Putting on a Book Party

Last week I put on my first (and maybe only) book party. I couldn’t call it a book release party since my two books actually came out the end of May and first of June. But it was a party, and I did sell books.

I actually had a line of people waiting for me to sign books

I actually had a line of people waiting for me to sign books

The idea of having this party started last summer. I belong to a great organization in South Haven called the Scott Club. The Scott Club of South Haven is a 131-year-old cultural organization that serves to enlighten the membership and community. Scott Club

They have two book clubs and a creative writing group, and they have speakers at their general meetings. They also have a wonderful building with beautiful stained glass windows and downstairs there’s a kitchen, bathroom, and lots of room for tables and chairs. The perfect place for a book party.

My captive audience

My captive audience

Last winter, while in Florida, I was invited to a book party, so I went, not just to support the writer, but also to steal ideas for my book party. One thing she was able to offer that I couldn’t (because of insurance restrictions) was wine. Otherwise, she offered beverages, sweets and nibblies, and, of course, the opportunity to purchase her books. She also gave out tickets and had a drawing for prizes before and after her talk and reading.

I’ll admit it, I more or less copied her. I had cakes (Yes 2. One with a picture of A Killer Past’s cover on the frosting, the other with a picture of Eat Crow and Die’s cover on the frosting), cookies, punch, some sparkling grape juice, and coffee. A half hour into the gathering, I talked about the two books and then read a scene from each. I had 4 helpers (3 friends and my husband) and they had given out tickets, so when I finished my talk, 6 tickets were drawn and prizes were given (each valued at approximately $10).

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

Yellow Cake

Yellow Cak

Two weeks prior to the party, announcements regarding the party were sent to Scott Club members as well as members of another organization I belong to. There was a notice in the local paper’s community calendar, and I personally invited several people.

She's buying my book. Yea!

She’s buying my book. Yea!

I used a balloon theme and covered the serving tables and book table with plastic cloths that had a balloon design. I purchased those at the dollar store. We also had signs saying the party was here –> that were placed in front of the building along with two balloons (we had three, but one escaped).


The weather was perfect, but not that many people showed up. (Just under 30). I sold a lot of books, but not enough to cover the cost of the party. This will all be listed under advertising expenses when I file my Schedule C, but I’m not sure that will help all that much.

Me reading from Eat Crow and Die

Me reading from Eat Crow and Die

So was it worth it? Perhaps not financially, but a lot of people have stopped me when I’m out and about and told me they were sorry they couldn’t make it and where can they buy my books. A lot of people simply saw my name in the publicity and paper, and we all need name recognition. I had a good time, and those who attended said they had fun.


So yeah, I think it was worth it. At least once.

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20 Responses to Putting on a Book Party

  1. Diane Burton says:

    Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Maris Soule says:

    I did have a good time, Diane. The party also resulted in publicity in the local paper and an article about me. Those are extras that are really valuable.

  3. Nice going. Very professional event.

  4. Melissa Keir says:

    The event sounds wonderful. I’d love to do this someday. Do you have anything that you’d do differently next time? Do you think being a part of the group was important to the success?

    • Maris Soule says:

      Melissa, it certainly helped. For one thing I didn’t have to pay to use the facility. I also had members who helped me set up, serve, and clean up. That was a big help. And I had a mailing list of members, in addition to ways I planned on advertising the event.

  5. Lucy Kubash says:

    Sounds like it was a fun time, and I’m sorry I had to miss it. I love the cakes!

    • Maris Soule says:

      I still have some cake left. (Actually, a lot of cake.) It’s in the freezer right now and will come out for a party we’re having this coming Saturday. I hope it’s still good.

  6. What a nice book party, Maris. Loved your cakes too. If my time ever comes, I will shamelessly imitate you.

    All the best, Annette

  7. ann bennett says:

    Thirty was a good sized group. It looked like a fun group too. I love the caption “my captive audience”. I always tried to keep that in mind when I taught school. lol

    • Maris Soule says:

      I agree, Ann, it was a good size for the room I was using. This was one of those situations where I could have had as few as six people there and as many as a hundred. Thirty was a good number, and I didn’t even have to tie them to their chairs..

  8. I agree, Maris. Thirty was a nice crowd! I think it’s important to celebrate the accomplishment of being published. I have not heard of anyone making a profit off these type of events, but the publicity and word of mouth are worth the expense. Thank you for sharing.

  9. It’s good that you gave the party a try. Personal appearances help with name recognition and allows you to add readers to you mailing list. But a launch party in-person is a lot of work. I do them on Facebook these days or else team up with another writer at a local indie bookstore.

  10. Diana Stout says:

    Loved your honesty about it not covering the sales but telling us how it was successful beyond the party itself. Word of mouth sells books and you created that spark! Well done. Once again, you’re modeling and mentoring the way. Congratulations!

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thank you, Diana. I feel more like someone mucking her way through the process rather than modeling the way, and I do hope this has created some “word of mouth.”