Arrange a book launch

You can help equip more workers in your area to get organised by arranging a book launch in your area. From 11 September to the end of 2022 I will try to attend as many in-person book launches as I can. This is a guide for if you want to arrange one.

What is a book launch?

A book launch is a meeting involving an author to introduce attendees to a new book and allow them to discuss it. Copies are sold at a discount at book launches. The format could range from me speaking about the book and then an open discussion, through to several people who had read it in advance speaking about it or asking me questions about it. See below for some ideas.

When and where?

I’m based in Manchester, so in general it will work best to arrange events within easy travelling distance for weekday evenings, and events further afield at weekends. I’d rather have one good event in a town or city than multiple smaller ones, particularly if they aren’t local. For events involving quite a bit of travel, I’d ideally want to combine two relatively nearby towns or cities over a weekend to save time and money.

Think about a suitable venue – accessible, including for disabled people, and easy for people to get to.

When you’ve got an idea for a date and place, please get in touch to discuss it and check my availability before booking anything.

A host for the book launch

Think about a local organisation that would be good to host the event and make a broad range of people feel comfortable about attending. For example, this might be a trades council, union branch, or campaign group. The hosts can then book the venue and announce the event, inviting other organisations to sponsor it if they wish. I’ll generally need my travel costs covering, and a bed for the night if it’s too far for a day trip. Sponsorship can also help fund the venue, leaflets, social media promotion etc.

Arrange the format and speakers

Work out who you want to chair the event, and who else you want to speak, which might include someone who has seen the book and can comment or ask questions, or someone involved in a local organising effort who can comment from their own experience.

I think the best format people have come up with yet came from Brighton. The organisers there invited one or two local people involved in disputes to speak for a few minutes at the start. This gave them a platform and set a great context for the rest of the discussion. The chair had read the book and prepared a list of questions. After the strikers, I gave a talk about the book, then the chair made a few comments and asked me a question or two before opening up to all the participants. They could then drop in other questions during the discussion if that helped keep it moving along in a useful direction.

Promote it

You can do all the usual things – talking to people, leaflets, posters, social media, using email lists. In Manchester we produced a leaflet with some information about getting organised and joining a union on one side and details about the book launch on the other, to reach people interested in organising at some unorganised workplaces. If you want to do something similar, please be ready to follow up and support anyone who responds – don’t raise their hopes and then leave them in the lurch. I found leafleting a train station very rewarding – and it has the advantage that people can do it at a time that suits them, such as before work.  I can help with promotional graphics, leaflet design and production, setting up launches on Eventbrite, Facebook, online advertising etc. For smaller launches I’ve produced a generic leaflet to keep costs down.