Friday, May 13, 2016

Party Time!

Hey everyone! I hope you were able to read the three most recent Word Painters articles, where Caitlin, John, and William shared their fascinating experiences with the Oxford Creative Writing Masterclass taught by Douglas Bond.

My article is about something completely different, but similarly sparked by a recent experience. For the first time, I helped host a Facebook launch party for an author friend of mine. She was releasing her five novels in print editions (instead of solely eBooks). Those of you who have Facebook have probably been invited to Facebook events, where a group of people online converge on a single page at a specific time for a specific purpose. Informative posts are put up, where participants can comment, carry on conversations, and enter giveaways for prizes. 

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This was the first Facebook launch party I attended in its entirety. I learned a lot about how they work! If you’re a host, you’re usually an author with one or more books to promote. Normally the author gets hosts who write the same genre as the author, but this isn’t necessary. But it is nice when the supporting authors tie in their books with the author’s. For example, I write contemporary fiction, while the friend I helped writes light fantasy. So I mentioned that my protagonist is the type of girl who’d love to read my friend’s books. But because my contemporary stuff is so unlike her fantasy, most of my posts only promoted my friend’s books. I was blessed, however, that some partygoers were interested enough to enter my giveaway for e-copies of my two novels.

For giveaway entries, you can ask the participants to leave a comment on your giveaway post, or to do something like “like” your public Facebook page or sign up for your author newsletter. You can leave the giveaways open until the end of the party, the end of the day, or sometime in the future—all the hosting authors in my friend’s party left their giveaways open until the following Monday, two days later. Besides books, you can also give away items that have something to do with your book, or maybe something for booklovers in general. You can select winners via any online random number generator, or by the old-fashioned way of drawing names from a box.

Besides giveaways, other posts for your launch party could include excerpts, trivia, photos, illustrations, questions, quizzes, name games…basically whatever can catch people’s interest and get them excited about your book(s), whether that’s the book being launched or the book(s) of a host. It’s a good idea to make this conversational or participatory, because people love to answer questions or find things out about themselves! Posting every five minutes or so keeps momentum high.

The hosts in my party switched out every half hour. A leader (this could be the author who’s releasing books) introduced each author and kept things on schedule. She also began and ended the party. This party was 3 hours, 45 minutes long, but it can be any length you want. People don’t have to be online when the party’s going on to participate. Leaving the giveaways open for a couple of days encourages people to check in at the party even if they couldn’t be there while it was live. The more people who attend the party, the more exposure your book gets.

Helping run this Facebook party was a great opportunity for me to chat with other book-lovers and learn more about my author friend’s novels. Thankfully, word got out to many people about her novels, people who would otherwise not have known or cared. It’s like an online book signing!

Have you ever participated in a Facebook launch party, either as a host or a guest? What did you like about it?

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog

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