Last week I had the privilege of being involved in the pre-release party for “Unleashing the Voices Within,” the inaugural anthology by Stitched Smile Publications, which includes my short story “Cutting Lies.” I had a blast! I also learned a few things about online release parties….
1. As prepared as you think you are, you’re not prepared enough.
I thought a lot about what I wanted to do before the event began. I knew I wanted to give away some signed copies of the book, and I worked out what sort of “contests” I wanted to do in order to choose the winners of those books. I had my pictures downloaded and saved, my videos pulled up on YouTube, ready to share, an online randomizer pulled up to load names into if need be. I was ready.
Until I got so caught up in what I was doing to engage with everybody else, that I completely forgot to talk about myself, or my story, or the anthology, which was the point of the event in the first place.
2. 30 minutes is not a lot of time.
The pre-release party was scheduled for three hours. Six authors, including myself, were each given a thirty minute slot to “host.” During that time, we were allowed to post images, music, giveaways, links to our social media, etc. I figured I was good. I had three giveaways I wanted to do. That meant one every ten minutes. No problem.
I had over 40 FB notifications during my half-hour slot. Based on five posts–my introduction, my three giveaway posts, and a post encouraging questions for me. My computer just kept dinging.
*hey, somebody said something.* *somebody else commented on your photo* *this person wants to know if you prefer boxers or briefs* *hey* *hey* *hey!*
Before I knew it, I was done, and I felt like I’d barely gotten started.
3. Don’t even bother trying to keep up.
Because you won’t. If you’ve got a decent turnout, with people who are staying actively involved, you’re not going to be able to keep up without getting lost. There are too many comments, too many likes (and loves and laughs), too many questions, followed by your replies, which then attract replies of their own. You’re trying to have conversations with about a dozen people, all while trying to make sure you’re posting new stuff for them to keep commenting on.
Best advice? Let people know you’re paying attention, that you will get to them as soon as you can, and once your time is over, go back and do a once-over. Check the comments on your posts, make sure you read everything. Answer any questions you’ve missed. Show that you’re still involved.
Just take a breath, don’t freak out, and finish in your own time.
4. Social media links? Post ’em first and foremost, then forget about them.
Seriously. Post them first. Then you won’t forget to do it. But after you post them, don’t harp on them. People will check them out, or they won’t. You’ll get followers, or you won’t. Leave that on them. You’ve got more important things to worry about. Like writing your next book.
5. Have a ton of fun.
That one should speak for itself. Loosen your corset strings, take a deep breath, and have a ball.
All that being said, I can’t wait for my next event!