Monday, July 30, 2012

How to Prepare for a Facebook Launch Party


Famous author, Diane Rapp has graciously agreed to share her wisdom and experience in launching her latest book, 'Dragon Defense'. This is book three in the 'Howl of the Wolf' series. Here is her story:

Several people who participated in my recent DRAGON DEFENSE launch party asked me to describe what I did to prepare for the party.  Since my science fiction novel was set on another world, I needed to create pictures to introduce people to the planet Drako and my dragons.  The following suggestions apply to any type of book.

One month before the party:

1.               Decide on the “theme” for the party and take pictures of food and drink that might be served at a real launch party.  My food was Tex Mex, so I took photos during a real party I attended.  The people at that party thought it was fun and got interested in attending the FB launch.
2.               Take or find pictures that represent characters or scenes in your book.  I visited Shutterstock.com and bought background pictures, pictures of dragons, a picture of a lizard man, and pictures of pretty girls.

3.               Modify your pictures to fit your book.  I used Photoshop Elements 10 to change the pictures (you can download a 30 day free trial from Adobe).  I deleted backgrounds around my characters, and altered hair, eye color, and added wild colors to the dragon wings.  It took a bit of practice, watching help videos, and trial/error to get it right.  Give yourself plenty of time if you’ve never done photo editing before and save the finished pictures into a file for the party. 



4.               Write descriptions that might go with your pictures and save them into a word processing file for later cut/paste.


5.               Tweet about the upcoming party.  Make friends on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.  Take a genuine interest in what other people are doing and join in conversations.  Everyone who followed me on Twitter or FB was invited to “like” my author’s page and attend the upcoming party.  Some of them did.

Arrange for guest blogs and interviews:

1.               Line up several bloggers willing to post character interviews, reviews, or guest blogs and take time to write these blogs.  I wrote one blog about my writing process, three character interviews, and one blog to announce the launch of the book and invite people to the party.
2.               Get advance reviews of your book by sending volunteers copies well in advance.  The reviews help promote your book during and after the party.

Invite guests to the party on Facebook:

1.               I scheduled my party for a full week.  This was too long as interest waned after the first couple of days.  People still looked at my pictures during the rest of the week but I got fewer comments.
2.               When you schedule an event, you can invite guests on your main FB account.  Click on invite guests and then click on the name of each person to send them an invitation.  Make sure to describe the party in the invitation.
3.               Tell people how to disable the notifications if they don’t want to get constant e-mails.  You may need to tell people again during the party if they complain about too many e-mails.  (Click on the little star at the top right of the page and on the pull down menu click turn off notifications.)
4.               On the day the party starts post a description of the party and the page link on every FB group that you belong to.  Ask people to drop by and have fun.  IF you have a contest going, invite them to enter and tell them how.
5.               Post a blog about your party, contest, and book launch on your own website.  If you’re a member of Goodreads invite people to the party using your Facebook page as an address.  Post your blog on Goodreads too.
6.               Tweet!  Make sure your Facebook page sends tweets every time you post something.  This gets people to drop into the site out of curiosity and some come back.

During the party:

1.               Be prepared to check in on the party often to answer questions and make comments.  Post new pictures periodically (not all at once) with your comments on both your author’s page and the party event page.  I don’t know why the party can’t be run from your author’s page alone but the invites on FB take people to a new party page.  It’s easy to copy and paste.  You’ll get more people looking if you post on both pages.
2.               I changed the banner on my author’s page every day and posted a comment that related to the banner photo.  I also posted the same picture on the party page with the description.  This keeps the party fun and keeps people interested.
3.               Run a word game to keep the party fun.  Using the title of my book DRAGON DEFENSE, I asked people to make as many four letter or more words from the letters.  Since my wolves are modeled after my German Shepherd Dog, I scheduled another game.  I posted my dog breed and the next person had to use the last letter of the name to post another until we ran out of possibilities.  These gave keep people involved.
4.               The pictures I posted were a great success and garnered most comments.  I posted pictures of wine, margaritas, Tex Mex food and pizza.  The pictures of scenes and characters got people talking about the book.  Over a hundred views of each picture occurred, although not everyone made a comment.

Results:

1.               The goal of your launch party is to introduce your book.  Don’t expect hundreds of sales unless you’ve already got people waiting in line to buy them.  I got 1405 views on the Facebook pages during the party.  If the average return was 5 times, 281 different people learned about the book.  It was a good start. 
2.               I sold a few copies of the new book but I also sold my other books.  I held a contest on my website for a poster of my cover and the winner was very happy.  You might get more people to your website by giving away large dollar gift cards.  Set your goals for exposure and follow up next month with other promotions.



Thank you, Diane, This is valuable information that will help countless authors. Thank you so much.

Here's where you can find Diane and her awesome books:






10 comments:

Diane Rapp from Quicksilver Novels said...

Kathleen,

Thanks for posting this guest blog. It was lots of fun running the launch party and I feel it's another good tool for authors to introduce a new book to potential readers. Have fun and enjoy the process.

Carol Bodensteiner said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Diane. I will be doing some sort of social media launch for my next book so I'm watching all these launches with great interest. Good luck with your book!

Linzé Brandon said...

Thank you for the post. It was very informative. I had been one of the visitors, and I could see how your launch progressed based on your planning for the event. Like most events, PLANNING seem to be the best preparation for a successful outcome. All the best with the book sales!

Kenna said...

Thank you for posting this. I was one of the lucky people to attend Diane's launch and it was so much fun. I learned so much just from participating and watching how Diane managed the launch. I had my own launch on www.facebook.com/KennaMcKinnonAuthor with a link to a separate launch page. I think it was quite successful, and will have another one for SpaceHive on August 10th. I'm looking forward to talking to Diane again before that, and perhaps having her participate. She is a wonderful author and a great resource.

JP Lane said...

I attended Diane's launch party also and as the party progressed my first thought was "THIS is the way to go." Second thought was "Why didn't I think of something like this?" Diane has created the model for a fun, interactive launch party and even before seeing this post, I took notes for my next book launch. Thanks for paving the way, Diane!

Gloria Repp said...

Thanks so much for sharing your secrets -- and all the work -- behind your great party. Inspiring!

Diane Rapp from Quicksilver Novels said...

I'm overwhelmed by all the response. Thanks for the kind words. Let me know when you have a FB party and I'll join in the fun.

Cheri Hughey said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am definitely going to try this with my next book, due out around the holidays!

Lily Byrne said...

Thank you so much! I am planning my book launch right now!

Kathleen Patel said...

Good luck with your launch party! Congrats! And another thank you to Diane for sharing her experience : ))