Close and Lock the Venue
Nothing says “Go Away!” more than a venue that’s not only closed (lights off, no signs of movement inside) but locked shut, unless you also:
Fail to Display Posters
Not only is the venue closed and locked shut but there’s no poster or sign on the door that the event is going ahead. In fact, the whole set-up screams “Cancelled!”
Even if warm and dry, it’s not a good idea to leave your audience hanging around outside, especially if there’s nowhere to sit because some people can’t stand for long.
Don’t tell the Audience which Entrance will be Open
For security or logistics, it might be that only one entrance will be used for the event. However, if the audience is used to all entrances being open or regularly use one of the entrances which will be shut on the night, a poster/sign would help.
It shouldn’t be left to audience members to suggest/tell event coordinators to check that no one’s been left standing outside a closed entrance either.
Don’t let the Audience know the Event’s Format
Will there be a reading? A speech? Or is the audience just supposed to stand around, mingle and hopefully buy a few books? Most of us don’t do telepathy and no one likes to be made to feel stupid and have to ask.
Assume the Audience are Alcoholic
Some of them will be designated drivers, some don’t like wine, may be recovering alcoholics or simply not feel like drinking. When alcohol drinkers have choice, but the non-drinkers are offered that one jug of warm water that only fills four wine glasses, it’s a good way of making them feel alien.
Only Allow the Audience to Buy Copies of One Book
Book launch audiences tend to be avid readers and book buyers. Why would anyone want to limit their choice to only buying copies of the book being launched, particularly when the launch is happening in a book store? A click or two on a smartphone app, they’ve bought those books from an online retailer, most likely while standing in the store (so they don’t forget which books caught their eye when they get home), and those sales are lost.
The actual book launch was brilliant. The venue… well I won’t be encouraged to hold a launch there.