Nearly two years into the pandemic, and our lives have shifted, almost entirely, online.
Bookworms shop for books from online stores, instead of perusing every book within the bookshop. Publishers still publish books in different editions, authors still scribble away into ungodly hours. Book launches, too, are now conducted via online platforms. Things as different as they could be, but we’re still finding innovative ways of making them memorable.
Holding the attention of a large audience for more than thirty minutes on an online platform can seem like a daunting task—especially since we know how easily distracting our mobiles and laptops are. And yet, authors have successfully launched their books online, keeping their audience riveted from beginning to end. This post includes some useful tips these authors have shared, across various social media platforms, on how to make your online book launch unforgettable.
01. Choose a Platform You’re Comfortable with
First off, choose a platform which you usually use, and know how to use. This is also likely to be the place where you interact the most with your followers. From Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live to even Zoom, the choices to host your online book launch are endless.
02. Prepare a Slide Show of Visually Appealing Graphics Relevant to Your Book
The event can feel lengthy and monotonous if it was simply an hour of you—or someone else—talking. Adding a bit of visually appealing content can make a huge difference. A small slideshow with some nice graphics detailing your book’s journey can keep your audience hooked.
“… while Kim and I were chatting, Captain Liz screen shared photos and graphics I’d collected as part of my research,” says Carol Newman Cronin, author of Ferry to Cooperation Island, about how she made her own book launch interesting by throwing in a bit of visuals.
03. Engage with the Audience
Every reader loves it when their favorite authors pay them attention. They love it even more when their questions are actually answered—by the authors themselves. They would stick till the end to wait for their much-anticipated answers.
If you’re using Instagram Live or Zoom, the audience can ping live questions at you. But if you’re uncertain about answering live questions, you can always ask your readers to send you their questions a day or two before the actual event.
04. Invite Guest Speakers to Talk about Your Book
If you’ve sent out ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) to selected readers and friends before your book launch, then invite a few of them to comment on your book and to share their thoughts with the audience. This will hype up your existing viewers. Guest speakers will also play an important role in introducing your book to new readers.
05. Read Intriguing Passages from Your Book
In every book launch, the author is expected to read an excerpt of their book. But reading the introduction or the conclusion of your book could either give away too little or too much about your book. So it’s essential that you pick a passage from somewhere around the middle of your book, something that will make your readers want to know what happens next.
06. Have Giveaways
An exciting way to wrap up your virtual book launch event is by giving away some prizes for randomly selected individuals from your audience. It could be a free signed copy of your book, or even a fancy mug or t-shirt or practically anything at all. Readers love souvenirs.
An online book launch can sound daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with most social media platforms. It shouldn’t matter—friends and family are always there to help. Make your own small book launch team who would stick with you from beginning to end, and help make your virtual book launch unforgettable.
If you need help building your author platform, Kelsye Nelson is leading a course called Small Town Writer, Big World Audience on Gutsy Creatives. If you enter the discount code BLOGGISH you’ll get $25 off the cost of the full course. Click here to register.
Best of luck on your publishing journey!
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.