If you are looking for the basics of setting up a successful online launch party, check out this post.
Now that you’ve set up your launch party, or have been invited to host one, what sort of posts should you create? Here are five ideas for crafting engaging posts, as well as a few words of warning.
1. The intro post
The main goal of the first post you write is to capture the attention of the people who were here interacting with the previous host. You have one post to engage them, or they aren’t going to stick around. If you are the first host for your event, then you are crafting the first post that EVERYONE who rsvp’d to the event sees – no pressure!
(Actually, hopefully the first post that everyone sees is a pinned post with a giveaway, details about the event and encouragement to share, but you get the picture).
So what could you include?
Is there something interesting about your writing, your talents, your hobbies, or where you live? Perhaps it’s something that when you mention it, people go ‘wow!’ Or, if not, how about something relatable? I’ve seen launch parties and takeover parties where the author just said that they loved sport, and sport features prominently in their books. They then asked people to share their favourite sports team – seems simple, right? But they got SO many engagements.
I’m still refining my opening posts, but this was my latest one.
Just by asking for a gif, I received a lot of engagements, and then everyone seemed to stick around for my next post.
2) Posts about characters in your books
Of course, we are all here for the books. However, ‘buy my book’ posts are not going to fly. Have a think about the main protagonist in your book – what’s interesting about them?
At its most basic, you could just ask ‘Who’s your favourite superhero?’ And follow that up with, ‘I absolutely love Rogue from X-Men. She actually inspired the main character in my superhero novel, ‘xxxx’…’ This way, you are getting engagement, while also chatting about your own books.
If your book launch is for a second or third book in a series, and you know that some of the attendees have read your first book, you could ask something like ‘post an image of an actor who you think could play x if it was ever made into a film.’ Just make sure you don’t alienate your new readers too much.
I write dystopian and post-apocalyptic books aimed at young adults, so here’s a character-based post that I used in my last book launch.
3. Games & Giveaways
Games are a lot of fun. I’ve seen a lot of launch parties include games that had absolutely no relation to the genre or the books that the author writes. For example, a game about their favourite type of chocolate, or identifying a random object.
Maybe this works for some people, but for me the games need to relate in some way to bring the conversation back to the main reason we are here.
Games could include:
- Genre Name Generators eg. look up fantasy name generator
- Auto-Text generators where everyone starts a sentence in the same way (related to a scenario in your book) and then presses the middle button on their phone to generate a funny message
- A partial image from a famous book/film in your genre and attendees have to guess what it is
- Choose your character / choose your item images – set up a scenario and share an image with several options. eg. It’s the zombie apocalypse – which three items would you take with you when you flee to the mountains?
Giveaways are a great way to boost the number of comments you receive. Readers love signed paperbacks, but be careful – the cost of postage can be a killer! I only gave away ebooks in the last launch because of this. BookFunnel is a good way to send ebook giveaways.
Leave your giveaways up for a few hours after the event before selecting a winner, that way people in different timezones still have a chance to enter.
4) Snippets of writing
Pair snippets of writing with an attractive image to engage readers. A word of warning – don’t include links in your post as facebook has a habit of limiting who can see it. Instead, put the link in a comment.
Sharing your book cover, paired with a killer blurb, is also a great engagement tool.
5) Your final post
Okay, you posted your intro post.
Then you shared an engaging post every ten minutes or so with info about your characters, games and giveaways, and snippets of writing.
Your hour is up. You now need to craft a wicked ‘see ya later’ post that:
- Thanks the creators of the event and the people who engaged with your posts
- Includes a gift (such as a free short story) if they sign up for your mailing list
- Asks readers to follow you on social media / Amazon / Bookbub etc
Okay, you’re done! Make sure you’re a nice person and stick around for a while to engage with the other authors hosting the event. The next day, use a random generator to select the winners of your giveaways.
A few words of wisdom to leave you with:
- Keep your posts short and sweet. People don’t want to read novels on facebook (they want to do that on their kindle).
- Interactive questions are great. Ask for comments, likes, images, gifs etc.
- Quizzes are cool, but don’t make them so hard that the average reader couldn’t work out the answer.
- Offering a giveaway is awesome, but don’t make your readers jump through too many hoops or they will put it in the too-hard-basket.
- Put links in comments, not the main post
- Include images with all of your posts
- If you are going to offer a paperback giveaway, make sure that the cost of postage is still worth it to you
Did I miss anything? What’s your favourite type of interactive post for online launch parties? Let me know in the comments.