Building Narratives: How to Plan for a Book Launch

Generally, a book launch is an event whereby the author or writer or their public relations team invites a group of people and network under one roof to celebrate the birth of a newly released literary piece.

EARLIER this year, I penned an article titled “Is a book launch really necessary?”–in which I weighed the pros and cons of conducting a book launch following an author’s release or publication of a new literary piece.

I noted how if poorly planned, or conducted for the wrong reasons, book launches could lead to unnecessary financial constraints for first-time authors.

In this article, I shall break down the whole process of planning for a book launch including the checklists and key pointers to watch out for to those who may be planning to conduct a launch.

Generally, a book launch is an event whereby the author or writer or their public relations team invites a group of people and network under one roof to celebrate the birth of a newly released literary piece.

At the launch, the author will share the inspiration and the objective of their new book as well as conduct book signings during the book sales session to the gathered audience at the event.

In my consultation with first-time authors, I have discovered that not knowing how to go about and plan an incredible book launch is one of the biggest headaches which they encounter.

Knowing how to plan for a book launch is one of the underestimated ingredients for a pre-launch campaign which sets the centre stage of an effective marketing and publicity campaign which in essence becomes part and parcel of a book’s sales strategy.

Creating a Budget

One of my first recommendations to first-time authors intending to launch a book is to come up with an estimated budget which will give them an idea of the cost implications involved when launching a book. This will in turn inform them whether to proceed with the launch or not. This exercise could be in the form of calls and inquiries to service providers, from the venue hire to caterers and hunting for a good master of ceremonies and or moderator.

Finding a Venue

 Finding a venue should be the author’s first priority as the venue cost are the first port of call in creating the budget for the launch. The cost of the venue is dependent on one’s choice, one may opt for a modest venue that can be decorated to match the theme of the event whereas others such as accomplished people, professionals, CEO’s, those in business and politics with esteemed status in society may opt for prestigious venues such as hotels and conference centres with full catering services and designed to match their theme,taste or levels of elegance.

Getting a Team

Depending on the design or nature of the launch event, it is necessary to have a small team which will welcome guests and run several errands which enables the smooth flow of the event on the launch date.

Sending invites

Determining who will be at the book launch can be done through making the launch an open event especially for those who are not prominent and would be using their books to gain authenticity and amplify their brands whereas accomplished people such as CEO’s, those in business, politics and government, they may opt to send personalized invitation cards to selected guests and attendants.

Developing a broader Marketing Strategy

Depending on the design and nature of the book launch event, if one makes it an open event, there might be need to circulate various fliers of the event on WhatsApp. Accomplished people may opt for a low-key event and may necessarily develop a marketing strategy that is specifically tailor-made for their network so as to manage traffic.

For some, this strategy may entail making video trailers of the upcoming book, whereas depending on the nature of the event some may opt to play these during the launch event.

Organizing for a Printer

For those who would have self-published, one cannot have a book launch without having books. I remember attending a launch where the author had conducted a launch in a lavish hotel but had only printed very few copies which later ran out during the sales session. Having an adequate supply of books should be an author’s priority in the run-up to a launch.

Engaging an MC and/ or Moderator

Engaging an MC and or Moderator should be one of the top priorities to consider when launching a book. Just like a wedding, the MC will make the events special and get the audience and attendants to engage in the festivities of celebrating the newly released book. A moderator on the other hand may facilitate a Panel Discussion but again this is usually dependent on the design and nature of the event.


I have always likened a book launch to a wedding, we don’t expect it to be too academic, technical, sound monotonous, and boring, some entertainment is needed to cheer the audience up and keep them hyped up during the event.

Get the Picture

In all the celebrations, pomp and fanfare don’t forget to capture the memories in the form of either photos and videos.

These are some but not all of the checklist items that first-time authors or those who intend to launch their book for the first time need to look out for as they brace for the launch. The design and type of launch event varies according to the preferences of venue, taste, and theme.

  • Fungayi Antony Sox is a communications and publishing consultant who has advised and coached CEOs, entrepreneurs, start-up businesses, several institutions and organisations on all matters relating to brand storytelling, books, publications and events planning. For feedback contact him on 0776 030 949, connect with him on LinkedIn on Fungayi Antony Sox, or follow him on Twitter @AntonySox.


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