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The Ultimate Book Launch Party

literary agent Jeanne Fredericks and book writing coach Lisa Tener
Literary Agent Jeanne Fredericks and I ran into each other on our way in the door to the fantasmic studio of artist Hunt Slonem

I just returned from a trip to NY for the book launch party of The Creativity Cure by my clients Drs. Carrie and Alton Barron. The party had all the right ingredients:

– Free copies of a most fresh and fabulous book (more about why “free” is so important in a minute)

– Friends, colleagues, supporters of the authors from all walks of life–from their patients to   old and dear friends and colleagues

– Friends of friends–people who don’t know the authors but can help create buzz and spread the word

– The most creative space I have ever been in!

Hunt Slonem Book launch party
Near the center of Hunt Slonem's studio

Before I share some of the insider secrets to a successful book launch, I have to describe the 34th Street west side artist’s loft of Hunt Slonem, because it truly is perhaps the most imaginative and  playful space I’ve ever encountered.

The studio itself is about 20,000-25,000 square feet, with rooms upon open rooms filled with playful paintings, antiques and even antiquities, I believe.

Painting by hunt slonem
One of the many colorful parrot paintings of Hunt Slonem

I ran into my agent–and the Barrons’ as well–Jeanne Fredericks, as I came in the door. Well, not exactly a door. One of those industrial freight elevators that opens from the top and bottom at the same time.

We made our way over to the bar to rehydrate after travelling–literally, I drank about 3 glasses of water in under a minute. The bar at the East end of the studio was filled with cages upon stacked cages of parrots–I learned from the Internet, about 100 of them.

Here are five book launch party tips from Literary Agent Jeanne Fredericks:

Another corner of the artist's inspiring studio

1) Setting–Best if it can be well suited to the book as this one was since guests were surrounded by the colorful creations of a noted artist and some of the parrots and objects that inspire his creativity.  The entree via freight elevator also built anticipation for something different and adventurous, and the spaciousness of the gallery made it comfortable to move and mingle in a way that would have been difficult in a crowded, noisy restaurant space.

2) Guest list–Make it an eclectic collection of all the people who helped and inspired you. In this case, there were parents who helped with childcare and dear friends who spurred them on, to the book publishing people who made the book a reality, and leaders in the world of dance, art, and theater who inspired the authors.  The diversity of guests made it exciting to mingle.
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The authors, Drs. Carrie and Alton Barron, warmly greeting their agent, Jeanne Freericks

3) Make it personal–Being warmly greeted by the authors’ daughter, Chloe, grounded the event in a warm, familial atmosphere.  Alton and Carrie graciously greeted guests with warm hugs and gladly introduced guests to each other then later addressed the group in their own impromptu style that genuinely reflected their joy in having everyone come and their appreciation for so many who helped them on their way to publication.  By encouraging those thanked to make themselves known by raising their hand, the authors made a list of names become real people whom guests could later approach, knowing who they were.

the creativity cure book
Free books can help seed word of mouth sales

4) Generously offering books free to guests.  Though some participants claimed that they would have been happy to pay for them, this tangible way of thanking each guest was likely appreciated by all.  From a marketing point of view, this seeding of the market, could probably lead to greater sales in the long run.

5) Delicious food and a wide assortment of beverages, the backbone of every party, was enhanced by the friendliness of the staff who seemed truly interested in the book and its authors.
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And from Lauren Lavelle, Assistant Publicity Manager at Scribner:  “Don’t forget to thank those in your professional and personal worlds who helped usher the book into existence, but keep your remarks short!”
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Carrie Barron’s advice? Get a friend to help you throw the party. In this case, Alton’s friend, Greg threw the party with them and asked his friend, the artist Hunt Slonem, to host in his amazing studio. Greg helped with all the planning and contributed to the party’s success. So, think about who you know who throws a great party and, by all means, see if they’ll work with you on yours.
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Have any book launch party tips of your own? Or questions for the experts? Please comment and we’ll respond.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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Comments

    • Lisa Tener says

      Thanks, Margaret, I love this info-graphic you found–great humor and actually does give you a sense of how a book is born!

    • Lisa Tener says

      Ahmad, every book is different so it is hard to say specifics and I would say allow yourself to be guided by the material. However, to give you a ballpark, I would say an inspirational book can usually be anywhere from 100-250 pages. Your chapters could be anywhere from 1-15 or more pages, but for this type of book I’d try to aim for 12-15 max. Fewer is fine. So divide target number of pages by chapter length to get number of chapters. However, more important is what works organically for your material. Also, do try to have chapters be a similar length. If they vary too much it’s harder on your readers.

  1. Keith Miller says

    Lisa I love these tips. It’s so comforting to read them as my book launch party approaches for Love Under Repair on Feb 13. I especially like your idea of free books. I had thought of giving out free t-shirts and mugs with my blog logo on it for those that are willing to review the book on Amazon. But I think I’ll give out the t-shirts and mugs for all comers and make the book free for anyone that will review it. Then I’ll make a sticker to give them to wear at the party that says something like, “I’m writing a review on Amazon.” My hope is to get as many people as possible to write a review in the critical “first 48 hrs.”

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