My Journey to self-publishing: how to organize a successful Book Launch with less than $200
The majority of authors organize the Book Launch Party before publishing but I didn't follow this path. After publishing in the end of January I started to go to events (in my case mainly travel related) in San Francisco to meet new people and give out my business card. I connected with so many people and got them excited about my book. After a couple of months I decided it was time to organize an event to present 2 YEARS 4 MONTHS 2 HOURS. At that point I knew I could put together a good number of people. I also involved two great organizations to spread the word (Travel Massive and Expat Woman), being a regular participant at their events it wasn't hard to get the organizers excited about my Book Launch and they were more than happy to help. So make sure you NETWORK a lot before organizing your event.
First 4 things to consider:
Day & Time - Thursday is the new Friday (plus people always have plans for the week end), the ideal time is after work from 6:30pm to 8:30ppm
Venue - easy to reach with public transportation and car (if you want a private party prices vary depending on the venue, for less than $200 you have to keep the party open)
Food and Beverage - people are happier to come to your event if they pay a cheap price for drinks and you offer something to eat (little appetizers are ok)
Budget - decide an amount that you want to invest for the event
Once you have these 4 things in mind you can play around them. It's not easy to organize an event by yourself so try to involve a good friend that read your book and loved it, 2 brains are better than 1. You will both enjoy exchanging ideas and you will get excited in the process. Rosa Romano and I had a lot of fun and I'm really grateful to her.
The bar we chose is Muka walking distance from Civic Center Bart. They gave us happy hour prices on drinks for all the guests of the event (recognizable through bracelets that we had to provide). Once you have the confirmation of a good deal from the venue you can post your event on social media. The best tools to post your event and send invitations are Eventbrite (to give the chance to people you don't know to find your event and sign up), Facebook (for your friends) and if you want to be fancy PaperlessPost. Keep a document on your computer that you will update with names and emails of your guests. You can also prepare some flyers to give out at events and bring in book stores (we used PosterMyWall.com free service). Find something nice to do for your guests, we decided to do a raffle and give 3 copies of the book for free. Make sure you prepare a good speech (introduce yourself then ask a little question to your audience related to the book to get them more involved). Try to improvise and make people laugh with little jokes.
Around two weeks before the event (using CreateSpace) order some copies of your book to resell based on the number of people that signed up to attend.
Around one week before we called the bar to order the food based on budget and number of people attending (in our case $100 counting that around 40 people would show up). Consider that around 20% of people that signed up won't show up (in our case around 60 signed up). We ordered the party bracelets on Amazon (100 for around $20) and prepared the numbers for the raffle. The day before the event we printed the list with names and emails and we were ready to rock!
The Book Launch went really well. Rosa and I arrived around one hour before to prepare the space, arranging the books to sell and the numbers for the raffle. People started to show up at 6:30pm and the number reached the pick after 7pm, moment when I decided to do the speech. Around 40 people joined the party. They had a good time, drinking, eating and networking. It was hard to give the right attention to everybody but it was awesome to see so many people excited about the book asking to buy and have my autograph.