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How to Host a Facebook Launch of Your Self-published Book

ABHistorical crime writer Angela Buckley explains why it’s a great idea to hold an online launch for an indie book, and shares her top tips on successful Facebook launches, based on her own experience with her new non-fiction title, Amelia Dyer and the Baby Farm Murders, which reached an astonishing 5,000 people.

Screenshot of first post from launch event

Starting the Facebook launch as she means to go on…

Online Facebook events are an excellent way to launch a new book, both fiction and non-fiction. They offer an exciting opportunity for new readers to explore the settings and characters of your book, with intriguing hints to draw them into the story.

Cover of Amelia Dyer book

The true crime story which Angela Buckley successfully launched on Facebook

For my first book I threw a big party, which was really an excuse to get my friends together. When I ventured into indie publishing, I decided to try an online launch using Facebook. The event was a great success, reaching almost 5,000 people, with 800 interactions.

I hosted my launch on a Facebook event linked to my author page, Victorian Supersleuth. I chose a two-hour slot on a key date relating to my new historical true crime book, Amelia Dyer and the Baby Farm Murders. Throughout the launch I posted information about the book every five minutes, including images of the locations and characters, quirky facts and local quiz questions.

My Top 10 Tips for Hosting a Facebook Book Launch

  1. Choose a date for your online launch preferably after a ‘soft’ launch, so that you already have some reviews for the book and have generated a buzz. I released the book and held the Facebook event on the same day but next time, I’d keep them separate.
  1. Select timings for the launch which will make it easier for people to take part. I chose 5pm to 7pm (UK time), to catch those who would have been working during the day and before people went out for the evening. The timing worked well for participants from overseas too.
  1. Use an eye-catching banner (I used Canva.com) and an intriguing description on your event page to invite as many people as possible via Facebook, and other social media channels.
  1. Explain the instructions for joining the online event as clearly as possible. Many of my participants had never taken part in such an event before and it was tricky making sure that they were in the right place on Facebook.
  1. Prepare all the material for posting in advance and hold it in a separate file. The event will be hectic so you’ll need everything at your fingertips. I wrote the posts and copied the images in order, ready to post at five-minute intervals.
Screenshot of old photo of a relevant place

Using plenty of material prepared in advance to keep the momentum going

  1. Offer a free giveaway to anyone who says hello or leaves a comment on your event page. I entered the names into random.org and gave away two books, at the halfway point and the end of the event.
  1. Engage a helper to respond to comments, note down the names for a giveaway, and to make sure that all participants are welcomed and any queries are answered. A second laptop was helpful too.
  1. Ask a friend to tweet the events for you as they happen, to draw people from Twitter and other social media channels.
  1. Invite other writers to take part, maybe in a longer event, and allocate them a slot for posting, whilst you engage with the partygoers.
  1. Leave the event on your page afterwards so that people can browse through the posts at their leisure. Do check for comments posted later.
Screenshot of post featuring a lock of Amelia Dyer's hair

Intriguing snippets of information sustain interest and keep visitors coming back for more

I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of a Facebook launch and I would definitely do it again, perhaps with more writers taking part. Apart from the launch itself, I doubled the number of ‘likes’ on my Facebook page and its reach has increased considerably since.

‘I can’t wait to read the book, especially after exploring the characters and locations at the launch.’ (Giveaway winner)

OVER TO YOU If you’ve run a successful Facebook book launch, do you have any further tips to share? Any questions to ask Angela? Fire away!

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27 Responses to How to Host a Facebook Launch of Your Self-published Book

  1. Mary of RivetingNarration.com March 2, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    Do you only run one Launch Party? I know that sounds strange BUT… if you have readers all over the world some are bound to miss out aren’t they, not least because it will be sleep time for some.

  2. Grace Palmer July 1, 2016 at 11:05 am #

    I’d be interested to know how you reached those 500 readers that you mention – great insights though; thanks for sharing

  3. Nancy J. Cohen May 29, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    I have a dedicated book launch party site with another author at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/?fref=ts

    I schedule my posts ahead of time. During the party, I add all commenters as they post to an Excel spreadsheet and pick prize winners at ten minute intervals using Random.org. I’ll pin my prize winner posts to the top of the page.

  4. Kevin Potter May 26, 2016 at 3:14 am #

    Great advice, thank you. Ithink I’m definitely going to do a Facebook launch for my next release. My question is, do you have any tips for those rapid-fire reader interaction posts when dealing with a fiction novel not based in this world?
    I know that posts with artwork are far more effective than those without, my dilemma there is that my cover image is the only artwork I have that ties in with my book. Any ideas?

