Written by A Guest Author

Not Your Typical Book Launch

By Kathryn Haueisen

Anyone who’s published a book knows the hard promotional work starts even before typing “The End” on the last page of the manuscript. Ideally, marketing the book starts months before the book is published. One major item on that “to do” list is planning a book launch, or ideally a series of book launch events. Book launches are birth announcement for the arrival of a new book. Many authors use the tried-and-true Facebook or Instagram live approach to shout out the good news. I’ve found additional ways to promote and launch books.

  • Get acquainted with your nearest Indie bookstore, but not to schedule a traditional book-signing event. Rather, develop a long-lasting partnership in which you help each other. Get to know them as a customer before asking them to help promote your book. Help them help you. To support my local book store I bought a gift card for myself at the start of the pandemic. I knew I’d buy more books and I realized they were really struggling to create a pandemic business model. This paid off when Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures was released in the middle of the pandemic. The owner set up a live interview with me and invited her customers to watch it. We have deal whereby they call me in to sign books for customers who want autographed books. The owner has re-ordered my book several times and called me numerous times to autograph them.
  • Befriend a librarian. Several of the closest libraries to me flooded in Houston in Hurricane Harvey in 2017. When they finally reopened, I delivered platters of cookies and congratulations notes. Since I’ve gotten to know several librarians, they invite me to speak at events and recommend me to other librarians in other cities. One of the first events I did after my latest book was published was for a librarian in Boston, via Zoom.
  • I do a lot of writing in coffee shops. When my book Asunder was published, I approached the owner of a local one-of-a-kind coffee shop about doing a book event at her shop. She loved the idea. We gave coupons for a dollar discount on a beverage to anyone who stopped by to talk with me.
  • I get my hair cut at a small salon. The owner eagerly agreed to host a book launch event. One stylist bought a copy of my book as a gift for a client she knew was going through a rough time.
  • I was browsing through an antique mall with my daughter and on the way out noticed a postcard advertising an event coming up in a couple of months. I suggested they do an event based on my new book and they agreed it would be something unique. The day of the event the owner thanked me repeatedly for arranging it. A staff woman took a photo of us together, which I posted on social media and he posted on their website.
  • Join forces. It is more fun and less stressful to ask another author to do a book launch together at yet another friend’s home.
  • Our Houston area Kroger grocery stores have a program in which authors schedule a time to sell books in stores. Authors select the date and which store they want.

I’ve also gone to book fairs and am signed up for another one now that COVID has slowed down in my area. However, I’ve found that it difficult to sell enough books at such a events to offset the cost of setting up at one. The majority of people who come to book fairs seem to be other authors looking to sell their own work rather than readers looking for their next must-read book. By focusing on places where readers shop, read, relax, tend to the routine details of everyday life, I am more likely to reach readers. Even if I don’t sell many books, I’m getting my name and my books more recognition without spending much money to do so.

Get to know the people who manage the places you go often. It costs nothing to ask if they’d consider hosting a book launch event. They will probably be grateful for suggesting a new way to attract more customers. It can’t hurt to ask, and it might help sell more books.

Kathryn Haueisen is an author, speaker and retired pastor. She combines her Journalism and Master of Divinity degrees to write about good people doing great things in the global village.  She’s published six books and dozens of articles in print and on-line publications. Follow her at www.howwisethen.com.



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