This last Monday, I hosted my first ever Facebook Launch Party. I think it was a rousing success...at least that's what the party-goers are telling me...and I wanted to share with you some tips for hosting a party and for attending a party.
- Have a co-host/engineer/facilitator. As the hostess, I was busy just keeping up with answering guests questions, liking posts, commenting, and trying to make sure every guest felt welcomed and important. My daughter, Heather, was the one posting new games and photographs and keeping things moving in an orderly manner. I would've been hard-pressed to do everything myself!
- Preparation is key! I began thinking about and assembling launch party prizes months ago. Individual game prizes and gifts to go into the grand prize. I also spent quite a bit of time planning the games, the photographs, the questions, and the timeline. I wrote out the text so that Heather could cut and paste and marry the text with pictures quickly. I had my itinerary open during the party, sat where I could see a clock, and communicated with Heather pretty much constantly so that we knew what we wanted to happen next.
- Create a virtual world. As an author, this shouldn't be too hard. We create virtual worlds all the time! In my case, I invited party guests to select an 1880's gown to wear, to find a handsome cowboy to bring them to the shindig, and encouraged them to look for fun, cowboy-themed recipes to post. This started about a week before the party to get folks excited. Build up some anticipation, and it will carry into the party. Excitement is contagious!
- Give clear directions. Guests don't like to be uneasy, and they would like a hint of what to expect. Early on the day of the party, I posted a general idea of what would happen during the 3 hrs of the party. There would be games, and prizes, questions to me could be posted at any time. Remind the guests to refresh their screens often to keep abreast of the newest posts. Be crystal clear when playing a game where and how to answer and how the winner will be determined. Let them know which prize is up for grabs. This both helps build anticipation as well as making the guests feel comfortable that someone is in charge of the party and you're all traveling to a pre-determined destination together.
- It's okay to market a little bit, but make fun the primary goal. Remind folks about the book(s) you are launching and post the links where folks can find them. In my case, the party was three hours long and I have three books releasing this month, so we broke it up into sections, introducing a new book every hour or so. I also told folks that the prize winners would be announced only on my FB author page, so they would need to go there and hit LIKE to find out if they wanted a prize. About halfway through the party, I announced that one of the books would be going on sale the next day, so hold off buying until then so as to get the best price. However, the bulk of the party was geared toward having fun with the guests through conversation, games, prizes, and surprises.
- Public or Private party? Choose if you want to have a public or private party. I wish I had chosen Public, because by choosing private, I could only send invites to 500 people. After that, if someone wanted to come, they had to be invited by someone who was attending the party. In the days just before the party I would've liked to have spread the word and invited whomever would like to come. Next time I'll know. Facebook does not allow you to change from private to public after you set up the event.
- As early as you are able, let the hostess know you will be attending. This not only helps with the planning, but it also encourages the hostess. Nobody wants to host a party where nobody attends, and having some early commitments to the festivities settles some hostess nerves.
- Come prepared to take part. Have some questions for the hostess in advance. Be willing to take part in the games. Comment on others' posts, like the photographs, get involved. You'll have more fun than just spectating.
- No Spoilers. If you've already read the launch book, you are welcome to say nice things about it, but don't spoil the story for those who haven't read it yet.
- Have fun!
Monday's party was great fun! A lot of work, but great fun! I will definitely do it again.
Here's some news from the party:
For this week only, The Cactus Creek Challenge is only $3.99 as an ebook. Get your copy while it is on sale!!! You can get it by clicking HERE:
Yesterday marked the release date of the Journeys of the Heart novella collection. Three historical novellas for just $2.99. You can read more about this collection and get your copy HERE.
Have you been to or hosted a Facebook Party before? What are your observations?
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