It gets frantic. It gets chaotic. It’s hard to keep track of all that’s happening! It’s a blast!
But if not well-prepared, the adventure can turn ugly. Nobody shows up. People show up but leave too early. Your posts are so far in between that people lose interest. Your posts aren’t engaging so you get little response. Four hours is a very long time! (Or one, even, if it’s dragging.)
I’ve been attending on-line Virtual Book Launch Events for a few years now. Before I became an author hawking her own books, I never knew there was such a thing. But, you know, there’s something about the magic of book contracts and promotion expectations, to thrust one into the midst of figuring things out.
At each event for other authors I attended, I made note of what the virtual book launches included. Here’s what I found. Features that were the same in each of the events were:
Cover art displayed
Book blurb available
Purchase info easily found and often presented
Links to author pages of various sorts
Giveaways (often run by Rafflecopter www.rafflecopter.com free basic
service, but they have paid plans with more options); tweet,
post, share to win
Video or audio links (including book trailers for author’s own or others’
books; might be links to music or YouTube videos of content
related to your book)
Pictures related to the era/theme/topic
Some of the virtual launches also included:
Trivia questions of the era/theme/topic/book to win prizes
Pictures of foods you are “serving”; sometimes with recipes
Opportunities to be named in next book, or vote on a character name
Links to free stuff on the author’s site--bookmark, excerpts, etc.
Here’s the plan for my Facebook Launch for Pastabilities:
1) Start the event with the book trailer for Pastabilities and run it once every hour of the event because some don’t stay the whole time and others arrive late.
2) Provide links to YouTube cooking videos I made.
3) Provide links to YouTube videos of short mystery stories spaced throughout the event hours.
4) Provide links to YouTube cooking videos I follow.
5) Post recipes from the book and accompanying pictures throughout the event hours.
6) Share pictures from my Pinterest board of what characters look like.
7) Post pictures of Phoenix and Glendale, AZ throughout the event hours.
8) Give away free books, recipe cards, and cooking gadgets.
9) Post fun food facts, kitchen gadget reviews, and provocative statements about the book content.
10) Post a link to an excerpt for the second book in the series, Prime Rib and Punishment.
11) Post a link to a book club guide for Pastabilities and an offer for me to participate in one via Skype/Facetime or in person.
12) Create trivia questions to post about the book, mysteries, cooking, police
13) Create lists of other mystery writers to invite and questions to ask; feature one or two each hour.
14) Prepare a series of tweets and Facebook posts that you ask friends to post to invite more people to the event.
15) What prizes will I give out for which questions? (apron, recipe cards, recipe
books, signed copies of my books and others’ book, measuring devices, pot holders, and so on).
16) Create an hour-by-hour outline of content/contests/videos/and so on.
17) Don’t overplan. Allow time for attendees to ask and respond to questions and to interact with one another.
My big Ah, Ha! was that while writing is a solitary pursuit, a book launch is a celebratory sharing. People want to be part of that energy! This post focuses on virtual (as opposed to live event) book launches and what happens in them.
In last week’s post, I gave you my template for planning a Facebook event. Do all that first, then start on these items.
Posting plans for the Facebook Book Launch of my culinary mysteries:
Here is the tentative plan I drafted for the Facebook event celebrating the re-release of Pastabilities (formerly Mission Impastable) in the fall. I’m planning the event for one week after the release date I’m given to ensure the book is available. That’s just a little insurance policy decision based on past experience!
For my Facebook Event, I’ll invite people from my on-line writing and cooking groups. This is several thousands people. Sadly, the actual number attending will be much less. However, by asking friends to tweet and announce my event on Facebook, I have the possibility of many people I don’t know attending. FB will track invitations and acceptances, but keep the event public so anyone can drop in.
I am planning a four-hour event. The book cover and buy button will be prominent, as will the book blurb and early reviews. I’ll post a link my web page, blog, and Twitter account in a pinned area at the top. When the party is happening, messages scroll by fast.
In the invitation, I’ll tell attendees to bring cream cheese, chutney, and crackers with them. The first post is a recipe from Pastablilites for a quick appetizer to munch on throughout the event.
Four Hour Event:
Welcome to all and show book cover. Thank them for attending. There’s still time to invite other friends to drop in (give the link to invite others). Give overview of what’s coming up
Post the recipe for “Alli’s Super Easy and Elegant Cream Cheese Appetizer” from Mission Impastable
Post question 1
Post the book blurb
Post early reviews
Announce prize winner for question 1
Post question 2
Food Facts you might not know
Play book trailer (or reviews, cover, blurbs) for guest author
Interview/interaction with a culinary mystery author who wrote TITLE
Post a recipe from Pastabilities with a picture
Play book trailer for Pastabilities
Give Pinterest link to the board for Pastabliities’ characters and scenes
Announce prize winner for question 2
Show YouTube cooking video I made for Hermosillo Salsa.
Post question 3
Post a link to an excerpt for the second book in the series, Prime Rib and Punishment
Post a link to a book club guide for Pastablilities and an offer for
me to participate in a book club meeting via Skype/Facetime or in person.
Play book trailer (or reviews, cover, blurbs) for guest author
Interview/interaction with culinary mystery author who wrote TITLE
Announce prize winner for question 3
Post question 4 (winner announced at beginning of next hour)
Links to short mystery stories on-line
Share titles and synopses of the six books in the series
And so on.
Continue in this vein--some repetition, some new content. Your helper person(s) might be in charge of the posted answers to questions and determining winners as well as managing the posting of on-line videos and other content like pictures or recipes, freeing you to respond to questions, conduct interviews, and facilitate interactions with other authors.
Next week, in Part 3, I’ll give the nitty gritty of setting up the actual event on Facebook. See you then! In the meantime, start planning your event.