When we published our second book during Covid we knew that our book launch was going to have to be online. Planning it took a lot of time and effort but it was really worth it. From announcing the event , promoting the tickets, inviting speakers, making posters to ensuring you have a nice flow of visuals and engaging content, we learnt some valuable tips that you might find useful for your virtual book launch.
Before the event
Watch videos of other book launches and get ideas for what might work for your book.
Think about the platform you are going to use. We looked at Facebook and Zoom and decided we were more comfortable with Zoom where we could share some slides. Consider recording the event for those who can’t attend.
Choose a time for the event and think how long it should be. People are on screens a lot so an hour is probably enough with an optional 30 minutes Q and A session for those who want to stay.
Decide early on who you would like to speak or read at your launch. If somebody is going to talk about your book, maybe agree to a time limit. It’s more engaging for your attendees to hear from a variety of people but keep things moving.
Promote your event a few weeks in advance and more regularly as the date gets closer. We used an Eventbrite link that we could repeatedly post on social media and include in an email. Create a nice image for your event and add a few teasers about what your attendees can expect (guest speakers, giveaways, music etc).
Set up your computer, lighting and audio equipment and check it all works.
What do you want your attendees to see and hear during the event? We created a vibrant PowerPoint presentation so that attendees always had something to look at (instead of just our faces on the screen). It was a good chance to add lots of photos and reviews from our readers.
Get some posters printed of the book to put on the wall behind you for an extra splash of colour when you’re on screen.
Give a short account of how you came to write your book and what inspired you. People like personal stories but keep it concise.
Think how you can introduce your guest speakers. Add a photo and information about them to a slide.
Intersperse readings from your book with personal reviews and endorsements (either pre-recorded clips or quotes on the screen).
Make sure your launch is accessible for everybody. Read the information on the screen if necessary.
Think how you can end on a positive note… you want people to feel they’ve had fun. We were lucky that somebody recorded a song for us. It was a lovely way to relax before the Q and A session.
Stick to your timing! People might arrive late but if you have a handful of attendees to start with, just leap in. As people join you can always recap on what has happened.
Smile! - it’s harder than you think on screen.
Our book was a collaboration between three authors so we could alternate who did what. It’s up to you how relaxed you are on screen and whether you’re happy to just go with the flow. In the end we choreographed it quite carefully so that we all knew who was doing what and in what order. It just worked for us and there was still a natural flow of conversation.
In our case, we had worried there might be technical glitches but that side of the event was fairly smooth. Depending on the number of attendees you have, you may want cameras turned off and mute on for all speakers but that’s up to you and your audience. We didn’t insist on this and in the recording of the launch we can hear people talking during the pre-recorded speech from one of our reviewers which is a shame.
Also, one of our key speakers arrived late which slightly threw us (considering we had drawn up a plan of who was speaking when). We had to quickly rearrange the order of things and ad lib a bit. Looking back, it really wasn’t a big deal but it is easy to be thrown off course when you suddenly find yourself on screen explaining what is - or isn’t - happening.
We all enjoyed our virtual book launch. Our attendees came from all around the country so choosing one location that suited everybody would have been virtually impossible. In many ways, the online format worked better for us.
For more information about our books and workshops, go to our website https://www.acrobat-global.com/