So who says in-store signings should be the only parties? I know you’re insanely jealous of your author friends’ big release parties at those Big & Nice bookstores. Because I’m totally jealous of them. But guess what? You can have a release party too. True, it won’t involve signing books with your special purple pen, but you can still meet your readers and celebrate your new release.
How? Through one of the wonders of modern technology: chat rooms. Chances are, if you’re published through an eBook publisher or another small press, they have a chat room set up already. If you can schedule a time there, that’s best. However, be sure to check with the appropriate people in charge at your publisher (marketing team, whatever) to make sure you’re not conflicting with any other scheduled chats.
If your publisher doesn’t have a chat room or, for some reason, you can’t schedule time in your publisher’s chat room, consider using mIRC or another chat client. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you get it, it’s not too difficult.
Now that you’ve got a place, be sure to choose a reasonable time. Think about where your readers are located and what times they will be able to chat with you. If you’ve got readers in California but you’re in New York, schedule later in the evening so the Cali people have time to get home from work, for example.
Some other ideas: Consider a group release party. Are there other authors sharing your release date at your publisher? See if they would like to be involved. Do you have some author friends who’ve all had books published recently? Gather em up. As long as you have time to devote a little bit of the chat to every book, you’re good. I wouldn’t go for more than four people who are promoting books, but that’s a personal preference, of course.
The actual party will require a little bit of planning as well. Here’s how I’d do it: Begin by posting a blurb and a link for the book. Tell a little background on the book and then open the floor for questions. Finish by having a contest where chatters can win a copy of the book, or some other prize you’ve determined. If you have more than one author, you’ll probably need to designate someone as a moderator to time things and keep everything moving so that you’ll all have equal opportunity to promote.
Whew. Almost done. What’s the most important thing about having a party? Let people know about it! You’re going to have to do some advertising, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost money. Start by designing an ad. I like to use Google’s AdSense dimensions as a jumping-off point to figure out how big I should make my ads.
Now post it everywhere! On your email loops and newsletter, on your blog, on your message boards— everywhere you can think of. Don’t forget to talk it up to your fellow authors and your family and friends. There’s a built-in support group right there.
One last thing: Have fun! Rarely do we get to be the center of attention, so you might as well enjoy it when you are the center of attention!