Friday, April 24, 2020

5 Reasons You Should Host a Facebook Live Book Launch Party – Pandemic or Not

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

There’s nothing like launching a book in the midst of a pandemic.

I empathized with Lauren Crews as she shared in her Write Conversation post last week how all her book launch plans changed when President Trump advised Americans to stay at home. The same thing happened to me.

My devotional, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, was scheduled to launch on April 13, Day 27 of our nation’s shelter-at-home order.

My plans for an in-person launch party with food, decorations, giveaways, and lots and lots of friends were washed away by a wave of hand sanitizer and social distancing. 

What’s an author to do? 

I knew Refresh Your Faith would be a valuable resource for the millions of people stuck at home with nothing to dwell on but their fears. My book could inspire their courage and help answer the faith questions they were wrestling with, like Why does God allow bad things to happen?, Will God provide for me?, and What is God doing in this crazy mixed up world?

Two things were clear. 
First, I couldn’t just wait to launch the book until the stay-at-home orders lifted. God intended this book “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). 

Second, because God is sovereign over all the events of our lives, He was not surprised in the least by this ill-timed pandemic that was disrupting my plans. He had other (better?) plans for my book launch.

So I postponed my plans for an in-person party and scheduled a Facebook Live launch party. Looking back, if I had it to do over again, with or without a pandemic, I’d still include a Facebook Live event in my book launch plans.

Five Reasons to Throw a Facebook Live Launch Party

1. Facebook Live events are easy for people to attend.
Unlike an in-person launch party, guests don’t have to drive somewhere, dress up, or find a place to park. They can attend from the comfort of their own living room and wear their pajamas if they want to.

2. Facebook Live events are relatively inexpensive.
Like in-person parties, you’ll want to provide door prizes and giveaways, but you don’t have to rent a venue, buy elaborate decorations, or provide food.

3. Facebook Live events reach people who couldn’t or wouldn’t come to an in-person launch.
My friend Sandy, a missionary in Guadalajara, Mexico, couldn’t have attended my in-person launch party in Columbia, South Carolina, but she was one of the first people to register her attendance at my FB event. So was Jeanne from Connecticut, J.D. from Texas, and Holly from Louisiana. Over the course of the hour-long party, more than 70 friends “attended” the event, probably more than would come to an in-person party.

4. Facebook Live events require no special equipment.
All you need is a laptop with a camera and a microphone (ideal) or a smartphone (doable). A long event like a launch party is hard to do with a phone unless you have a tripod. Even then, it’s hard to read comments, but if a smartphone is all you have, go for it. 

Because I knew proper lighting can make or break a video, I invested $40 and bought a Selfie Ring Light Kit from Amazon. It came with a four-setting ring light, a tripod that holds a camera or a smartphone, and a remote I can sync with my phone to stop and start recording. Although I didn’t know it at the time, this equipment has been useful to our church as we’ve begun to live stream our church services.

5. Facebook Live events are FUN.
I posed conversation-sparking questions to get the party going. I gave away gift cards, signed copies of Refresh Your Faith, and other items that could be easily mailed. We shared struggles, swapped ideas for how to refresh our faith during dry times, and exchanged laughs in the comment box. I even read an uncommon devotion on Jonah to invite readers to share their own examples of “mercy in disguise.”

Next month I plan to share tips and techniques for hosting a successful Facebook Live book launch party. While a virtual party wasn’t part of my original plan, it turned out to be a valuable tool to help me connect with readers and spread the word about my book. If you’re preparing to launch a book—during this pandemic or after—I encourage you to consider hosting a Facebook Live launch party. And please, invite me!


That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!

Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style

Lori Hatcher loves to teach, train, and encourage writers by sharing what others have generously shared with her. She’s the author of several devotional books including  Refresh Your Faith – Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible and Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women , the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year. The editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, she’s also a blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on FacebookTwitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).


  1. So, the attendees comment, but they aren't on video like you are, right? But you can read your comments as they post. Do you see yourself on your facebook page? Can you tell I haven't done one? lol And if my laptop has a built in camera, can't I use that?

    1. Correct, they respond in the comment box, but their faces don't show up in the live feed. Just Hubby and me. While we're live, we see ourselves on the laptop screen and a scrolling comment list on the side. I used the camera and mic built into my camera, and it was effortless from the techie side of things :)

  2. I've attended a couple and have enjoyed them as a fan. I look forward to hosting one in the near future and when I do, I'll be sure to use your tips, Lori. Congrats on the book! I look forward to reading it. :)

  3. Attending one before you do your own is so helpful, Cathy, because it gives you an idea of what you liked didn't like about the experience. Reproduce what you found enjoyable, make note of what you didn't, and tailor your party to your book and personality. Although my introverted self dreaded it beforehand, it turned out to be a very positive experience in a lot of ways. Be sure to check back in May and June for two posts with specifics about how to plan and execute one :)

    And thank you for the congratulations. Launching a book at any time is challenging, but during this pandemic, it's been quite an adventure!

  4. It was a wonderful event Ms Lori; and as you point out, I would not have been able to attend in-person in any case. I did love the way you engaged your hubby David into the event. I thought you did same great pre-planning on how to move it forward. Enjoyed seeing others' comments, answers, and questions, but I don't think it could replace a live event (from an interaction standpoint). Should authors consider doing both (live and remote) with their launches? You and Ms. Lauren have proven remote book launches can be successful. God's blessings ma'am.

    1. I totally agree, J.D., that an in-person event trumps a virtual launch party in many ways. I'm planning one just as soon as we can safely do so. There's no virtual equivalent for a real time celebratory hug :) But the FB Live party was also effective in many ways, so, yes, I would encourage book launchers to do both if possible. While FB Live may reach some of the same people as a real time launch party, it will also reach many who couldn't or wouldn't attend. If you do both, you have a win/win scenario. Can't wait for yours!

  5. Lori, your book looks interesting. I've place my order :) I agree, Facebook is a very valuable tool as we have navigate new ways to launch books. There's always a way!

  6. Fantastic timing. Thanks so much. I appreciate the comments, too. Do you post the video on FB when you are done, and which account? Your profile page or your author page?

  7. HELLO ... it's ME ... the almost-famous author ... Sharon Leaf. Guess what? My book LADY on the RUN is about to be published. Yes, like you, in the midst of this pandemic. Well, I think we're still in the midst, right? Anyway, this new Facebook Live Book Launch Party looks like fun! I had a real-life book launch for my first novel, LADY and the SEA, and we had a blast! I'm very interested in reading your tips. Also, congratulations on your new book! I'm so honored to know you personally from Word Weavers-Lexington. I'm an honorary member, you know. Oceans of blessings to you, my friend!

  8. (hahaha! I just wrote a great reply and I pressed the wrong button and ... gone! So I'll make this short): HELLO ... it's ME ... Sharon Leaf, the almost-famous author. Guess what? My book, LADY on the RUN is almost published. Yes, like you, in the midst of this pandemic. I think we're still in the midst, right? The Facebook Live Book Launch looks like fun! I had a real-life book launch with my last book, LADY and the SEA and we had a blast! I'm very interested in your notes, suggestions, etc. when they're available. Also, congratulations on yet another wonderful book. I'm so honored to know you from Word Weavers-Lexington. I'm an honorary member, you know. I wish you oceans of writing blessings!