On Book Launches by Chiara de Franco
Chiara de Franco, talks about her experience of organising a book launch.
Maybe it is not always clear what a book launch should look like, who should organize it or when it should take place. It may just be a reception where the content of a book is chatted upon while drinking a red wine or instead a fully-fledged panel when an author faces the comments of a selected group of experts. Nevertheless, we can easily agree that a book launch is always a quite emotional affair, especially at the beginning of an academic career, and that a successful event can be key in raising the visibility of one’s own work and meet a genuinely interested public.
In the last two years I have organized three book launches. One was for my very first Palgrave publication -an edited volume on preventive policies – and the others for my first monograph. The latter was of course a more thrilling matter, but it is from the sum of all three experiences that I have drawn the following 5 lessons.
- Be your marketer, don’t wait for your publisher or a colleague to suggest you to organize a book launch as when they do it - if they do it – it is usually already a bit late.
- Take the initiative and start organizing a couple of launches as soon as possible in order to have the time to invite people you care about. Organizing in advance will also allow Palgrave to prepare some nice discount flyers, cards and posters and you to order a few extra display copies that may help the undecided to buy.
- Consider presenting the book to very different audiences. This will allow you to reach a wider public, but also to learn what about it different groups of people like or criticize.
- Try to put together an interesting panel of scholars and practitioners as they may become your book’s first ambassadors. When doing so don’t forget to ask Palgrave to send complimentary copies to any panelist. Again, timing is key as you want to allow the speakers to read the book carefully and give you some thoughtful feedback during the launch or just beforehand.
- Try to organize the launch outside the university’s walls if you can. In-university book launches tend to be attended mainly by students who are not necessarily your target audience and may not buy the book at the end but rather wait for the library copy. Ideally, you should try to organize the launch at the premises of an organization that may be directly interested in advertising your work.
I was very fortunate to present my monograph at NATO – after one of their high level officials had accepted to write my book’s endorsement. NATO’s huge mailing list has been crucial in raising the visibility of my work and bringing it to become a quite well known publication in only a few months. Still thanks to that launch at NATO and the great publicity they made to the book, I have started being invited to some really interesting conferences, reach new publics and gather new ideas that I hope I will be able to translate into a new book and start what I call a truly virtuous cycle.
Chiara De Franco is Deputy Director of the Foresight Research Group and co-founder of the #global_mediatisation initiative in the Department of War Studies at King's College London, UK. She is also coordinator of the Task Force for the improvement of EU's capabilities for mass atrocities prevention. She has published on international political communication and conflict prevention.