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How Do I Throw a Book Launch Party?

Aug 11, 2021

Know That It Won't Sell Books 

Bad news first: your party, no matter how awesome, won't help with book sales (unless the party is at a local book store but even then, you can only count on so many). Chances are, you'll actually be giving books away! So why do it? Because it's fun. Because you deserve to be celebrated. And because why not? So what are some ways to do it?

Rent a Venue

For Party Girl, I rented out the top floor of a (sadly now gone) restaurant next to Book Soup for the few hours after my book signing there. It was fun. It was an investment. I got great photos. End of story.

For my second book, Bought, I threw a party at a New York restaurant and that's when I started to wise up. Yes, I got lovely photos, yes I got to celebrate, yes it even got some press but it was a lot of trouble to go to for not a terrific payoff. And so I thought: I need to have a party that attracts a lot more buzz!

And so, for my next book, Reality Matters, I coerced some genuine reality stars (from The Bachelor, The Real World, Sober House and more) to show up and rallied to get the press there. Again, a lot of trouble for not a huge payoff. So figure out why you're doing your party and whether or not the planning is going to be fun. I'm a slow learner so it took me three times to realize I didn't think it was fun. For my next few books, I didn't do any parties.

But really, I concluded...

It's a Great Idea for Your First Book 

That's why we offer what we call a VIP Launch for clients of ours who want to come out to LA to get the celebrity treatment. We get the press there, we gather a crowd, we even get a red carpet featuring their book cover and secure meetings for them with movie and TV producers to discuss the viability of their book as a movie or TV show. My feeling is: if you can afford it and someone else is going to do the leg work, go for it! 

And Then There's the Marie Forleo Way

In many ways, Forleo was the first online marketer—and she's certainly the most glamorous. Her first book was called How to Make Every Man Want You and her husband is an actor who’s been on Sex and the City, for God's sake!

As legend has it, she was a bartender who started her mailing list by asking people who came in for drinks to sign up on a notebook. And she’s managed to not only show people how online businesses are done, get endorsed by Oprah and make millions in the process but also to incorporate her myriad interests (hip hop dancing anyone) into her business.

You get it: she doesn’t just break the rules; she makes new ones. And so when she was figuring out how to launch her book Everything is Figureoutable, she basically pulled an Erika Jayne: declaring herself a stage presence.

And she pulled it off, selling nearly 2,000 tickets for her New York launch, with people flying in from 42 states and 21 countries.

What'd she do? She danced! "Imagine," as she put it, "if a Beyoncé concert and a TED talk had a baby, then threw a block party."

Then she took it on the road, securing famous friends in every city to help bring the hype— Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach in Orlando, Chase Jarvis in Seattle and Brene Brown in Houston. She and her team went on to London and Australia.

Did it work? Well, the book became a #1 New York Times bestseller. Was that solely because of her Beyonce-like tour? Surely not. But it sure looks like that made the trip to the top fun.



A Play-by-Play Breakdown of How Rachel Hollis Launches a Book

Neal Pollack on How He Launched His Book 



"Your party, no matter how awesome, won't help with book sales. Chances are, you'll actually be giving books away! So why do it?"