A huge shout-out to all the folks who came out last night for my launch party for Scars of the Past on Facebook. If you missed it, the page will be available indefinitely so you can see everything that happened. Unfortunately, the giveaways are no longer available.
I highly recommend adding this to your launch activities and I'd like to share what I learned from the process. Here are some insights and how-tos for my indie author friends considering a Facebook launch.
Launch party insights: What worked and what didn't
First, traditional launch parties are expensive and, in the DC-area, it's increasingly hard to get folks to leave their comfy couches after a long day of work and fighting traffic. Hence, a Facebook launch is a viable alternative.
I think it'll take time for both readers and authors to learn how to get the most out of this technology. Here's what worked for me:
- Facebook live. By far the most viewed sections of the launch party page were my Facebook Livestreams. And, the continued to perform even after the event. See the section below for specifics.
- Print book giveaway
- Facebook ads
But, let's also talk about what didn't work:
- Free ebooks
I'd like to add more context to some of these topics.
Scars of the Past livestream
For the livestream, I prepared a list of topics I wanted to discuss and a couple of sections I wanted to read. I shared the livestream on my profile, as well as the event page. I actually got more views from my profile (newsfeed) than from within the event, which isn't surprising since I have a rather large group of friends/ followers.
I was approachable and quirky, even showing images of my dogs laying around the room while I recorded, which is pretty standard for any time I'm working.
I prepped ahead of time by optimizing my appearance with hair and makeup. You need heavier makeup than normal and loads of powder to keep from looking shiny. Also, don't forget your neck and chest when applying makeup, especially on a hot day like yesterday.
Next, test out the image. Sit farther back from the camera than you would if you were typing on a computer. Otherwise, it's impossible to not look like a gigantic floating head. Check for lighting, but don't have lights face you directly. Have them fill in from an angle. You don't want shadows that make you look old and tired.
Check the volume to make sure people can hear you, but ensure you don't blast them.
I found Facebook Live was a little wonky in that it was just me and the camera. Next time I'd like to experiment with a Google Hangout on Air, where there can be more interaction.
Print book giveaway
This giveaway was very popular. I simply asked visitors to guess a number between 1 and 100. The one closest to my pre-selected number won a print book. About half of the people who attended the event entered this drawing.
Facebook ads and outreach
I spent about $20 to advertise the event to friends of my page and their friends. More than half of my attendees came from this advertising.
Since publishing my first book in November, I've spent a lot of time linking and supporting other authors. Now, it was payback time, so I also shared my event with other authors. Don't forget authors are readers, too, and they'll likely support you. About 1/3 of attendees came from a connected author who shared my event with her list. Remember, like anything else, it's a tit-for-tat world and you have to pay it forward.
Rather than sharing my launch with other authors, as I've seen some Indie authors do, I invited other authors to say something about their books during my launch. Next time, I'll do this earlier and more often as I think it will encourage them to share about my launch party.
Scars of the Past launch party content
I've been to a number of launch parties on Facebook and the biggest problem I had was organization. I found that was a problem for my event, as well. Facebook isn't a great platform for organizing activities and, I think, people came and didn't know what to do. I think it worked out because they were naturally drawn to the videos, but I'll rethink this aspect of the party.
Before the party began, I loaded up the site with readings of all 3 books, including a sneak peek at Azure's Revenge, due to launch on Oct. 25th, and a poll. During the event, I posted periodic messages to my attendees.
I got a number of people there and a lot of likes, but very few comments. I'll work on this for next time with some ideas for improving engagement.
Results: Scars of the Past launch party
I've very happy with the results of the launch party. Sales of Scars of the Past doubled in the day leading up to and during the launch, over book sales since the book actually launched on Amazon on July 25th. I also sold more of my first book, Buried Ladies, than I had in the previous month. So, I think the effort was well worth it in terms of sales.
Now, to keep the momentum going, I'll periodically follow up with new posts asking attendees to share a review on Amazon, since it's really reviews that sell books.
Latest news from Angela Hausman, Author
So, things are moving at a brisk pace. In addition to attending the Scars of the Past Launch party last night, we have lots of exciting things going on.
- I’m making good progress on Book 3, Azure's Revenge. You’ll get to see many of your old friends from Books 1 and 2, and meet some quirky (and sinister) new ones. I’d love to get more Beta readers for this book, which should be ready by the end of October for comments. Sign up here.
- If you’ve already purchased (or received a gifted copy) Buried Ladies or Scars of the Past, please consider writing an honest review (use the link below). And, if you didn’t like it, please send me specific comments so I can improve the next book. If you don’t have a copy yet, you can buy them here: