Ever done a virtual book launch party through a Facebook group? How has that gone? I’ve attended a few, some were OK – most were…not a lot of fun. However, this last week I joined a friend’s Jamberry nails Facebook party. I’ve never had a manicure. I paint my nails black and am done with it — however, even I was participating for prizes in this group because it was so well done. This is something I’m seeing a lot more of from these home-based businesses, but this was a stellar online party with lots of participation IMHO.
I thought I’d share some of the best parts of this party and how authors can adapt some of these ideas for their own release or book launch party.
Use A Lot Of Images
This party incorporated a lot of images. Collages worked really well, but every question asked of the group and game was in an image. Now, images tend to get better reach on Facebook, so that is one aspect to consider. Also, it was super easy at a glance to see what the game was about and how I could participate. Even the game rules were all image-based as well. Here are a couple of images they used (I’m sharing with permission).
Below is an image from the Guess the Sesame Street character game. This is a clever branding trick. They are using their own products to help you play the game — all colour coordinated for those of us who find that particular skill a challenge.
Stay on Brand
This is pretty important. Every image you share in your launch party group should incorporate something about you – the author, or your book or series in some way. Is your character a book worm? A movie buff? If you’re one of those writers who has an entire backstory for your main characters, now might be a good time to pull a few things from that to get your readers guessing (don’t be too obscure though). Remember to always add value. How can this info help them further enjoy the book or test their knowledge? You might not be able to do this with every image, but it’s a goal.
How would you do that as an author?
Why not make a collage and get launch party attendees guess the character? Guess a character’s favourite book, piece of music, pet, or vacation spot. Guess the character by their wardrobe? Have a character who’s a cop, a firefighter, a bartender — the possibilities are endless. Here’s one that might work for you — Guess which would be Grandpa Joe’s idea of a good vacation spot: Hawaii, Ireland, Kenya, or New York City.
Here’s a collage to guess a main character in the series I’m writing right now. I used free clipart and images from Unsplash.com and put it together in fotojet.com (you can buy that ring on etsy here.) I find fotojet easier for collages than canva.com but I’m a big fan of canva too. (No affiliate links.)
(The answer is Aralyn)
Whatever games you play, require public participation (within the group). Don’t let the only interaction be a private message. Create games that require people to comment. As more people comment, Facebook notifies other group members of the interaction essentially shouting — hey look, these people are having fun. Go check it out! However, the more participation you require, the fewer people will respond. Most people will leave a comment. The Jamberry party had a household photo scavenger hunt and I didn’t see as many participating in that.
People are busy
Remember that people are busy and restricting the party to just one night might mean people who are really passionate about your book will miss out. This Jamberry party lasted for a week. Every day the hostess had a new game to play. You had all day to play, though most of the interaction was in the evening. If you have readers in multiple time zones, don’t leave anyone out. At the same time though if you are only available in the evenings, for instance, be up front about that and let people know they can play all day but that you’ll be there at a certain time. Especially if this is a party that will stretch out over a week or a couple of days, no one expects you to sit at your computer 24/7.
You don’t have to offer extravagant rewards, or even rewards that require you to mail things unless you want to. What do readers want? What would be a valuable gift to them? Maybe you buy 5 $5 gift cards for Amazon or something? What about discount codes for the upcoming release? A signed book? A visit to a book club via Skype or other technology? How about a fanfic type short story about a character of their choice? Maybe they can win the chance to have you use their first name in the next book?
What tips would you offer about running a book launch or release party via Facebook group? Can you guess the Sesame Street character from above?
P.S. I’m releasing my first book for writers called 31 Days To A Facebook Platform in December. Sign up here so you know when it goes live!