Whether you're an independent self published author or you go the traditional route, a big part of your writing job is going to be marketing your book after it's published. Word of mouth is crucial for any book's success, and one of the best ways to get the word spread around is by creating buzz before the book even hits the best seller list. A launch party on Facebook helps your book to hit the ground running, building sales and growing the excitement and anticipation with your fans.
A Launch Party?
A launch party is an online celebration of the birth of your book. Readers, fans, and even the curious can join in the fun and get enough information about your book to make them want to buy it. There are giveaways, live chats, virtual and actual prizes, and ways for you to keep in touch with the reader after the party is over. If done well, a launch party can propel your book right onto the bestseller lists.
Where to Hold It
Your Facebook author page is the ideal place for your book's launch party. Facebook already has the mechanisms installed for all the party facets you need. If you don't have an author page there, that's your first order of business. Start the page and spread the word, signing up as many fans as possible.
Planning the Party
Set everything up ahead of time to allow you to enjoy the party along with your guests. Look on the top left corner of your Facebook page and click on "Events". This will take you to a page where you can set up an invitation and reminder that will notify every fan from your page. You can also spread the word on other forums and in your newsletter, giving them the page address.
Decide on some prizes for contests. Most authors give away .pdf copies of their book to give the lucky winners a sneak peek before anyone else. Others can win advance chapters of your next book, Amazon or Starbucks gift cards, or naming a character in your next book. Set up a Rafflecopter contest and let it run for a few weeks before the party to allow the maximum number of entrants.
Have some fun activities, hints about the book, quizzes, and jokes ready before the beginning of the party. Drop in every hour or two to see how the party's going, and to post on all the threads. Start a new topic every few hours, just to get the conversation flowing. Ask for ideas for your next book, give tough little quizzes, post as your main character, or host an "Ask the Author" thread. Interact with as many readers as possible to turn them into fans. Pull the Rafflecopter prizes in the early evening, and email the winners to congratulate them.
This is something all authors can do even those of you who are just getting started with social media. Have some fun with this...50% of getting to success is simply being there, so go for it!
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!