Amanda Luedeke

September 20, 2013

Thursdays with Amanda: How to Throw a Book Launch Party


Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent. Her author marketing book, The Extroverted Writer, is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Well, it’s not Thursday…it’s Friday, but for the sake of Brand you’ll have to suffer through my wrongly-titled post.

We’re all back from ACFW, which proved to be a bunch of fun, as always, but also quite interesting in terms of industry stuff. But something happened there that rarely ever happens at any conference…ever.

A literary agency threw a launch party.

You may have heard/read me talk about Playlist Fiction. In thinking about how to help the authors create awareness and buzz we considered what most publishers/authors consider. We considered running an ad. But let’s face it:

1. Ads are expensive

2. Ads get buried by other ads

3. Ads are forgetful

So when Chip asked me what my ideal method of creating buzz at ACFW would be, I said a party! Which of course meant it became my responsibility, but I took it on happily.

Here’s how I did it…

  • We got some big names to agree to attend, and we asked them to read excerpts from the books our authors did
  • We created invites (we had a Facebook event page, a physical paper invite, and we hit up the big My Book Therapy e-blast as well as a few blogs)
  • We secured a local venue (Buca di Beppo) and promised free dessert (I mean hello! ACFW is 90% women. There was no way we could lose here)
  • We got the go-ahead from the conference directors and made sure that our time slot wouldn’t interfere with ANYTHING
  • We unashamedly mentioned the party during the agent panel that took place immediately before
  • We put together the schedule of events and designated responsibility…which included some last-minute favors
  • We handed out invites as much as we could during the day leading up to the event

Here’s how it went…

  • We planned for 40. We saw 86 people come and go within the 1.5 hour time slot
  • Editors from major houses dropped by.
  • Marketing professionals dropped by.
  • Big name authors dropped by.
  • And lots of attendees dropped by.
  • It created lots of buzz. Lots of questions. People wanted to know what we were doing and how it worked. Many felt tied to one of our authors simply based on meeting them or hearing the excerpt. It was great publicity. Great buzz.

Here’s what else we did…

  1. I created an ebook sampler and posted it on Amazon
  2. During the 5 days of ACFW (Sept. 13-17) we offered it for FREE, and the QR code in the invite took people directly to the download page
  3. In the days leading up to the event, I asked the authors to uncover as many niche blogs as they could. This meant uncovering reader groups within their core reader group. Teens who love Horses was one. Another was Asian-American Teens. The authors then went out and secured as many blogging opportunities as they could, focusing not just on big blogs but on small ones as well. Their goalwas to highlight the fact that their book directly appealed to the blog readership.
Above: Bestselling author Tosca Lee with Playlist author Rajdeep Paulus.
Above: author Nicole O’Dell, author Melissa Tagg, Playlist author Laura L. Smith…and the back of Chip’s head maybe??

More results…

It was an absolute whirlwind, and I wouldn’t suggest trying to put something together like this in such a narrow time frame (we had 1.5 months). But it was great experience for the authors, as now they know that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to improve your rank on Amazon. It also established and validated what we’re doing. People are talking and asking questions. Editors and readers and publishers are curious.

AND free food always goes over better than a well-designed ad.


Plus, it’s cheaper.

That’s Chip, me, and Playlist author Rajdeep.


*Love my marketing advice? Check out my $5 ebook, The Extroverted Writer.

Here’s what readers are saying: “…it doesn’t just tell you the things you should be doing. It shows you how to do those things.” – Chris Kolmorgen, Amazon Review

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