This post is part report on my recent novel release party for my book Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, and part how-to so that other writers can replicate my success, or exceed it. I'll explain what I did and how the party went. Simply do the same for your next novel.
First, on my Facebook author page, I created an event. (If you don't have a Facebook author page, create one.) To create your event, go to your author page, click the "Events" link on the left, and click "Create Event."
Schedule the event to coincide with the release of your book. I set up the party two weeks early, to take place the day after the general release of Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, then shared it with as many of my friends as I could. I also shared it with relevant Facebook groups over the next two weeks, posting every few days. For me, that was steampunk, sci-fi, and western themed groups. Don't overdo it when posting to Facebook groups. If you post to too many too quickly, Facebook will restrict your posting privileges.
Why did I schedule mine for a day after release? Well, Bodacious Creed came out on a Friday, and I thought Saturday would be better for an all-day party.
The invitation looked like this.
You'll notice for the location, I wrote, "Here! Click the 'Discssion' Tab!" That makes it really easy for people to find the party when the arrive. You will then post everything for the party in that Discussion section on the day.
As you can see, my party lasted ten hours. You want to keep your guests engaged. I did this by varying the types of posts.
Bodacious Creed is, as the title says, a steampunk zombie western, so that meant sticking thematically to those genres, sharing information about the book, and some other things. Here are the basic categories I used.
Western & Steampunk Comic Strips
I found some funny ones on Google Images.
I also had a couple of zombie-related comics, including one I created.
Bodacious Creed Concept Art
Most novelists won't have concept art. That's all right.
Substitute interesting character facts or your own sketches.
Maps work for this, too. I shared the map that appears in Bodacious Creed.
I ran two, and these might give you some ideas.
Create a character concept appropriate for a steampunk western setting. The winner's idea will appear in the Bodacious Creed sequel and the winner will get the latest Kindle editions of my first two fantasy novels.
Come up with a character name appropriate for a steampunk western setting. The winning name will be the name of the winning character from the first contest, and the winner will get the latest Kindle editions of my first two fantasy novels.
This was the character created from my contest, and I look forward to incorporating her into the next book: Combining the winning name from the second contest, and the character idea I think would work best in the next Bodacious Creed book, we have Elanora Augustus, a ten-year-old orphan and part of the criminal underground.
Interesting Facts & Questions
These can be facts about your setting, be it completely created from scratch or based on a historical setting.
Questions for participants. I revealed that my favorite historical Wild West figure is Wild Bill Hickok, and asked others whom they liked best.
I recommend that, when you first release your book, the Kindle edition should have a solid sale price. Many novels of about 80,000 words go on sale for 99¢. Bodacious Creed is 120,000 words, so a fairly long novel. Since it's 50% longer than your average novel, I put it on sale for $1.49. This encourages more people to buy it, which is helpful for two reasons. First, some of them will post reviews. Second, it increases your sales rank. Yesterday, mine got to #3 in its specific category, and there are more sci-fi westerns on Kindle than you may think!
It's listed at #4 here. It went up to #3 later, but at that time, I was in bed and didn't feel like getting up to take a screenshot.
Holding the Party
Start your party right, with a pinned post on the event's Discussion page, directing people where to buy the book. Since I have an art degree, I had no trouble creating a good sales image I've been using on Facebook and Twitter. (Incidentally, if you'd like me to create one of these for you, hit me up and we'll work out a low price.)
To pin your post, simply click the downward arrow at the upper left corner of the post and select "Pin Post." That way, when people come to the party, this will be the first post they see.
Monitor the posts. Some people will arrive on the page and rather than responding to a post, they will create on their own. If you get spam or other junk you don't want, you can delete it. For positive posts, accept them and respond to them. They'll appear on the page, showing that people are arriving!
Every ten to fifteen minutes, post something new. Again, you want to keep people engaged. It is a party! You don't want to overwhelm people, though.
This is where all the ideas and images you gathered during the preparation phase come in. If you did your job right, you may find that you have more images than you need. Something to use with the next book party! I don't think I used even half, but I used the ones that felt right.
As you can see from my book rankings above, I got some good sales during the party. Everyone seemed to have a great time. I know I did.
Brief Aside Here
If you don't own a copy of Bodacious Creed yet, I hope you'll purchase it! The regular price will be $3.99 starting August 21, 2017, less than the price of a latte, and I think well worth it.
Just click the book image above!
Finally, I put together this image from screenshots to give you an idea of what the party looked like. Facebook collapses the comments, but on your party page you can click a section on each post to read them and to respond.
Feel free to click the image below to visit my book party release page and to get some ideas from it.
If you plan to do a Facebook release party for your next book, I hope this helps! I found it well worth the time and effort, and a lot of fun. I'll definitely do another when the time comes to release the sequel to Bodacious Creed.