Tips for a Successful Facebook Book Launch party

I just had my third book launch party on Facebook and as with every experience I learned a few new things. This time I shared the spotlight with three other authors. And each of them has multiple books out. Sharing the time is much different than doing it all my lonesome. We get the advantage of the other authors fans coming to our shared party. The Cowboys is a four-author novella collection.  We divided the party in four parts. Each of us taking an hour. We all provide prizes for giveaways and purchased a grand prize together.

Whether you’re part of a group or it’s your lone book the launch is focused on here are a few tips.

Choose a date

When planning your facebook party decided on the date you want to celebrate and allow time to post the upcoming event all over your social media.  Create an event page. (more on these below).

Talk it up

I went live on FB to chat about the book and what we would be doing at the party. (Facebook live is new for me.) The more I do it, I’m bound to get better. It helps people to see me as more than just print on the page.

Create a banner

Canva and PicMonkey have templates specially for FB so your banner is sized correctly when it’s created. You can ask or hire someone with more experience to create the banner for you. Use a version of the banner to create an event on Facebook. The event template is self-explanatory. Take time to peruse it before you start putting the info in. I’ve miesed it up getting in a hurry. Once it is created post it on your author page. Add links to other groups (if allowed). People can RSVP right on the event.

Time

Choose a time that will give you maximum exposure. I’ve done Wednesdays and Fridays. This last one was a Thursday evening. Depending on your target audience you want the time to be easy for others. 3-5 or 6-8 for a single book launch. (This is my choice, but others may prefer a different time.) An afternoon for a multi-author party. Make sure you clarify the time zone as well. Talk to others who write in your genre for their suggestions for times.

Prizes

Purchase fun prizes and post pictures online of those prizes ahead of time. This builds excitement. In choosing gifts consider how easily the item will be to ship. I had to find an odd-shaped box for a plaque I mailed. Some people stick with gift cards. You can offer your book in either e-book or paperback or both as prizes. It’s up to you. The prizes are to stimulate platform growth. The chances to win increase as the party goers subscribe to your newsletter or social media. My novel Secrets & Charades, happen to be free on Amazon in e-book the day of the book launch for The Cowboys. One woman immediately jumped on that opportunity.

 

The party is about more then your present book.

If your visitors interact that is awesome. I posted about the background for my book and the what if moment. Readers love to know what brought you to your setting and plot. Asking open ended questions can get a string of convo going. Linda asked if anyone had ever lived in Kansas. Jen asked for people to share a memory about their siblings after she share her own. We posted pictures of the characters and asked for feedback.

 

These types of questions give the participants more chances to comment. I like to ask multiple choice questions about my story. That gives people a chance to give a guess even if they’ve never read it, and sparks interest in the book.

 

Get your Street team involved.

Your street team is a group of readers who want to support you and step in to help where they can. Have them jump in to start conversations. once they do others will follow. Those who have read your book can mention how much they enjoyed it. They might ask their own questions that give you a chance to respond.

Share a portion of your book

I chose to read my first chapter at the last two parties. I went live rather than record it. That’s my preference. Jen did an excellent job recording hers. Recording would make me more nervous.  Offering the first page as a post works too, if reading live or recording is way out of your wheelhouse. Nothing says you can’t  get a friend who reads well to do it for you. People love to be read to, they really do. It sparks interest in finding out what happens next. We sold copies during the party based on the readings for sure.

And one thing I’d recommend is posting before the event on the event page are a few simple instructions. Remind them to click the discussion bar to see the event unfold. Then add a line about refreshing the page often. Otherwise people won’t stay long because they get frustrated when they can’t see all the posts. Or if they came later they may not know the party takes place in the discussion area.

A final note for after the party

Leave the party page open for 24 hours and encourage anyone who missed it live to go ahead and read through the posts. They can add comments and still be put in drawings. No one needs to lose out.

Hope what I shared helps you in your future Facebook launch parties. Have any of you done Facebook launch parties? Share in the comments things you’ve learned.

 

 

 

12 Steps for a successful Live Book Launch Party

 

Book launch party are a great way to grow your platform and meet new fans. It’s a fun way to get the word out about your latest release and of course sell books. Last Friday I had a great time with my latest launch party. So, I thought I’d share some tips for those getting ready to do their first one.

Swag giveaways at live book launches are so much fun. Aspiring writer Isabelle LaPapa won this plague.

 

  • Set the book launch date far enough from the actual release to ensure your book order arrives in plenty of time. Preordering allows them to be mailed immediately on release day. No need to fret about shipping problems.

