Book Party Swag–Tips and ideas for a great book release party

Your book is done–polished, edited and polished one last time. Now you’re ready to celebrate the milestone with family, friends and fans. Here are some tips and ideas, along with photos of my party swag for those of you who desire a physical location for your book release party:

*Print materials! Posters, business cards, invitations, flyers, postcards, labels (different types and sizes). Check out you nearest Staples, Office Max, Kinko’s and Office Depot for pricing and specials. I got great deals and savings at Staples. Ink cartridges are pretty pricey, so I wouldn’t suggest that as an option, unless you are doing a teeny print job. Use the print experts for your big jobs. I like to do the 11×17 “Coming Soon” posters and smaller flyers to pique interest.

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*Location, location, location! A local spot would be the obvious choice. For the right ambiance, if possible, picking a place that fits with your book would be perfect. I picked Coffee Bean Connection, my favorite, local coffee house.

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*Promoting your book and party to the community! Talk to school administrators (keep in mind book age appropriateness), local libraries, book stores, businesses, especially small businesses. Get names of those in charge and mail or personally deliver flyers, invitations and business cards. Give posters to them to display.

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*Setting the scene! If you planned your release party while you were working on your book, chances are you have a sizable picture in your head of what you want your party spot to exude inside. Check out party shops online/offline for themed decorations and favors or find the right color scheme and go from there. You can find other ideas, gifts, etc. from specialty shops. Banners and mini-red carpets are a fun way to advertise your party and have extra photo galleries for your social media sites as well. Centerpieces add a nice touch or you can have one large centerpiece for the main table and multiple, simple pieces on the other tables. You can make up regular 8.5×11 flyers or 11×17 poster size with the party details (games, activities food and refreshments, raffles, mini-red carpet and banner).

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*Things to do at your party! Games, music, other activities, food and refreshments help liven a party and induce your social endorphins (okay, I made that last part up). You might choose food and drink themed around your book. Raffles are a good way to interact with potential fans.

"Lava Cocoa from the book. Recipe on Throne of Olympus website throneof olympus.com.

“Lava Cocoa from the book. Recipe on Throne of Olympus website throneof olympus.com.            

Party swag! This is the best part. I love giveaways and swag bags and if you make labels with your book cover on them, it’s cool to slap some on the bags, boxes and favors. If your party spot has gift certificates add some to swag bags and boxes and toss in a book matching book mark to top it off. If your party is around the holidays, you can add ornaments in as well. Oh, and a nice label w/your book cover can look great on a keepsake ornament. I found clear, teardrop-shaped ornaments with a peacock feather inside. Mugs, tote bags, key chains and T-shirts are always nice to sell and/or give a way at the event. The list for book swag is endless.

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Remember, you don’t have to go overboard spending. How much you want to and can spend on your party and swag is up to you. But you might want to start planning and saving for your big event to make it special and memorable. You deserve to have a great book release party!

Did you have your party already? Online and/or offline, share your ideas and photos with the rest of us!

Here are some good sites to check out:

Party City 

Factory Card and Party Outlet

How to Create Swag Bags for Parties

Red Carpet Store

Stickers Banners

Staples

Discount Mugs

Your Book–Keep Marketing Momentum High

For new authors, the task of getting the word out about a current WIP or an upcoming release comes complete with a separate set of worries than that of writing, drafting and editing. Marketing and promo sounds fun. Some of us start the planning stages before we have the finished product. And that’s a good thing–to know what direction you want to go in, but keeping that momentum up during and after is the trick.

Is it enough to simply outline, list what you want and make the proper inquiries? Sure. If that’s your only goal at the time. Having a more strategic plan would be a good way to go or the “Piece Plan” as I like to call it. I had my “Piece Plan” ready and took off from the ground running with it back in late 2009 through 2010 and most of 2011. There was a whole strategy planned out before I finished book one and each piece of the plan had its own spot on my calender. Can you guess what happened? That’s right, momentum went down with the ship–of setbacks and plenty other tedious details.

Wait for it…then comes the realization of new complexities. Now, the marketing and promo thing becomes confounded by the jumbled ways to do it, rolling around inside your head like tiny marbles hitting the wall. “I’m a writer damn it!” you say, shaking your fists and hanging your head low. Ideally, and from new experience, the golden tip is having your manuscript finished, completely finished. A 2-3 month projected release date after manuscript is finished = time+productivity.

What’s that you say? I don’t have time. Sure you do. Remember, you’re finished with your manuscript and have a release date. This part, I learned from my friend Jennings Wright. She has formulas for time. Now this may not be exactly the way she does it, but the premise is there. If you work a regular job, simply give yourself a few extra weeks from your projected release date+amount of writing time you used per day working on manuscript and this = more time+more productivity for your campaign.

If you opt to work on some marketing/promos while you’re still writing the book, jotting down ideas is best until you finish the first couple of drafts. On a side note, putting your writing away when you hit a wall and pulling out your list of ideas can help reignite that writing flow.

Here are some quick tips to keep the fire burning and the task of marketing and promo fun and relatively stress-free:

1) Have fun with it at every stage!

2) Start your list of things you want to use in your marketing/promo campaign, the bigger the better, baby. This keeps a level of excitement cooking. Have fun with it!

3) Do your research. Have fun with it!

4) Make folders to put corresponding ideas and paperwork into or buy a few decorative tablets. You can also use a nice thick journal and add tabs to keep things in order. This will make your starting point more complete. Use bright, cheery, even metallic colors. Anything to keep that excitement rolling. Hell, use black or gray if those colors pop for you. Have fun with it!

5) Finally, your campaign should be ready to piece together. Do it in bites as to not overwhelm. Put your inner Pacman/Ms. Pacman to rest. Have fun with it!

If you start to feel like you’re running out of steam or experiencing setbacks, pop in a movie, watch a show that is similar to what you’re working on, take a walk, a hike, do something relaxing. This usually helps to spark the excitement again. Have fun with it!