Friday, December 26, 2014

Are Book Launch Parties Worth It?

This post was first published here on April 26, 2012.

Left is Sally, a friend I sold my first book to in 2006. Seated
is Bill, an old friend (91 yrs to be exact), then me, Morgan
Mandel, to my right is Rosemary, a grammar school friend.
I'd grown complacent with putting my romantic thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse, on Kindle and other electronic media; but still, whenever I ran into certain friends, inevitably they'd ask when was my book Launch Party.

Well, that proved print books were still in demand, at least in certain circles, so I bit the bullet and got my book published through CreateSpace, not an easy task to accomplish.

I checked the proof when it came in, found some errors to correct, so sent off for another. When everything looked all right with the book, I placed larger orders.

With books in hand, it was time to set up the party. Here's what I did:
  1. Reserved the venue - Arlington Heights Historical Museum - five weeks in advance
  2. Ordered banners, lawn sign, postcards, a promo tee-shirt, plus rack cards from - five weeks in advance
  3. Printed out announcement postcards and mailed them to friends and relatives - A few weeks before
  4. Sent e-mails to other friends and also phone calls - a few weeks before
  5. Sent invite on Facebook - week before
  6. Had the DH reserve the services of the nephew to help carry the books on the launch day - week before
  7. Sent announcement to paper - week before (Should have sent sooner, but forgot)
  8. Sent another reminder on Facebook, which also went on Twitter
  9. Lined up a smattering of my prior books to bring with, plus other promo, along with the new items I'd purchased and serving plates, serving utensils, cups, paper plates, plastic utensils - week before
  10. Got cash box ready, with enough singles, fives, and tens for change - few days before
  11. Put pens in purse for signing, also found Post-its and postcards for those who wanted special autographs, found the sign-in book - few days before
  12. Sent another Facebook reminder - day before
  13. Purchased food, soda, apple juice, ice - day before and day of
  14. Grabbed some different outfits from my closet, couldn't decide which to wear -  day before
  15. Wrote check for rental of the venue - day before, and spoke to manager there again about setup
  16. Wrote note to remember to bring the new books in the other room - day before
  17. Charged up iPhone so I could use its camera - day before
  18. Figured out what to wear and got ready for the signing - day of
  19. Hauled everything over with help of DH and nephew - day of
  20. Started decorating - only half an hour allotted, so I never got to put everything up, even with the DH and nephew helping, because people started coming in
  21. Busy signing and talking, while the DH took in the money, took photos on the iPhone featuring each guest. For each book purchase, the buyer received a raffle ticket.
  22. Held raffle for tee shirt, which featured covers of all four of my books.
  23. Before I knew it, it was 3:30. Distributed some of the leftover food to my brothers while we packed up to get out.
  24. Took leftover food, my serving items and the rest of the books home and unpacked. Fortunately, the book boxes were lighter than before!
  25. Put a photo album on Facebook about the event.
  26. Fell asleep on the couch watching TV - That night
  27. Finally, the next day -  I tried to figure out if I made money or broke even - I seem to be ahead. Sold 30 books, but did expend money to get the author copies printed, the room rental, food expenses, Vistaprint items. The total order amount can't be tallied yet, since one friend broke her hand, ouch, and wants three books later, two friends are on vacation, another couldn't make it, but wants a book.
Was all that work and expense worth it? I say, Yes! I got to see friends and family I hadn't seen in a while. Books were bought. The buzz will go out. Word will get spread.

And, one of the biggest rewards of a Book Launch Party - author validation! It's a heady feeling to know everyone who came there that day wanted to buy my new romantic thriller, Forever Young: Blessing or Curse.

Forever Young: Blessing or Curse is on Kindle or in Print.

Excerpts & buy links for all of Morgan's Books:

Experience the diversity & versatility of Morgan Mandel. Romantic Comedies: Her Handyman & its sequel, A Perfect Angel, or the standalone reality show romance: Girl of My DreamsThriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse. & its Collection Sequel: the Blessing or Curse CollectionRomantic suspense: Killer Career. Mystery: Two Wrongs. Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com Morgan Does Chick Lit.Com


  1. This launch sounds like a lot of fun! And a lot of work - writing does end with The End.

  2. Yes, I did have a lot of fun, but the time went by too fast!

    Morgan Mandel

  3. Hi Morgan,

    I love book launch parties. It's an opportunity for me to meet face to face with readers. At the last one, a fan started talking about one of my characters as if she was a real person. I was so touched!

    The way I figure it, each ripple in the pond is worth it. You never know where those 30 books will end up, who those 30 people might recommend it to, who might have seen the notice in the paper and decided you'd be a good person to talk to their civic group. Roll with it!

    I'm glad you had such a good time at the launch.


  4. Thanks, Morgan, I am entertaining the idea of having a launch party for my next release. Your blog will be of value in planning the event, since you seem to have thought of every detail.

  5. I was worried I might forget something. One thing I should have done was to send out the notice to the paper earlier. It seemed like I had so much time, then all of a sudden, I didn't!

    Morgan Mandel

  6. Thanks for the step-by-step account of how you pulled it off. Wow, a lot of work. You gave me some great ideas. Best of luck with future sales.

  7. Wow, Morgan--that is NOT a small undertaking. Mine won't even be happening for another year and I'm already nervous about it. It sounds like you had a blast, though! Great idea to have someone else take the money and the photos.

