By Aaron Ritchey
So I have a friend who didn’t do an initial book signing for his first book. He didn’t do any sort of book launch party, nothing like that. He just threw his book up on Amazon, did some online stuff, but didn’t really celebrate the fact that he had done something that very few people will ever do.
Very few people will ever write a book.
Very few people will ever spend the time to edit that book.
Very few people will ever publish that spit-polished book.
Just the facts of life. So if you get nothing else from this little blog post, take away the idea that we have to celebrate every little victory, every little hurray, and what better way to celebrate the hurray than to have a party?
Yes, this is a party in your honor, about your book, and yes, it’s all going to be about you. For many people, this can be hard. Even though I’m an attention whore, I found it difficult. Before my first book launch, I drove around and around the restaurant, afraid to park, afraid of the potential criticism, frustration, and disappointment.
What if no one comes? What if they do come, but are resentful at me for putting on the party in the first place? What if no one actually buys the book? What if no one likes me or the book?
All of those thoughts are in the end selfish and self-centered. I’m afraid that people aren’t going to like me or people will think I’m trying to guilt them into buying a book. And the mother of all fears, what if I alienate all my friends?
On the one hand, book launch parties are all about the author and their book, but how about we look at this another way? Book launch parties are a way to celebrate an accomplishment and bring together the people who love you and want to support you. Yes, some people do NOT want you to succeed and will feel threatened by your success. Sad but true. I’ve lost friends since I’ve become published. However, most of the people in my life are thrilled that I’m pursuing this dream, that I’m writing books, and they WANT to be a part of it. They WANT to support me. If I don’t include them, I’m being selfish.
A book launch party is a way to include everyone in the victory. It’s like the final scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, without the medals and droids. I’ve done them across the country and yes, at first, it was hard for all the reasons I’ve listed. But at some stage of the game, I realized I liked doing them, not so I could sell books, but so I could see people and talk to people and include them in the grand drama of the publishing game.
Where did I have my parties? Book stores can be hard to get into, especially if you aren’t running with the big dogs, but I’ve used restaurants, coffee shops, and even an art gallery in Santa Clara, California. Best venue ever.
I bring a box of books, I bring cash for change, and I have a Square account so I can accept credit cards using my smart phone.
The Facebook Event function and eVite.com are great tools to invite everyone you know . And I encourage my friends and family to invite everyone they know. I do so fearlessly because again, if I focus on the self-centered fear, I’ll worry that people will think I’m trying to dupe them into buying a book. But if I focus on the love and support I feel from those people who want to celebrate with me, I get excited and this all becomes easier.
How long should the book launch party be? Two hours is the perfect amount of time. People arrive and I greet them. Forty-five minutes into it, I give a little talk, read a few pages, and chat and sign books. Thank God for Costco ‘cause they have catered most of my book parties. What’s a party without a little food?
Yes, people are expected to buy books—some will, some won’t. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that rather than hiding my books and myself away in a basement, I am opening myself up to the world and I am saying, “My books are good, I believe in them, and I want you to be a part of this adventure with me.”
So plan book parties, celebrate your books and your career, and be sure to invite me. I love me a good party.