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Virtual Book Launch Parties - How to do it right?

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

Book Launch parties are a great way to celebrate the release of your latest book, some authors do these locally in their area. However, the best way to do them with today's advanced technology is via social media, this allows you to reach a wider audience and gain extra traction on your book release. During this blog post, we are going to look at ways you can use these to your advantage and gain some great exposure to your book and your author brand.

Tip One - Pick a date and time.

Obviously, you should have already selected a release date for your book, but your party doesn’t have to be on that exact day. Consider your audience and when they are likely to be active on social media to ensure you get the best possible engagement. Personally, I feel that either Friday evenings or weekends are the best time to host one of these virtual events to allow the widest possible reach, however, you must also consider the national dates for example on events like Thanksgiving or Christmas, people are spending quality time with their families and less like to be spending much time on social media. Consider your target audience, and which market you wish to reach more of. For example, consider time zones and include what audience you most likely want to reach.

Be sure to promote this way in advance. I generally recommend giving it at least four weeks to allow better promotion, this will help ensure that the event is not a flop and gives plenty of time to notify readers.

Tip Two - Pick a platform

When selecting a social media platform, again take into account your target audience and where they are hanging out, most middle-aged women are more likely to be using social media like Facebook, and the younger audience will be most likely on Instagram. You can run your Virtual book launch party in any way which is effective for your audience.

Personally, I like running my events on Facebook within my Facebook Group, I generally set up an event and run it as Wingfield Designs. That way I can invite all of my group members to the event and get an idea of how many are interested in attending. This also notifies them of the build-up and when it’s live to let them know that the event is running. This is then effectively like tagging each member and helps build up your interaction, although I have also heard of some authors running them via zoom and having guest speakers throughout the event.

Tip Three - Run a Giveaway

Everybody loves a Freebie right? Well, what better way to gain new followers and readers than by offering them something for FREE. How many times do we sign up for a newsletter in order to gain a discount or special code for a store? I highly recommend running a giveaway, this could be in the form of a signed paperback, amazon gift card, ebook copies, swag, or even specially designed merchandise that relates to your book, see this amazing giveaway below that was run by Kate Bonham.

Take a look at this amazing giveaway by Kate Bonham which shows that you can do multiple options as well as use items outside the box.

You can also do multiple giveaways such as offering a signed paperback for one winner and maybe a kindle copy for another winner.

I highly recommend using a platform such as Rafflecopter or Kingsumo to run your giveaways as it takes most of the leg work out of running your giveaway. These platforms allow you to request them to do certain things in order to gain entry to your giveaway such as liking your Facebook page, following you on Instagram, signing up for your newsletter, etc. Each one they do allows them one entry, this also allows you to set a closing date where it closes itself so that no more entries can come in after the closing date. Take a look at the examples below.


Tip Four - Go Live

Your readers really want to connect with you on a personal level, they want to connect with the author behind the story and this is a great way to connect with your fans. You can go live on your event or in your Facebook Group and speak about your latest release, thanking them for attending your party and giving them great insight into what is to come at the party. You could even do a read of the book you’re releasing so they get to hear about some of the stories that you're celebrating. These are all great ideas to get interaction with your fans, I know going live can be daunting and I am not a huge fan of it either. I always get worried that no one will show up and I’ll just be talking to myself, and to be honest, sometimes I am, but that video is usually watched at some point during the day by whoever attends the event.

Tip Five - feature other authors or book industry takeovers

Create a schedule where other authors can sign up to have 30 minutes or one hour slots where they can come in and run their own giveaways, fun games, and releases, this really helps with the reach of your event because then they share the event with their readers, meaning that you have the potential to reach readers that may never have connected with you before.

A lot of authors run these “takeovers” as it also means there is new content posted regularly, you can give them admin rights to your Facebook group so they can schedule posts during their time slots and interact with readers. Be sure to share the takeover schedule in advance with your readers so that they can see who is coming and at what times the different people are on.

Tip Six - Creating engaging posts

Yes, the ultimate aim is to sell your latest release but remember that this isn't the only goal, if you can connect with new readers you have the potential to convert these later down the line, let them see you as a person, and connect with what you're offering them. You have to remember that each new follower on your social media or sign-up to your mailing list is growing your audience and the potential to sell more books in the future.

Here are some potential posts that you can share to engage with your readers:

  • Ask me anything post … this will allow them to ask questions about your writing, your personal life, your characters, and your inspiration.

  • Where are you from post … this one always gains great interaction as well as allows you to see where the majority of your readers are based.

  • Share book reviews … Share reviews of your books and remember sharing screenshots is great for this because it shows as more authentic to your readers, especially if they are via amazon and have the verified purchase on show.

  • Gif wars … This is a great party starter to get your readers in a gif war where they share their favourite gifs.

  • Finish the sentence posts … You could even use a sentence out of your book that you like and let them use predictive text to finish it off.

  • Character profiles … give them some background knowledge of the characters within your book.

  • Share Trailers, teasers, and author profiles.

  • Spot the difference ... You can use Canva to have the book cover that you are releasing and add a number of differences to one, with something like how many differences can you spot.

  • Share playlists for the book.

  • Ask them about books that they have read of yours. Which is their favourite? Who is their favourite character and why? Do they have a favourite quote or scene?

These are just a few examples to get you started but use your imagination, be creative and think about which type of posts you engage with on social media. Increasing your social engagement will really help you in the long run.

If you would like to find more of our top tips for self-published authors be sure to join our mailing list where you will also receive a free virtual book launch checklist to help you be on point for your next release. Sign up below:

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