Guest Post by Deborah Coonts

The Importance of Having a Book Launch Party or Event When Launching a Book?

by

Deborah Coonts 

Ah, this speaks directly to the issue all writers, no matter their choice of publisher or format, must deal with:  Discoverability.

And, in this day where the bar to entry into the publishing world has been obliterated and the doors thrown open to all, discoverability is perhaps the most important issue in the marketplace.  Of course, the first critical element is for an author to write a very good book.  When, as now, there are no gatekeepers, this isn’t always a given.  But, that is a discussion for another day.

So, discoverability, more specifically book launch events.

Back in the very recent past when books were published in print and distributed through the normal channels to all the print outlets, launch was of much more importance.  A printed book might have a shelf life of no more that a couple of months unless it gained market traction and kept selling well.  If not, after six weeks or so, the bookstores pulled the book from the shelves and sent them back to the publisher.  They still do that.

You do know that books are sold on consignment, right?  So, the bookstores have very little invested in any particular title.  If it doesn’t sell, they get their money back.

How’d you like to open a business and know that, unless you are a huge success, you’ll be shut down in six weeks?  And that’s after spending a year or more of all your time, energy, and talent working to get the doors open.

Pretty tough, right?

What would you do?

Well, you’d throw one heck of a party, right?  And you’d alert the media (who really couldn’t care,) strong-arm friends, family, loose acquaintances, and any one who would stop and listen, right?

All for your one shot to hit a bestseller list and keep your title in the stores.  So, back when print was it, the launch party was absolutely critical.

Digital has changed that somewhat.

Now books have what is referred to as a “long tail.”  This means that your book will be available in the marketplace… forever.  So, it is possible, and it has happened many times, for a book to hit a bestseller list long after it initially went on sale.  I can tell you this does warm the cockles of this writer’s heart.  But, does this also make the launch party/event obsolete?

Not at all.

No matter one’s publishing choice, finding readers, getting the word out about your latest book, is critical.  I mean, if they don’t know about it, they can’t buy it, right?  Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised.  There are still those writers who want to toil away alone in a garret, eschewing the outside world.  Ha!  The publishing world has changed.  Now, more than ever before, writers are expected to… promote.

Yes, when asked what business I’m in I always say “Why, I’m a shameless self-promoter.”  And, while that may not be technically true, it is wholly accurate.

So, back to the relevance of a launch event.  Everyone loves a party, right?

Especially if there’s free stuff and door prizes and all that jazz.

So, I throw online parties with goodie bags and all of that.  And, I go to independent bookstores and throw face-to-face parties there because I believe in supporting them the way they have supported me.

Readers read in all different formats and I don’t think one is better than the other.  In fact, I think all are critical.

So, watch my website.  If I come to your town, please come see me.  There will be wine, but if not, for sure there will be chocolate.  And, join me as well online at wonderful book-centric blogs such as this one for giveaways and fun stuff.

After all, it’s all about the stories.

That’s what we love, right?

I’d love for you to find mine.

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