 

  • Choose a setting that is conducive for book sales. If you choose a restaurant, try to arrange for a private space. The same with the library. If your church supports the arts that’s a great space to use. Some authors have the event at their homes. Decorate your book table to theme that is eye-catching.

 

  • Create invitation cards to pass out to friends and co-workers before the event. Preferably professional made glossy cards. This is not a baby shower. Personal invitations are great not only for those not on social media, but it gives the event some class. Print shops can create what you envision given enough advance notice.

Be sure to create a virtual flyer to circulate on your social media. Build the hype at least a week ahead. If you aren’t tech savvy and artsy find friends or family member to help you. If you’ve hired a marketing person they will do this for you.

 

  • Gather any street team members who are local to lean a hand. It’s less stressful if others are helping with refreshments, decorating and book sales. For those unfamiliar with the term street team, these are fans who support your work through reviews, and talking about your books to others. They come alongside and help promote on social media. And if they live nearby they are often willing to lend a hand for local events.

 

  • Be sure you have bookmarks, postcards and other materials available. There will be those few who come out of curiosity and may buy your book later. Plus adding a bookmark to a book purchase keeps your name before the reader.

 

 

  • Have swag for giveaways. Swag should match the theme, unless it’s a gift card. When I had my historical romance, Secrets & Charades, book launch I gave away handcrafted lavender soap, tea, and a journal, among other things my heroine used during the story. My contemporary romance New Duet had different giveaways such as plaques with verses representing the story and gift cards. My latest release Healing Hearts part of the Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys I found a few plaques, a cup and a paperweight with cowboy themes on them. Have a basket to toss the entries in and plenty of pens available.

 

  • Have a signup sheet available for your e-newsletter. While they are filling out their entry they can sign up. Having the two next to each other makes it easy.

 

  • Have a nice pen for autographs. Thin tipped sharpies work well. Decide ahead of time what your signature line will be. Best wishes, a verse or saying, the tagline from your book, your brand tagline. Knowing ahead what you are going to write saves times and less chances for errors. Always ask how people spell their name. Kathy isn’t Cathy and some might prefer a nickname or autographed to someone else.
  • Take lots of pictures of the event to post on social media before, during and after the event. People seeing photos the event on social media may be inspired to purchase a copy online.

 

  • Have a designated time where everyone gathers to hear you tell the what if moment and backstory things, research etc. about your book. Read from your book. Yes, people love it. If you are a poor reader, practice reading the passage in advance so you can do it smoothly. Then have a time of Q&A. This is where your street team comes in handy. They can start the questions. Once someone begins others will follow. Q & A is my favorite part of the evening.

    Debbie is one of my biggest fans. She won a plague and asks wonderful questions during the Q & A time.

  • Have a Square to take debit cards and plenty of change for cash customers. Be sure the locations Wi-Fi or your phones hotspot is working correctly before the event, so sales go smoothly.

 

  • Have fun, interact with your guest, and thank them all for coming.

 

The Cowboys now available click here to order.

Do you have other tips you’d like to add?

 

 

 

 

What’s a Harvey Girl? and a Giveaway

Linda Yezak is the final author I’m featuring from the novella collection The Cowboys. It releases today and I love having Linda round out the collection. She’s a Selah Award winner and loves all things western.

When I asked her to tell us about her research for writing Loving a Harvey Girl she graciously let me repost an excellent one she’d already written on the subject. Her excitement mirrored my own at being ask to be a part of the collection. Take it away, Linda.

When the managing editor for Smitten Historical (a Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint) asked me to join in a collection of historical romances, I got excited. I’ve always wanted to write a historical. I’ve even delved into it a time or two with Slider, published in The Saturday Evening Post’s collection of short stories and an unpublished short story called Masquerade.

The as yet untitled story I’m working on now fits in with my series of contemporary western romances, except it’s a historical western romance. Things aren’t that different—cows, cowboys, and the girls they give their hearts to—but they’re different enough that I need to research. I was flipping through MSB’s Time Life collection called “The Old West,” and found reference to the Harvey Girls. Immediately I had my story idea involving a cowboy and a Harvey Girl. I’ve never heard of the Harvey Girls, so of course I jumped on the internet and did a quick search until I found a great article about them plus a vimeo of an interview with a latter-day Harvey Girl.