    • Angela Buckley May 26, 2016 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks, Kevin – I’m so glad that it was helpful. I agree that fiction can be more tricky, and especially when it’s set in another world! How about objects? Can you find images of recognisable objects that link in with your setting and characters? Are there any key aspects of your fictional world that you can convey through more conventional images? I just wonder if you could use regular images as a hook to represent the world that you’ve created, and draw some comparisons to give your readers an idea of what they will find in your book, compared to what they are familiar with. It sounds like a challenge but would be a very exciting launch experience and a chance for readers to open their minds to a new world ready for exploring – good luck!

  5. Max West May 25, 2016 at 1:27 am #

    Good advice – I personally prefer Twitter myself and am planning something similar for some new work coming out.

    • Angela Buckley May 25, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

      Thanks, Max – I haven’t tried such an event on Twitter but I think it’s a great idea and I’d definitely like to give it a go sometime. Good luck with your new book!

  6. Alison Morton May 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Excellent post, Angela! You are the mistress of organisation and you must have boundless energy!

    • Angela Buckley May 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

      Thank you, Alison – that’s so kind and I really appreciate it. I drink lots of coffee!

  7. Lori Henriksen May 22, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    Angela, So much to learn. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m working toward self-publishing my first book and will use your advice to throw a FB party.

    • Angela Buckley May 23, 2016 at 9:19 am #

      Thanks, Lori – that’s brilliant and I’d definitely recommend a FB launch for your book. I’m glad the information was useful – good luck with planning your party!

  8. Julie Day May 22, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

    This is great. I have been thinking of doing a FB launch to start off my new Asperkids series of children’s books later on as I have had lots of interest in this already. Given me somethings to think about.

    • Angela Buckley May 23, 2016 at 9:18 am #

      Thanks, Julie – I’m really pleased that you found it helpful and do let us know how you get on with planning a launch for your new series. Good luck!

  9. Patricia May 22, 2016 at 12:28 am #

    Your numbers are amazing! I just had my third online release party this past week and agree with all of your suggestions. For something different, I invited 7 other authors to join in and they each had a 15-minute slot with a giveaway. The feedback is always good on these parties and I find the readers who attend become loyal supporters. They love to have the personal interaction.

    I, and several of my friends, use an author service group, BookRhythm, and they organize and monitor the event, keep track of the giveaways and notify the winners afterward. IMHO, it’s worth the charge.

    We send out invitations a week or two in advance on FB and also in Goodreads.

    These parties are crazily frenetic at times, but well worth the effort.

    • Angela Buckley May 22, 2016 at 8:15 am #

      Hi Patricia, thanks so much for sharing your experiences and adding more tips and ideas. It’s great to know about how to manage a larger event and I’ll definitely check out BookRhythm for next time.

  10. Michele Montgomery May 21, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

    Very informative. Thank you!

  11. Caroline cumming May 21, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Curious to know (did I miss it?) whether you could track new sales that came only as a result of holding the FB launch and if so, what percentage of sales that was. Also when would you hold a FB launch next time if not on the same day as your release date?

    • Angela Buckley May 22, 2016 at 8:20 am #

      Hi Caroline, I could track the number of clicks and the interactions but not the actual sales, although quite a few participants told me that they’d bought the book. There was a rise in sales though and most of it would have been because of the launch. As a first time indie publisher I found it quite stressful holding the online launch on the release date, as I was worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place. It did, but next time I’d leave a couple of days to make sure everything was OK before an official launch.

  12. Elizabeth Ducie May 21, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

    Great post, Angela. I held my first online party back in 2012 and have had one for each of my fiction books since then. The last one was 12 hours long, which was exhausting, so I will probably cut that in half next time (in July). I always ask my writing buddies if they will donate books for giveaways. Many offer an ebook but I usually get a couple of print books too so can run a draw throughout the event.

    One question to you, if I may: by 800 interactions, do you mean 800 sales?

    • Angela Buckley May 22, 2016 at 8:24 am #

      Thanks, Elizabeth – great to hear about your experiences, and especially your marathon launch! I would definitely try a longer launch next time with ‘guest appearances’ and it’s a great idea to ask other writers to donate a book for giveaways. The number of interactions was taken from the Facebook stats, so it would have been ‘likes’, comments, shares etc.

  13. Angela Buckley May 21, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    Thanks, Larry – I didn’t think to include the creation of the page in the tips, as mentioned in the intro but perhaps I could have made it clearer. Good idea to invite people by email too.

  14. Larry Edwards May 21, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    This is good, and pretty much what I have done (including the gin). But isn’t there a step missing? I.e., invite people to attend by creating an Event on Facebook, and sending out invitations. I also invited people via email.

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