Can I have a launch for my book?
Launches can be a very effective way of having your book seen by the correct audience and we have put together the following pages to help you organise and make the most of a launch event, with information collated from our marketing and sales teams as well as advice from booksellers.
The most successful launches generally take place with partners such as universities, associations, institutions and businesses.
What kind of launch event should I have?
There are a number of types of launches and these can vary depending on the venue. The two main types are:
- Formal launches usually in the form of a lecture, a seminar or a discussion panel with a number of discussants.
- Informal launches –often unseated launches where the author briefly introduces the event with a few words about the book, but the format is largely casual with the opportunity for multiple interactions with attendees.
How do I promote my launch?
What can I do?
There are a number of ways that you are able to promote your launch. You can include notices of the event in your email signature, through social media and via PDF or printed invitations.
If your launch is being organised in association with an academic institution or bookshop do talk to them and work together to promote the launch.
What will you do?
When you are organising a launch do let us know. We can provide you with a selection of marketing materials including:
- Posters – table-top or wall posters
- An e-card (formatted email) which can be used as an invite for the event
We can also include a notice about your event on the events page on our website, as well as information about the launch through our social media accounts and subject newsletters.
How can I have books available for sale at my launch?
If you want to have copies of your book available for sale at a launch there are a number of options that are possible:
If there is a local or campus bookshop that would be willing to attend and sell books, our sales team can liaise with them about arranging copies and in some cases may be able to arrange a special price for attendees. If the venue regularly holds events they may have a bookshop that they frequently work with.
The bookshop can contact our sales team through their regular rep or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For events in the USA or Canada the bookhop can contact our sales team by emailing email@example.com.
You can purchase copies to sell at the event, using your author discount, and then return unsold copies for a refund.* If you contact our customer service team they can assist you in placing an order and advise on the terms and conditions.
They can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For events in the USA or Canada you can contact our sales team by emailing email@example.com.
If neither of these options are possible, we can provide flyers so that attendees can purchase copies directly from us following the event. We can provide flyers for the first two options but would amend the text by removing our direct sales information to encourage sales through the bookshop.*Please note that if ordering in Australia and New Zealand all sales are firm sales and cannot be returned.
Some advice for launches from Robyn Law
We spoke to Robyn Law, the Events Manager at Blackwell’s Holborn, and asked if she had advice for authors who wanted to plan a launch. Here is what she said.
- DO utilise personal contacts. The more friends and colleagues present the better the atmosphere for people who are there to buy your book.
- DO have an organiser or colleague ready with one or two questions to kick-start a Q&A session. This just means you don't have any awkward pauses when people feel too shy to ask the first question.
- DO enjoy the evening - people are there to learn about the author and the book, so talking to as many people as possible and showing why you are passionate about your subject, and about your publication, is what will leave a lasting impression on guests.
- DO think about the day. Thursdays are generally the best days for launches. Early in the week people are less likely to go out, and Fridays and Saturdays are when people often have plans.
- DO keep readings concise and lively. Don't speak for too long as it can drain the atmosphere. If you're worried about volume always ask if a microphone can be provided as it is important to be heard.
- DO think about catering. Drinks and nibbles can be a nice way to start the evening. It can just be a packet of crisps, but it's good to give people something to do with their hands.
The most successful launches are those where the author and organiser are passionate and engaged.-Robyn Law, Events Manager at Blackwell’s Holborn