A book launch is an opportunity to celebrate all your hard work but also, crucially, to sell a large number of books at one time and to promote the book.

Think about your launch well in advance, but don’t book it until you’ve received your printed copies and made sure they are perfect.

When you are ready there are several key elements to consider – we’ve created a list to help:

Task Details:




Guest speaker

Invitation list – email/print/both?

Invitation designed

Invitation printed

Envelopes and stamps purchased

Invitations sent

Press release sent to media

Wine ordered (do you need to order glasses?)

Food ordered (don’t forget napkins!)

Running order of the evening

Book delivery arranged

Room set up arranged: seated/ standing, tables for book sales and refreshments

Float arranged

Tasks assigned

Book sales


Meet and greet

  • Where and when

Decide on the day, time and venue.

In the trade, book launches are usually staged on mid-week evenings (in bookshops mostly), catching people on their way home from work. But this is your launch so you can decide what best suits you and your book.

Decide on your venue: focus on a location that people can get to easily. Approach your local bookshop to see if they will host, but be aware that they will buy your book stock at their discounted price (approximately 50% off the retail price). If you organise your launch in a hotel or your club, you will be able to sell the book at the full retail price which will help considerably in offsetting your print costs.

If you are expecting a lot of people think about whether you will need a microphone/sound, and make sure there are some chairs for people to sit down if they need to.

Consider putting the launch information on a platform like Eventbrite. This gives you a booking link that you can email and share on social media; it also spreads the word a little bit further than your contacts. You can also put the launch details into the events section on Writing.ie to help spread the word – even if people can’t attend, they may order your book.

Put details of the launch up on the social media platforms you have chosen to use. Create an event on Facebook and invite your friends. Share content on the event in the run up to the launch.

Plan to have the launch at least two/three weeks after you expect to have finished books. This will give you a chance to get review copies to journalists and generate a buzz about the book, it will also give you time to get your invitations out.

Most launches follow a standard pattern: people arrive, mingle, have a glass of wine and then the guest speaker says a few words before introducing the author. This can be a friend or a local media

personality, or perhaps an expert in a field that relates to your book.

After the guest speaker you will speak for a few minutes about the book. Thank the people who have helped you, after which you may do a short reading (no more than five minutes – time yourself!).

Think about the extract that you will read – choose something that will intrigue so people are encouraged to buy the book. Make sure that it’s age-appropriate for a mixed audience.

Encourage everyone to buy a book and make sure you have a signing table set up beside the book sales table so that you can sign copies comfortably.

It helps hugely if people can write down the name of the person that the book is for, on a post-It, so that you don’t spell their name wrong!

  • Turn your launch into an event

Creating an event around your launch might draw in more people or give you an opportunity to tie your launch into a book festival.

Would a panel discussion on issues from your book be interesting? Recently the author of a book on sea swimming did a short talk followed by a sea swim at a literary festival. You don’t have to get wet, but thinking creatively might give you a good media opportunity.

Find out if there is a relevant festival in your local area who may be willing to include your book launch in their programme.

  • Invitations

If you need physical invitations, you need to allow time for them to be printed, put in envelopes and labelled correctly.

The tone of your invitation should match the tone of your book; if the book is full of comedy pieces, then a formally worded invitation might jar a little. You could include the book cover and a line or two about the book but keep it simple. You don’t want to overload people with information.

Be aware that some people won’t RSVP. Approximately 60% of invitees will turn up on the night so bear this in mind when deciding how many books to bring with you.