Imagine this: you have finally finished your rhyme writers. Months of writing, revising and editing that have finally paid off. Plus, to top it all off, you have meticulously prepared a book launch event that will help boost your sales and spread the word. But suddenly, all your dreams are shattered due to a global crisis, a pandemic that ravages the entire world. You can’t organize it anymore. Or if? Now might be the time to start considering an online book launch event!
- 1 Why organize an online book presentation?
- 1.1 Advantages of organizing an online book presentation
- 1.2 Step 1: Establish a plan for your online book launch event
- 1.3 Step 2: Choose the location
- 1.4 Step 3: Send the invitations
- 1.5 Step 4: Get the technical aspects under control
- 1.6 Step 5: Organize your book presentation online!
- 1.7 Step 6: Finish appropriately
- 1.8 And this would be it!
Why organize an online book presentation?
Recent weeks have shown that new technologies allow us to adapt to extraordinary situations such as a quarantine while maintaining our daily routines without too many changes. Of course, with everything going on right now, you may think that your book isn’t that important, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The decision to move forward or postpone everything you had planned until things return to normal is entirely in your hands. But if you are so excited that you can’t wait, this article is for you. We’re here to talk about how to run an online book launch event.
Now you might be wondering, why would anyone bother with an online book launch event? Well, if you are in quarantine, you have probably started to notice the symptoms of what is known as cabin fever, the illness suffered by those who are locked up. People need social contact, and there are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself entertained while stuck at home for weeks. How to organize an online book presentation event? People are reading in droves right now, so why not give it a try? Look what Patrick Stewart is up to these days!
In addition, organizing the presentation of your book on the internet or social networks can also be interesting for you if your readers are widely distributed geographically or as a complement to your physical book presentation. This way you make sure that everyone has the opportunity to get to know you and your book.
So, in this article we will see the steps to organize the presentation of your book online:
- Advantages of organizing an online book presentation
- Establish a plan for your online book launch event
- Choose the place
- Send the invitations
- Have the technical aspects under control
- Organize the presentation of your book online!
- Ends appropriately
Advantages of organizing an online book presentation
Of course, under normal conditions we would recommend that your book launch event be physical, but desperate times call for creative (not desperate!) measures. The positive side of this is that digital book presentation has several advantages over the traditional one:
- Your original book launch plan and subsequent marketing efforts can continue unimpeded.
- You won’t have to pay for a venue or refreshments.
- People who could not attend due to geographic restrictions will now be able to join.
- You can send your guests a link to purchase the book directly in the chat.
Step 1: Establish a plan for your online book launch event
Despite the aforementioned advantages of organizing an online book launch event, of course, there are also some drawbacks. For example, it will most likely be impossible to get the local press to attend (although this was difficult before) and you will not be able to interact with your guests, chatting with a snack and drinks in hand. This means that you will have to keep your audience interested using only your book and the methods you have chosen to present it. As such, it is important that you plan engaging activities that prevent people from getting bored.
Of course, the key points of regularly used book launch events can also be done online. This includes:
- A question and answer (Q&A) session: You’ll probably want this to be as thorough as possible, so you can give details about your motivations, research, and writing process. Have a friend prepare an extensive list of questions ahead of time to make sure you have enough.
- Reading one of the chapters aloud: It is a good idea to continue the question and answer session.
- Cover Design Presentation: If you have a designer, be sure to invite them to the event and put them in the spotlight.
- Show attendees a preview of the book. If you do this, it’s probably best to do it before reading the sample chapter.
- Let people know where they can buy the book. Hopefully, with online book submissions, you’ll only have to send your guests a direct link to your book store’s website.
- Typically, the author tends to give the first copy of his or her book to someone important. This person could be a spouse or partner, a child, cousin, best friend, or whatever. Someone who has helped you write in one way or another. If possible, ask them to be there with you at the time of the event, so you can hand them the book at the end. You can even add a bow or some decoration to make it more special. Of course, this will require you to order a copy of the book beforehand, so plan ahead.
