Something big is about to happen in your life.

A milestone birthday.

Any birthday.

A wedding.

A new baby.

A new home.

An anniversary.

A retirement.

Each event deserves a party.

So does a new book.

Launching a book represents a major accomplishment for anyone, and so it deserves a celebration. I’ve noticed that many authors have no idea about the details and work that launching a book requires. After all, the book is written, the hard part complete. Right?

But like any significant event or celebration, it requires planning: careful arrangements and preparation, for months in advance. Planning a book launch celebration may be as intense as planning a wedding and involves a significant investment of time, energy, and focus (and money.)

Jill Friedlander, the president at Boston-based Bibliomotion, told me that she talks to potential authors to gauge their passion about their books and messages because to be successful authors must commit a couple of years to investing in and sharing their books’ messages. Her question, in a sense: Are you prepared to marry your message? 

We carefully prepare for each book launch celebration because a launch is a significant milestone and rallying point. But in the same way that a wedding marks the beginning of a marriage, so a book launch represents an important beginning to the promotion and sharing of a book and its message.

Here are some ways a book launch is like a party:

You ask people to “save the date.” As you invite friends and colleagues to support your book launch, you are limiting your invitation to a specific day or time frame. In that way, you can allow them to reserve energy and attention — to and for a limited and specific purpose. People can plan for their participation in much the same way that they can plan to attend a party, by noting your book launch celebration on their calendars and making plans to help out.

People have different ways of joining the party. Some may participate fully in your book launch, saying yes to every request and helping in ways you didn’t ask. These friends are like people who come for the whole shebang, helping to set up your party and the last ones to leave. Some people may may help a bit as they are able, sending a tweet or two, like the friend who drops by a party briefly to say hi and share a drink.

You get to be the center of attention. It’s your wedding day and all eyes are on you. You are the birthday guy, at the head of the table, and everyone has come to celebrate you. It’s natural, and right. It’s your day. Some authors are a bit reluctant for the attention that a book launch brings. But your book launch is your moment, and like the one feted at a party, you’ll enjoy it more if you lean into the experience.

It’s more work than you thought. It just is. And the work after the party is more time consuming than the work you do in advance.

The bigger the better, the more the merrier. You want to invite as many people as possible to share in your book launch celebration. More people participating means more impact for your book and its message. So invite everyone you know to celebrate with you. And ask them to bring their friends along.

You bring the favors. Your book is a gift to the world, so when you celebrate your book launch, you are bringing your gift to those celebrating with you: your insights, expertise, and wisdom.

People bring gifts. While people may not send physical gifts, people who participate in your launch are generously sharing support. Their contribution to your launch is a gift, and each tweet or blog post is wrapped with a bow of grace.

You want your party to be epic and memorable. A great party creates buzz that people talk about and remember. I enjoy finding new creative ways to support our authors, ways that differentiate their books and launches.

It helps to have someone experienced to guide you. If you’ve never planned a wedding before you, you buy books on the topic, ask experienced friends for help, or hire a wedding planner. Although hiring a planner adds to the investment in the event, a helpful guide also represents a significant cost savings: you can skip over much of the learning, bypass newbie mistakes, and relax a bit, knowing that someone else is carrying much of the responsibility for a smooth celebration.

photo credit

It’s worth it. Marking an occasion with a celebration makes the day unforgettable. Though many days of life slip by unnoticed, you will always remember the date of your book launch, like an anniversary or birthday.

Your book launch, a party.

Your network, the partygoers.

Their contributions, a gift to you.

Your book, the gift.