Along with these resources, I found one more. Not long ago, PBS did a series called “Texas Ranch House,” in which 21st Century Californians came to run a 19th Century ranch in Texas. Several folks from all over the US came to join the experience. Everything for this ranch was supposed to be authentic to 1867, after the Civil War, when cattle roamed the ranges free of ownership. But Fred Harvey didn’t start his Harvey House hotels and restaurants until the 1880s, so I have to make time adjustments. Still, the PBS series is vital because it shows life on the 19th Century ranch, and as I said, very little has changed. They still needed pens and chutes, range and water, and the men necessary to work it all in 1887 as they did in 1867.

So there’s my research start: books, internet, videos. From these I can learn setting details; character descriptions; clothing, kitchen items, and everyday articles of use; attitudes of the time; hazards of the time—lands, with these three resources, I can learn everything I need to know to write a romance novella set in the 1880s.

Using the resources I have at hand, I study and observe, noticing everything I can in the pictures and videos and looking up terms I’m unfamiliar with. I went so far as to figure out what an 1880 barbershop looked like and what all a barber did, because one scene takes place in a barber shop.

The trick with research is not using in your book everything you learned. Doesn’t that sound odd? But it’s true—as you study your era, setting, and culture, the temptation is to show off your new knowledge for your reader. This kind of info dump (or research dump, as I call it) bogs down the novel and bores the reader. So use of the information is the same as in any novel: you reveal what you’ve learned through the character’s daily activities.

I learned some fun things about the 19th Century barber shop, but instead of describing them to the reader, I let my character, Cal Hardy, do it:

Walter Neville swept up what looked like a half pound of hair and sent a stream of tobacco juice toward the spittoon. “’Afternoon, Cal. Be right with ya.”

“Ain’t in no hurry.” Cal rubbed his jaw and studied the handwritten sign over Walt’s new National cash register. Walt had gone up two bits on both hair cut and shave—three bits on a bath. And heaven help anyone who needed a tooth pulled.

So, on the off chance someone didn’t know that the barbers also served as dentists, now they do. They can also see the progress of technology through the cash register. NCR was founded in 1884, and one of the earliest Harvey Houses was built in Ladonia, Texas, in 1887, and Ladonia is close to Fort Worth, one of the cattle capitals of Texas, complete with stockyards which were built in 1887. Now we know the era of my setting.

I can know all this about when the stockyards were built, when NCR released its cash registers, etc., but it’s not necessary that my reader does. I want my reader to feel immersed in the time and culture, not educated about it. If she learns while she’s being entertained, so much the better. And if I can convince hardcore Texas history buffs that I did my research, so much the better still! But I’m a novelist, not the author of a history textbook, so my goal is to entertain and enlighten through the stories I tell. Research dumps have no place in Historical Romances.

More about Linda:

Linda W. Yezak lives with her husband and their funky feline, PB, in a forest in deep East Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She has a deep and abiding love for her Lord, her family, and salted caramel. And coffee—with a caramel creamer. Author of award-winning books and short stories, she didn’t begin writing professionally until she turned fifty. Taking on a new career every half century is a good thing.

 

Website: http://lindawyezak.com

Newsletter: http://dld.bz/CoffeewithLinda

Facebook: Author Page

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/lyezak/

Twitter: @LindaYezak

Amazon Page: http://dld.bz/LWYAmazonPage

Goodreads: Linda W Yezak

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/linda-w-yezak

Blurb: Loving a Harvey Girl

Eva Knowles can’rt imagine why the local preacher doesn’t like Harvey Girls–women who work serving tables instead of finding a husband and falling in love. But if Eva can get the handsome and wayward cowboy Cal Stephens to join her in church, maybe the reverend will accept the girls. Or maybe she’ll forfeit her job for a husband, hearth and home!

Don’t forget this is the last chance to enter to win a $10 Amazon card. You simple post here who your favorite cowboy is or anything you’d like to say about cowboys. If you haven’t commented on the other three posts about this collection go to mine, Jennifer’s and Sandy’s to add your comments for more chances to win and learn more details about the collection. I’ll be posting the winner next Thursday, August 22nd.

 

Sandra Melville Hart shares a bit of History about Abilene, Kansas

In case you missed my previous posts my latest release is part of Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys. I’m one of four authors in this collection that releases August 15th. Today I’ve asked Sandra Melville Hart, another author from the collection to give us a peek into her story Trail’s End setting.

Trail’s End set in Abilene

by Sandra Merville Hart

My brother married a Kansas girl and moved to that beautiful state soon after their marriage. On a family vacation to Kansas, we visited Abilene.