Step 2: Choose the location
The first is the first. As with the traditional book launch, the first thing you need to do is choose where you are going to host the event. Fortunately, in this case there are plenty of options.
Today, Skype has been supplanted by WhatsApp, but when it comes to calls involving large groups of people, Skype is still superior. This is because Skype supports up to 50 participants, compared to WhatsApp’s 4.
Organizing a call on Skype is very simple. Previously, you would have to download Skype, add the people to your contact list, create a group chat, and start a call in that chat. Now all you have to do is go to their website, create a meeting, and send the link you get to everyone you want to invite. There are no registrations, downloads or payments involved. Good news for your guests!
Like Skype, Messenger supports calling up to 50 people. If all the guests are your friends, it might be easier to have them all in the same chat than on Skype.
Another benefit of using Messenger for your book launch is that you can also use it to invite people. By creating a group chat in Messenger, you can gather all your guests in one place, interact with them before the event, and then communicate with them with a single click, instead of having to wait for them to join a call. This gives you more control as the host. For more information on how to set up a group chat in Messenger, see step 3.
One downside to Messenger is that you’ll need to manually add each invitee to the group, making it difficult to include people from other social networks. As more and more people are deleting their Facebook accounts, you may also be able to exclude potential guests.
If these two options are not attractive to you, we have another alternative for you. Live stream your book presentation on YouTube!
If you’ve never created content for YouTube, this idea may seem a bit daunting. Don’t worry, it’s easy. All you need is a Google account and with it, create a YouTube channel in two seconds. To do this, simply go to YouTube and click on the camera icon in the upper right corner of the screen, and then select »Go Live»
Follow the steps to create and verify your account. Please note that you will not be able to start streaming until after 24 hours. Once you’re ready, follow these instructions to start streaming. You’ll be able to edit privacy settings, schedule a start date and time for the broadcast, and share a link so people can join with a single click.
If you know how to handle another streaming platform that you’re more comfortable with (like Twitch, for example), it could also be an option.
Step 3: Send the invitations
You already have a program and you already have a place. Now it’s time to send out the invitations! This is a great opportunity to add that personal touch that this entire digital world usually lacks. Next, we are going to describe some common methods for inviting people. Don’t be afraid to mix and match them! A video invitation could benefit if it is followed by a written invitation containing all the information, for example.
If you are going to use WhatsApp or Messenger to organize your book presentation, you will also need to gather all the guests in a group. This will allow you to invite them all at once, giving you a fairly practical overview of the communications that are going to occur. When creating a group like this, you’re going to want to do everything you can to maximize participation. There are several ways to do this:
- Set the group’s theme as something thematic (something like “The Fellowship of the Ring Presentation Party”)
- Set your book cover as the group photo.
- Provide regular updates on preparations to keep the group engaged. Videos are ideal for this!
- Try to ask your guests for small things beforehand, such as questions for you or mention of topics they would like you to address during the presentation.
This is probably the invitation method that requires the least amount of effort. With this in mind, you might want to try spicing it up a bit by including a video or combining it with some snail mail.
If you need help on how to create and edit Messenger or WhatsApp groups, you can find several videos and explanations on their respective websites. Here we explain how to create a group chat on WhatsApp and here how to do it in Messenger.
Of course, you also have the option of sending an email detailing the nature of the event, as well as the time and platform on which it will take place. However, emails tend to be a bit boring and impersonal, so if you decide to go this route, it’s a good idea to liven up the invitation with some bells and whistles. Combining an email invitation with a handwritten invitation, some interesting visual elements (e.g. a cover photo), or a video can be a good strategy, for example. Here’s a basic example to get your creative juices flowing:
If you’ve decided to use Google Hangouts for your book launch, you can also easily follow up your email with a Hangouts conference invitation via the calendar in your inbox. This way, guests have all the information they need in one place.
In our digital age, people are quite excited to receive snail mail. The extra effort required to send a message this way will likely make your guests feel appreciated. And if they come to your book launch feeling that way, chances are they’ll be attentive and willing to buy the book.
