This past weekend I celebrated the release of my debut novel Dilemmas Of a Damsel (get your copy here), by hosting a Dilemmas, Damsels, and Drinks cocktail party. I'm happy to say that after much planning and preparation, my first book launch party was a success!
Coming into this, I didn't really know what to expect. All I was clear on was that I wanted my party to be reflective of my novel, but also my brand. I spent a lot of time working on this project (and launching this website), so to be able to celebrate with my family and friends felt great.
I'm new to all of this, so it was definitely a learning experience. But being that it was my first event, I think things went very well. Here's how I planned my first book launch party...
1. Set the Budget
Since this is indeed my first release and that I'm self-published, I don't have publishers knocking on my door (yet...). So I knew going in that I would have to fund this party 100% on my own, after all it's an investment and I am confident that it will soon pay off. I did some research and came up with an amount I was comfortable with spending and started from there.
2. Choose a Venue
Now I'll admit - this part gave me anxiety! I found it a bit challenging to find a venue that would be accommodating, affordable and compliment my novel. Luckily for me - I have an amazing best friend that offered me her place to use. It was perfect! Not only because it was free, the layout and was everything I was looking for. The space intimate, welcoming, stylish, and the location complimented my novel's storyline as well!
3. Pick a Theme
The book's main character Jade is a go-getter, with great style that loves a good cocktail. I wanted to host a party that she herself would enjoy. Also, when I picture my readers, I picture them reading my work while enjoying a drink, and super comfortable in their element. In addition - who doesn't love tasty cocktails and great conversation?! I settled on a cocktail party theme with just a touch of glam. I truly feel that it captured the essence of my novel.
4. Set a Menu
Being that this was a cocktail party, I wanted to keep the menu light. I opted to serve easy to eat appetizers and snacks that my guests could eat while socializing. I was able to link up with an amazing caterer (Check out her website here), I've been to plenty of gatherings that had her food and knew that I wouldn't be disappointed. For the bar, once again my AMAZING best friend came through! She's a former bartender and knows her shit when it comes to making drinks. We decided to create cocktails that represented the novel's main characters. It was a fun way to share the book with my guests and allow them to get to know my characters and their personalities a little better. As far as desserts, who doesn't love a dessert table? I tried to keep things cute and in line with my theme. In doing so I was able to save some money with some DIY snacks like Rose' and Moscato gummy bears, and vodka infused chocolate covered strawberries.
5. Entertainment/Social Media
I kept this pretty basic because I really wanted everyone to be comfortable and have a good time. I opted out of having a DJ/performer and settled on creating a playlist on Tidal. I chose songs that lightened the mood, and would be easy on the ears. As far as photography goes, I was able to hire a local photographer to capture all the highlights. I also ordered a sick backdrop that included my logo and website (can't forget to market myself) and thought it would be fun to take photos with my guests. In addition to that, I wanted to make sure that I was able to market my book with guest participation, so I created a custom Snapchat filter and hashtag (#DilemmasDamselsandDrinks) that I encouraged my guests to use when sharing pictures.
6. Promote My Novel
My novel was the main attraction, so I made sure to have plenty of copies ready for purchase and on display. I thought it would be a nice touch to incorporate excerpts from the book and have them printed and placed on cocktail tables throughout the party. I felt and gave my guests a chance to get to know the characters and their stories.
All in all, I feel that my party was a great success. I'm so thankful to my sisters and girlfriends because they helped me so much along the way. I learned a lot throughout the process and I already have ideas for my next book launch party! Here are some more pictures from my event, I hope you guys like them! Be sure to grab a copy of my novel, I promise you won't be disappointed!