This is very easy to do and best set up via a Facebook Event.
On-line launches, also known as cyber launches can be great for inviting to your book launch a lot of people who are not geographically near to you, who are pressed for time or who don’t like travelling.
Use Evenbrite or Facebook Events to create the invite. Use your own time zone but make sure that is clear to everyone. You can make the event all day long or just restrict it to a couple of hours. If the latter, a good time is 6.30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Invite all of your friends and put it on your Facebook timeline and on Twitter at least once a day, at different times of the day. If you use Eventbrite you’ll need to create a Facebook page for the event as well. This page will remain active after the event. If you use a Facebook event, you might still like to create a page as well for post-party discussions and the party anyway is a great opportunity to invite people to like your page.
Prepare in advance
Get as much ready as you can in advance. Save all of your links into a file and all of your files into a folder. You can actually start posting ahead of the event. Whet your guests' appetite.
Make up about half a dozen questions to do with the book. The answers shouldn’t be only found in the book. They can be to do with the background of the book or easily look-up-able in the Look Inside bit on Amazon.
Here is an example for Salford Stories:
Pub quiz questions:
1. Look at the cover of the book. Where is this photo taken from?
2. Can you name a story that is to do with water?
3. Can you name a pub mentioned in the book? Hint: you don’t need to have read it yet.
4. Salford always was a very forward-looking city. It was the first to provide three public amenities. What were they?
5. Easy one now. Famous painter from Salford. Hint: look at the pictures in the "Dirty Old Town" video. And Salford's theatre?
6. Here's a tricky one: why is the Ship Canal called the Manchester Ship Canal when most of it's in Salford? There are many acceptable answers.
Notice how number 6 is a tie-breaker?
Notice also how there is also a subtle call to action here. The link on the title of the book takes them straight to the Amazon page.
If you’re working on an anthology, encourage each contributor to offer one prize and one question. Suggestions for prizes: another of the writer’s books, stationery, an object to do with the theme of the story, a service.
Assign each guest a number as they come into the “room”. About twenty minutes before the end use a random number generator to pick a number. Again, if working with an anthology, you should be able to get a lot of prizes. However, don't offer this book as a prize. You may prevent people from buying it. Offer something from your back list or perhaps a short story. Or you might have some merchandise – a mug or T-shirt with your book cover on.
- Find music that goes with your book.
- Find excerpts of films that are similar
- Post a few extracts of your text. Imagine doing one five minute reading every hour.
- Give some back ground to the book – just as you would if you were chatting live at a party.
Food and drink
This sounds a little crazy, I know. But yes, post up pictures of the food and drink you would like to offer at this party. It helps to set the mood and you never know if you put up a picture of something your viewer fancies and they go and find that or something similar, they might be more inclined to stay longer and buy a copy of the book. Take care as always about copyright. Free pictures are available from Pixa Bay
Call to action
Make it easy for your visitors to buy the book. Avoid “Buy Now” buttons though you can have one of those on your Facebook page. Perhaps have a pinned notice at the top of your Facebook event or page linking to Amazon and every time you mention the book create another hyperlink.
How to be a host
Try to respond to every comment. If it gets hectic, at least “like” comments. If it’s slow, try to post something new at least every ten minutes for a short launch, every twenty for minutes for a longer one. You can also post on your Facebook timeline and your Twitter feed reminding your followers of the invite.
Give a good sense of starting and ending the party just as you would in real life.
How to be a guest
You don’t need to be there the whole of the time but do pop in. If you intend to buy your friend’s book, this is probably a good time to do it. Seeing the sales go up will boost her morale. You can set your Facebook to notify you of all messages and you can get on with something else, only responding to what really interests you. You can also of course take along a contribution to the food or drink. Again use Pixa Bay.
Make this a real opportunity to network. Invite your guests to sign up for your newsletter / mailing list. Do you have one? I recommend Mailchimp. The free account goes a long way and by the time you need to pay you can probably more than afford it.