I recently launched my eighth novel, Three Strand Cord, and decided to add a new dimension to my launch day plans. I hosted a Facebook party! While this may not be new to some, it was new to me. I had participated in an authors’ online party before as part of a promotion that one of my publishers held, but I had never actually hosted an event like this on my own. I was nervous. What if nobody showed up?
Thankfully, lots of people did attend and I think we had a pretty good time. In fact, with the amount of interaction going on, I had my hands full keeping up! At the end of the evening, I felt quite satisfied with the results. (Not to mention, I was exhausted.) I believe advance planning was key to the success of the event.
Beforehand I lined up about 10 giveaways to offer during the course of the five-hour event. Then I created a script of sorts that would keep me on track. All I needed to do was copy and paste from my master document, saving me a lot of time and fluster during the launch itself. I started the evening with a FB live video, another first for me, and then I went to the prepared script.
My plan was to post something new every 10-15 minutes. Over a five-hour span, this meant I needed to come up with between 25-30 word bytes to share. These included links to the book launch landing page, blog post, and special incentives for buying the book during the launch. Some were just fun facts about me or the book I was launching. Sprinkled in were all the prizes I was giving away.
Usually, I asked a question in order to enter each person’s name into the prize draw. Some questions were related to the book. Other times, they were just fun questions like, “Which do you prefer? Star Wars or Star Trek?” (This was to win a science fiction book.)
Sometimes I asked them to do something else in order to enter. For instance, once I provided a tweet and then asked them to share the tweet and then return to the party and type “done” under the prize listing. Another time I asked them to share the blog post about the launch and then type “shared” under the prize listing.
The most popular questions were ones that asked for an opinion and we really got some rigorous dialogue going! I included pictures where appropriate and I also alerted attendees to the closing time of each prize as well as the winners.
I had to learn other new things like how to pin a post to the top of a page. (Believe it or not, I’d never done that before.) I tried to “like” or comment on every single interaction that took place. I was kept quite busy for the entire five hours, scrambling between interacting with the attendees, putting up new posts, and alerting prize winners via private messenger as well as in the general thread.
The end result was very satisfying. Not only did the launch go well, but I learned how to host an online party! It was much less intimidating and much more fun than I had expected. As well, my doubts about the value of such events were laid to rest. I definitely plan to do one again sometime and have added “online party” to my arsenal of marketing strategies.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Tracy Krauss continues to write relentlessly from her home in northern BC, where she also teaches secondary school Art, Drama, and English. Visit her website for more about her many published books and plays. http://tracykrauss.com -fiction on the edge without crossing the line-