1) First, decide how BIG you want it. A small gathering of close friends? A big 'ol party? (I'd go for both!)
2) Once you have decided that, move on to WHERE to have it! Of course, a bookstore is an obvious place. But if you want something different, think about places where you don't have to pay rent for. Or, is there a place that fits the theme or genre of your book? This could also help create a theme for your party... Here are some ideas:
These are just some ideas to get your mind turning - remember, this is YOUR party, be creative and do what you want! Investigate local possibilities and come up with some options.
3) Next: Party THEME! Once you have decided on where to have it, try to come up with theme related to your book. I am going to hang some union jack banners around the bar to create an English atmosphere, and see what else I can come up with. Perhaps some banners with griffins on them or something. What is your book about? Where is it set?
If you are stumped about a theme, or just don't want one, you could go with a 'book' theme. I found some craft ideas online for upcycling old book pages. There were some great ideas to make flowers out of them, wreaths, goodie holders (cone shaped, put candy in them, affix your business card to the front, and call it good!) Here are some samples I found...
Just search "old book page flowers" and a ton will come up. If you are super creative, check out this site and see how some people have turned old books into art!!! http://www.offbeatearth.com/dont-like-reading-other-uses-for-books/
4) Next, order your INVITATIONS!!! Depending on how many you need, you could make them yourself, either on the computer or by hand, or if you need more, try creating them at VistaPrint! Once you get on their mailing list, they will send you emails with tons of free stuff. I plan on ordering 100 free postcards and order the envelopes (low cost) to have custom invitations for my launch part. Check out my post onBling for your Bookfor more info on VistaPrint.
5) Plan FOOD and DRINKS. Food gets bodies in the seats. If you feed them, they will come. You don't necessarily need a gourmet buffet set out. Consider taking a trip to Sam's Club or Costco and see what you can get for your budget. Heck, even good 'ol dip and potato chips are fine! Drinks? They get costly. You should consult the location and see what options are available. An open cash bar may be the way to go. I haven't decided on food yet, but probably English themed items and they can buy their own drinks.
6) GAMES: This was a hard one for me to think of. It is kind of hard to organize games for a group of peole who are mingling around. You could have a raffle for different items - your book, a book bag, t-shirt, etc. I think I am going to get 5 or 6 letter openers that look like swords and hide them. Whoever finds them can pick their prize from an assortment I will have available. What ideas do you have?
7) Plan your special AUTHOR TABLE! Dress the table up nice according to your theme. Make sure to have plenty of books and sharpies on hand and a friend to act as cashier so you are free to sign books and visit with everyone! Perhaps offer them at a discount at the party. Make sure to say 'thank you' a lot! I plan on ordering large postcards from VistaPrint that will look like my book cover so I can sign those for ebook purchasers!
8) If you want to do a book READING, make sure to practice ahead of time!
9) Designate a friend to take PICTURES so you can post them on your pages!
10) MEDIA: Make sure to send a news release about your party about a month in advance to local media. Send personal invitations to local news people as well.
11) Send out THANK YOU notes after the party. You can include several business cards or discount coupons for your book or other books you have written.
Am I forgetting anything??? What other ideas do you have?? Good luck on your party!!! Cheers, Jan