  8. I'd be worried in case no-one came!

  9. Sounds great, Morgan. I personally--from this NY/NJ corner of the world--don't see the demand and desire for print books and book events flagging. The opposite perhaps--in a world filled with cyber noise, events like what you put on are true windows of respite and real-time human interaction.

  10. Sounds like fun, my first book launch was done by the publisher and I was just the author, cool and it did bring in a few sales but was held in an out of the way location ( free to the publisher) and didn't recieve the traffic that it could have. It is a lot of work but I agree you never know where the ripple might lead.
    Author of The Cancer Prayer Book

  11. What a great outline of all you did for this party. I've had some great launches and some not so good. My latest was okay, but there was far too much going on our small town where usually nothing much happens.

    What you've written will certainly help others. Thanks, Morgan.

  12. I was even hesitant to put Forever Young: Blessing or Curse in print. Online, it seemed everyone was hyping kindle and electronic media. Offline, friends were asking when my book would be in print, and when I'd have my party. That convinced me to go ahead. I went through my Christmas card list, including relatives and friends, yet somehow I still missed some of them, which is a shame. Even with my invites online, some people didn't see them. Still, all in all, I had a decent showing, plus sales afterwards as well. At my first book launch party, I sold 50 books, but the economy then was so much better in 2006.

    Morgan Mandel

  13. Morgan,
    Thanks for sharing all the details of your launch party. I've often wondered if I'd have one when a new book came out. I see it might be a very good idea. As you said, you get to see friends and family. And it's a validating experience.

  14. Good advice for novices - and suggestions for the rest of us, too! We almost always do a big launch party for each book, but we plan to combine the one for Larry's short story collection, LAKEVIEW PARK, with the release of my new novel, GHOST WRITER, this summer. We usually select a theme related to the book and carry it through with promo materials and decor. (Since our mysteries are set in Hawaii, they were easy. And our first book was set in Japan, so lots of Japanese items. Our anthologies are set in Colorado, so we generally use mountain and snowflake themes.)
    I have some ghost items for mine, but we still need to figure out some items that relate to the park. Any suggestions?

  15. So glad you had a good time Morgan. Selling 30 books is great. I did launch parties in the past, one in the local library, one in my church, and one in my own apartment. As you said it was a lot of fun, although stressful

  16. I think it is always a nice idea to celebrate each new book when it comes out. Gosh, after all the time and hard work that goes into getting the books in print - electronically and in paper - a party is a perfect way to say, "well done." I have always enjoyed my launch parties and plan to have one in November when my next book comes out. I will save some of your tips for organizing. Very helpful.

  17. wow, Morgan that was very involved, but it sounds like it really paid off! Thanks so much for sharing. I think there's a lot to be said about making personal contact like that. I am curious though - how did you come about in choosing the venue?


  18. Since there are so many published authors visiting, and also for you, Morgan, I have a question of etiquette. For more than a decade, I have gone to every book launch I can, to support my author friends. I can no longer purchase all of their books, for financial reasons I have a very large author network), and of course many are not in genres I tend to purchase (I seem to have an inordinate number of friends who write horror, for example, which I do not choose to purchase).

    So my question is, does the author think it "supportive" if someone like me shows up to join in the festivities to launch the book—knowing full well I do not plan to purchase one? Or is that just rude?

    I'd appreciate all answers. I've always gone, as I do wish them well, and care for them, and understand that this is a milestone to celebrate. But I can see the opposite point as well.

  19. Steph wanted to know how I chose the venue. My first book launch party was at a small book store, which unfortunately is no longer in business. I didn't have to pay room rental, but did have to pay a commission for books sold.

    Since then, I've done my parties at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum. I get a discount for being a member, it's easy to get to, is clean, has a small kitchen with microwave, refrigerator and water, bathroom facilities, tables, chairs, and is large enough to hold quite a bit of people. It also happens to be where my local RWA chapter holds its meetings.

    Morgan Mandel

  20. Kathryn poses a difficult question. My answer is it depends on the author. If it's a close friend or a first time author in
    my RWA group, I'd show up and buy it, unless it's a hard cover.

    I'd probably not go to a book launch party for someone I'm not close to, because it's kind of understood you'll buy the book if you show up at a book launch party.

    For an acquaintance, if the book were offered at a reasonably small price on kindle, I might go to the book launch and download it, even if I'm not that interested, just to show support.

    Morgan Mandel

  21. I've enjoyed my book launch parties too, for the reasons you mention. I've had mine at a local bookstore, so there's no rental fee to worry about. That helps! Glad you had a good time at yours!

  22. This sounds very much like my experience with the one book launch party I held. I ended up spending more money than I took in, but it was so much fun!

    Will I do it again? Not as a book launch, but I might host party just to get all my friends together.

  23. It's a shame there aren't many independent, small bookstores left.

    Morgan Mandel

  24. Great information, Morgan. I didn't have one with Little Shepherd. Not sure what I'll do for A Christmas Kindness coming out this fall. Maybe it would be good to consider this.

  25. I wish I found your blog before I helped launch my husband's book party for his book 'Nephilim The Remnants'.
    I agree with you about hosting a book launch party - it is worth it we ended up selling 30+ books and had several more purchases due to other poeople posting stuff on Facebook about the event.


  26. For a first time author, how many personal contacts you have makes a difference in how many people will show up, help promote, etc. The genre popularity, where you choose to hold the event, etc. all add to the success as well. I am a huge fan of the group book event where several authors get together to promote their book events. It makes it more fun. It takes pressure off of people browsing the tables when you are not sitting there alone watching them browse!


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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