Last month I talked about how to plan a physical book launch party. This month, let’s discuss how to host a virtual (online) book launch party using social media.
You can plan a virtual party in place of a physical party, especially if finances are tight. Or your virtual launch can be in addition to a physical party, enabling you to include contacts outside your local geographical area.
One of the easiest ways to host a virtual party is to create a Facebook event. Since Facebook book launches are becoming fairly common, let’s examine some tips for an effective virtual launch party that stands out from the crowd:
A virtual party gives you the opportunity to expand your reach. Publicize your event on all your social media accounts and ask your friends to publicize the event on their profiles and pages, too. Remember to include a link to the party. Be sure to include people on your email list, people who have already expressed interest in your writing, and influencers.
An effective launch team is critical to the success of your virtual party. Consider creating a private Facebook group for your launch team to help you communicate with the group. For example:
- Ask them to review your book and post their reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD.com, Goodreads, and other related sites.
- Give them incentives for purchasing multiple copies of your book, such as a free pdf, bookmarks, a signed book plate, or other related items.
- Encourage them to publicize your party on their own Facebook profiles and pages.
You can schedule your launch party for the same day your book releases. Or you can delay it a bit to give your launch team some time to read your book and post reviews to help create buzz prior to your party. You can then post links to those reviews during the party.
When scheduling your party, be sure to consider differing time zones. Schedule it too early or too late and you’ll create obstacles to participation for attendees in zones furthest away from you.
The more you can prepare in advance, the more you’ll be able to spend time interacting with attendees. This includes preparing a schedule of activities and posts. But be flexible. It’s okay to go off schedule!
Scheduling posts in advance is an effective way to free yourself up to give participants your full attention. For example, if your event is connected to your Facebook Author Page, you can schedule your posts at regular intervals in advance, just as you can do on your Page. Simply write your post, then click on the arrow on the right of the Post button to reveal the scheduling options. Best of all, if the conversations begin to lag, you can change the scheduled times to post immediately.
Posts with photos or videos (e.g., a book trailer) attract more attention than posts with words alone, so be sure to include lots of visual posts. And don’t forget to include endorsements, too!
Develop your event page to complement the theme of your book. Customize the page banner and add your author photo. Create pictures with quotes from your book for scheduled posts and be sure to use pictures that fit your theme, as well.
Help During the Event
You’ll need help during the event, so consider assigning tasks to members of your launch team. Here are some examples of helpers you might need:
- someone to coordinate posting quizzes and trivia questions.
- another launch team member to coordinate contests and prize drawings.
- someone to use Twitter to cross-post quotes, activities, and trivia questions about your book, using a hashtag to make the tweets easier to find (These tweets may also increase interest in your book and your party.)
- another team member to help monitor attendee interactions to ensure all questions are answered
When you schedule your posts, be sure to include lots of links: the link to your website, links to sign up for your blog and newsletter, and of course, links to purchase your book! Don’t be shy about asking attendees to share the links in their social media, too.
Be sure to thank everyone who helped. Post photos and links from the party wherever you have an online presence.
Have you either hosted or participated in a virtual book launch party? Tell us about it in the comments!