantasy about toys that come to life
- A zoo for a book about animals
- A yacht club or boating store for a nautical tale
- A sporting goods store for a book about baseball players
- An art museum for a book about fine art or whose protagonist is an artist
- A science center for a novel about a trip to the stars
What kind of venue would accent or complement your book’s theme?
Holding your book launch party at a non-traditional venue adds an “ooo-ahhh” factor that can increase attendance, increase press coverage, and add cross-promotions that benefit both you and your host venue.
And ponder this, as well, all the above ideas can be applied to a virtual book launch party, as well. When promoting your book, think outside the norm and you might be surprised at how many more books you can sell!
Note: This post was originally published on CarmaSpence.com in June 2021. It has been updated for content.