However, if you are reluctant to have your guests purchase your memoir writer, you can always do it for them. Consider sending important guests a copy of the book in advance, accompanied of course by an invitation. It’s a lovely gesture that is sure to be appreciated. This will also make it harder for them to make excuses not to attend the event!
Creating a personalized, themed invitation for your guests can be quite a rewarding approach. However, if you decide to go this route, make sure the event itself will be digital. It’s probably smart to attach a direct link to the app or meeting room you’ll be using for the presentation on the physical invitation.
If you prefer something more dynamic, why not make a video invitation and send it to people? You can record yourself inviting the recipient or try something more advanced. Remember that it should be a short and to the point video. This will keep people’s attention and also make sure it’s small enough to include in a DM or email. Another alternative would be to upload your invitation as a private video to YouTube or Google Drive and send people a link with an email.
Now, sending a DM to people you think want to attend the event is a good way to start. However, there are probably plenty of people on your social media who you haven’t talked to in a while who might also be interested. Ultimately, the more people experience your big book launch, the better. That is why we recommend that you make a more public invitation on your social networks.
If you’ve decided to create a video or other visual invitation, use it as a reference. Add explanatory text so people you’re not in regular contact with can understand what’s happening and post it as a status update. Use the social media platforms you’re active on: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Tikor, Snapchat… it’s all fair game these days. You may get a more positive response than you expect!
Step 4: Get the technical aspects under control
We’ve all experienced the seemingly inevitable clumsiness of video conferencing. There is always someone whose camera doesn’t work or whose voice sounds like a robot. If this happens during your book presentation, it could discourage you and impact your flow. As such, it is always a good idea to perform some tests beforehand to minimize the risk of a malfunction.
Naturally, you can’t do anything about other people’s devices, but you can make sure yours runs smoothly. Our suggestion is that you grab a friend to help you do all the sound and video verifications. Have them join a test video call before the main event? This way you can ensure that your voice is clear and audible, that your camera works properly, and that you can switch to any additional material (such as a presentation or video) without problems.
Step 5: Organize your book presentation online!
It’s show time! It may have been difficult for you to take the step, but as long as you have formulated a plan and stick to its main points, everything will work out. Why not welcome everyone with a toast to break the ice? Imagine that everything is business as usual and make the presentation a little ironic. Your guests will certainly appreciate the show!
It’s also important that you let people know that they can buy your book immediately through the link you’re sending them. Getting your guests to buy and read your book is crucial, as this way these people will tell other people about your book and word of mouth marketing will take place. This could undoubtedly be your most important sales channel.
Step 6: Finish appropriately
As your book presentation comes to a close, there are several vital points that you will need to convey to your audience. We’ve organized them into a handy list. While you may have more objectives you want to add depending on the nature of your book, the following points are generally applicable:
- Give thanks to everyone who came (and those who didn’t). Seriously, don’t overlook this. Even if it’s not a physical event, people have taken the time to listen to you speak for a couple of hours, so they now deserve recognition for that. Thank them for coming, for their time, and wish them the best. If you are having a drink during the presentation, you can also make a toast. The screen that separates you does not prevent appreciation.
- Again, send your guests the link to purchase your book on all communication channels you have used. We can’t emphasize this enough!
- Ask everyone to give a review of your book everywhere you are selling it (including Goodreads) along with other types of actions, from spreading the link to buy the book or recommending it on their social networks or any online forum in which are active.
- Ask your readers for direct comments. This way you will become a better writer.
And this would be it!
With a little luck, we hope we have managed to show that the pandemic doesn’t have to stop you from celebrating the publication of your book with your family and friends. By following these simple steps, you should be able to organize a flawless event and brighten the day of everyone involved. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and each book submission is unique. You know your audience and their tastes, so don’t be afraid to be creative.
If you decide to try your hand at presenting your book online, we hope it will be a great experience. An experience that, of course, we would love to hear. If you continue with this project, we would appreciate it if you could tell us how it went.