The town had been a wild Cowtown in its early days. Wild Bill Hickok was the marshal of Abilene in 1871. My sister-in-law had ancestors who lived there. One of them was friends with Wild Bill—what a surprise!

I learned a little history of the wild western town and wanted to learn more. Who knew that a family vacation would spark an idea for a future book? I had put aside my dream of writing years before. When my editor asked me to write a cowboy story set in the West, my imagination flew to Abilene.

Research held many surprises. The town was so wild that it had a hard time keeping a marshal. Some hired at breakfast left by suppertime.

When town leaders offered the position to Tom Smith, the lawman rode the streets. He then accepted the job on one condition—the cowboys had to be disarmed.

In 1870, Marshal Smith asked storekeepers, saloon-keepers, and hotel owners to post signs and collect their customers’ guns. His rule made the town a safer place.

This strong man so inspired me that I set my story in 1870 and gave him a small part in it. I love using actual historical characters in my stories. It brings them to life for me—and hopefully for my readers.

Sandra’s bio:

Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Sandra Merville Hart loves to uncover little-known yet fascinating facts about our American history to include in her stories A Musket in My Hands, a Civil War romance where two sisters join the Confederate army with the men they love, is 2019 Serious Writer Medal Fiction Winner and a 2019 Selah Award Finalist. A Rebel in My House, set during the historic Battle of Gettysburg, won the 2018 Silver Illumination Award and second place in 2018 Faith, Hope and Love Readers’ Choice Award. Her debut Civil War Romance, A Stranger On My Land, was IRCA Finalist 2015. Her novella, Surprised by Love in “From the Lake to the River” is set during the 1913 flood in Troy, Ohio. Trail’s End, in “Smitten Novella Collection: The Cowboys” released August 15, 2019.

Find her on her blog, https://sandramervillehart.wordpress.com/.

Trail’s End Blurb

Wade Chadwick has no money until his boss’s cattle sell, so he takes a kitchen job at Abby’s Home Cooking. The beautiful and prickly owner adds spice to his workday. Abby Cox hires the down-and-out cowboy even though the word cowboy leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Just as she’s ready to trust Wade with her heart, money starts to disappear … and so does her brother. Buy link

Don’t forget I’m having a giveaway of $10 Amazon Card from one lucky commenter. Answer my question who’s your favorite cowboy or make any comment about cowboys you would like. The comment has to appear on the blog to qualify. You can go back to my blog post and Jennifer’s and post and read more about The Cowboys and have two more chances to enter. Thursday is release day Yahoo!! and I’ll have a repost from Award -winning author Linda W. Yezak the fourth contributor to our collection. That will give you one more chance to enter my giveaway.

 

Shameless Self-promotion

For introverted authors one of the most painful things to do is self-promotion, It’s a key part of the business of writing. Not every word out of our mouths should be some form of buy my book.

But writers must speak the words:

New book available

My book won an award

Best-seller

Top ten

If you read that genre consider my novel

All these comments can be mention on social media without  looking someone in the eye. Even that can be a challenge. I prefer to promote others and not myself. It’s not easy to encourage others to buy my books. But I must.

The ratio of book promotion to other things on social media is said to be 1in 5 or 1-7. This means one social media post to every 5 or 7 posts should be buy my product (books). All the other posts can vary from a reference to the content of your books, i.e. story behind the story, research tidbit or interesting side note. The other posts can be pictures of your new shoes, dinner or old family photos. The same with blog posts, it’s okay to shamelessly promote your books as long as there is balance.

 

This post has two announcements that are shameless self-promoting.

 

My contemporary romance New Duet was a finalist in the 2019 Selah Awards. And New Duet placed second in Serious Writers fiction category. I’m glad I took the risk and entered the contests. Here’s the link to New Duet. It’s also available in audio and e-book format.

Cyle Young presented me with the 2019 Second Place Fiction Serious Writer Award for New Duet.

 

Next announcement

My newest project Smitten Historical Romance Collection: The Cowboys has my novella Healing Hearts along with three other author’s wonderful stories. We all love cowboys, so the stories were fun to write.

Here is the link to pre-order it. Pre-orders help with sales ranks on Amazon on release day August 15th. If you love historical romance and cowboys pre-order at great price.

 

I promise to keep my self-promotion to a minimum in  future posts. If you’ve been following me, you know I love promoting other authors and sharing writerly things. Subscribe to Jubilee Writer and you’ll receive an email every time a new post is available. And don’t forget to buy my books. 😊