Since this is my first such event, I'm learning like everything else that's new, easy to do if you're willing.
Location, location: Does your book have a setting like mine that lends itself to the location? I've scouted seven locations between downtown Manhattan and south of 70th Street, with Moroccan or Spanish decor, as both books are set in Moorish Spain. Also cost is an important consideration. My total budget is a couple hundred; won't break the bank but will ensure a nice evening.
Entertainment: Food, music, and other entertainment give attendees an incentive to stick around. A private lounge with food, drinks and entertainment (typically a belly dancer) are included at six of the eight venues I'm considering, but the other two also offer a space I can decorate with personal touches. Think rose petals and citrus peels strewn on table tops, votive candles or tea lights. Also, a very gracious friend is offering her talents as a henna artist for the evening.
Books for sale: Assuming that not every attendee has read your book, the party seems like a perfect place to sell copies. Thanks to CreateSpace, I have a dozen free copies of both books, which will be available for discounted sale and signing throughout the evening. I also have business cards and bookmarks with the URLs for the books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and my website.
Swag: Gotta thank everyone who showed up, right? I found the perfect little beaded organza bags to fill with a few items for all party guests. One lucky attendee will leave at the end of the evening with a Kindle Fire and another will each receive a signed paperback copy of each book.
Have you ever planned a book launch party? Are there any great ideas you can share?