In this series of posts, I will share with you certain aspects from my experience writing and publishing a novel that I feel you can apply to marketing your own products and services. For each post, I cover one topic. First, we will start with the all important roll-out strategy. It’s one thing to write a book, another thing to publish it, and then an equally daunting task to promote it. It’s like that proverbial tree falling in the woods, and if people don’t read it, because they don’t know about it, was it really a book?

So, then let’s look at the launch event itself. I received my first copies of King-Makers of Providence – my account and exposé on local politics – in early December, 2022. The book was 20-years in the making, but that’s another story. 

Prior to the launch, I made a number of touches and mentions on Facebook and LinkedIn, my top two social media handles. I waited until September 16, 2022, to officially announce that my book had been published and that it was scheduled for release on March 3, 2023. I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, and it was by far the highest engaged Facebook post in terms of likes and comments. With this encouragement, I followed with several posts with graphics of my novel cover and reviews that the publisher had obtained. When the books finally arrived I posted a picture of the book and then sold my first two copies.

With the looming book launch scheduled for February 8, 2023, I planned a ramp up strategy prior to the launch. I produced a movie trailer video and then made 15-second and 30-second versions. This video was emailed out to my contact list and posted on my social channels.

 A month out before the book launch I developed an invite and emailed it out to my contact list. I then personally sent a PDF and handed out invitations to friends, family and clients. We set up an Eventbrite invitation and posted the launch event on LinkedIn and Facebook. We then monitored all the RSVP’s and made two follow up posts prior to the actual event. We had 180 confirmed guests, but we were uncertain who would show on a Wednesday in early February.

It was equally important that we selected that evening. Alpine Country Club had just reopened for the season and the club was open for its popular dinner and bar service on Wednesdays. Having been at Alpine for 13-years, many members walked over from the restaurant to the ballroom to see who they were easily able to beat in golf; I had been writing a novel, which was the reason for my performance on the course.

It also helped that a full page article appeared in my hometown newspaper, The Cranston Herald, and in the Warwick Beacon, where I once worked as a rookie reporter. Honestly, I could not have written a better article myself about my book than what Mike Levesque wrote.

As those first people trickled into the book launch on the evening of February 8th, I did not know what to expect. Was the Governor really coming? Would the press show? The latter would happen, but the Governor would send me a citation and speak about my book at a Chamber event.

The end result – about two hundred people came that night. From colleagues to clients, high school friends to Alpine pals, and of course family, the night was one for the ages for me. It also generated my single greatest book sales to date. 

And here’s the takeaway. 

For your next event, don’t take anything for granted. Just because you’re doing something different, don’t just think people will show. You have to work it hard. Multiple touches, invites, traditional invitations, social media and email marketing, all working in conjunction. And of course, most importantly, that good old fashioned “ask” – “I’d love for you to come to my event. Can you make it?”

Stay tuned for future posts based on my experiences. Thank you for your time.

– JH