Top 15 Book Launch Ideas – and zombies!

Stuck for book launch ideas?book launch ideas

Saturday 7th June saw the rise of UNDEAD KEV, the second book in the ‘Zane and Kev versus Everything‘ series. The morning started out pleasantly, it was sunny and cheerful in the little book store cafe at Black Cat Books. Children and fellow writers were gathering around to see the unveiling of the next Charmaine Clancy novel, when suddenly… a hoard, mob, gaggle? of zombies bombarded the processions and attacked the crowd… with good cheer and prizes.

Deadna Edna, Mave from the Grave, and Zombie Flombie (what? all the good zombie names were already taken), greeted guests, prepared delicious snacks and handed out raffle tickets for the prize draw.

book launch ideas

It was a great day, I signed many book and got to meet with friends and fans. I also received a lot of compliments on my launch, so here’s my top 15 book launch ideasbook launch ideas

Book Launch Ideas

  1. Theme. Choose a theme for your launch; it will make it easy to tie everything together. I went with a spooky Halloween theme–I had lots of orange and black, spiderweb cupcakes, and zombie launch ideas
  2. Location. Book your location and date early–you can’t promote the book launch until you’ve locked in the where and when. Make sure your location will fit the numbers you hope to attract (but not be so big that the room looks empty if you don’t get enough guests).
  3. Order stock. Bring lots of books for your launch, some people buy multiple copies, so it’s best to have too many rather than not enough.
  4. Enticements. What can you offer guests to entice them along? Food always works for me. But you could also have competitions and prizes, or gift bags (I made up bookmarks, laminated them, punched a hole in the end and added ribbon. These went in the goody bag with a lollypop, orange balloon and a flyer for my next kids writing workshop). Make sure the offer suits your target market — No point offering alcohol at a kids event.
  5. Entertainment. Other than tell guests all about you and your book, what can you do to entertain them? Raffles are popular, you could have a band play, or zombie caterers. Kaz Delaney even had a fortune teller at her launch for Almost Dead.
  6. Introductions. Get someone to introduce you. It looks professional, and if they’ve a good sense of humour, they’ll warm up the crowd for you.
  7. Brevity. Keep your talk short, especially if you’re launching a kids book. Attention spans wander quickly.
  8. Share the focus. Don’t make it all about you, put some focus on the guests. Ask them questions, be conversational, or give away launch ideas
  9. Appreciation. People have gone out of their way to support you. Many of my guests gave up other activities, struggled with daily hiccups, or even travelled all the way from the Gold Coast to attend my launch. They deserved a thank you!
  10. Advertising material. Design simple promotional images including necessary details for guests to book into and attend your launch (where, when and how). If you’re not design savvy, search images in Go
    ogle for book launches and copy someone else’s design. You can use the free site: Picmonkey to create an image with text. Keep with your theme for design and colour.
  11. Signage. Put a sign up in the window of your event location. You can print up images of your book cover, laminate them and stick them up everywhere. For a more professional sign, you can cheap ones from Vistaprint–put your name and ‘meet the author’ on them!
  12. Promote. Facebook Event page. Use your image as a header and invite anyone local to attend. Blog about the launch, ask others to mention it, or even contact your local paper (if you ca think of a story spin for your launch). Black Cat Books also promoted the launch for me, by sending out details to their email list.
  13. Plan–or don’t plan the details. Personally, I like to wing my talks in presentations. I knew I’d introduce the book and read an excerpt, but I didn’t plan what I would actually say. I’m comfortable presenting, if you’re not, you might like a script.
  14. Inscriptions. Plan what you’ll write in the books when you sign them. I try to come up with something funny and draw a little doodle. I’d hate to try and make stuff up while signing, it would take me forever and I’d make spelling errors under the pressure of the moment. Have a notepad handy to let fans write their name down. You don’t want to misspell names!
  15. Activities. Keep the kids busy. While parents were mingling, I had a kids writing activity–there were laminated cards with names of monsters and harmless or cute things, so the kids could mix them up to get weird and funny monsters (like Alien teddy-bears).

Hope some of these book launch ideas help you plan your next launch. Perhaps you have some tips or suggestions, I’d love to hear what things you’ve tried, so why not share your book launch ideas too!

More pics from the book launch:

Nicholas Lochel author of Zarkora


book launch crowd




















Niche Marketing for Authors – why you want less readers

Writers become promoters

Niche marketing is a strategy used to reach better customers. 

There’s no denying marketing is important for selling books. The sales rank of a particular novel can sometimes reflect the writer’s aptitude for marketing more than it does their ability to write.

Niche marketing for authorsThe introduction of eReading devices and downloadable books opened up the industry to allow anyone to achieve their dream of becoming a published author. At first it was just PDFs, downloadable books, booklets, catalogues and instructional manuals companies shared to promote their products, but once Amazon got into the game with their Kindles, anyone and everyone started uploading their novels for public consumption.

Working in a saturated market

Market saturation. That’s probably the first marketing term a new author must learn, and it’s why we need to understand niche marketing.

When there are very few of an item (such as a limited edition release) and many customers, you have a strong market which allows you to charge a premium price. When there are few customers but many products? Now your novel doesn’t seem worth the $30 you’d pay for a new-release paperback in any Australian bookstore. Enter the 99c ebook.

Savvy marketing authors quickly adopted the 99c strategy – by undercutting the competition on price, they could appeal to the budget market (not niche marketing as most customers will seek bargains). This worked well … at first. It didn’t take long before the 99c market became flooded.

What about free? You can’t beat free can you? By offering free copies of novels, authors are reaching readers who would never have otherwise picked up their book.

That’s good right?

Maybe not.

Pushing to a mass market sounds appealing; reaching a large number of people, but this approach doesn’t take into consideration  the wrong customer.

The wrong customer can damage your reputation–just look at all those scathing one star reviews. But it’s good news, because as in the Daoism philosophy of all things balanced, if the wrong customer exists, so does the right customer.

Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.

-Seth Godin

Niche marketing

Targeting a niche market is the way to find your perfect customer.

Who (specifically) would enjoy reading your novel? If you said everyone, narrow it down. My Zombie Dog was written especially for boys 10-12yrs old who struggle with, or lack interest in, reading. The fact that a lot of grandparents left reviews claiming to love this book was a bonus. My niche was those reading resistant boys.

You need to identify the right customer.

What does the right customer look like?

marketing for authors1. They praise. Hey, we all like to be appreciated. At a recent pop-culture festival, I gave away a copy of my book to a young boy. A couple of hours later his dad came back and thanked me because my book was the first one his son had ever wanted to read without being nagged. He’d already devoured half the novel. Now that was the RIGHT customer.
2. They review. These customers write about the books they’ve read, and because your book was a perfect match for them, your reviews will be positive.
3. They support. The right customer becomes invested in your success, they follow your journey and want to become part of your virtual cheer squad.
4. They return. They come back for more. You get repeat sales without having to increase your marketing efforts.
5. They sell for you. The right customer will love your book so much, they’ll tell everyone they know. Through word of mouth, they’ll boost your sales.

Once you’ve identified your perfect customer, you’ll be able to design their profile, what interests do they have, who influences their buying decisions, and, where you can find them. Now you’ve got niche marketing nailed.