I think I have now done enough of these book events to plan better for my upcoming events AND give advice to those of you about to head into your first bunch.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. You are a Travelling-Sales-Author. Wrap your head around it and get comfortable with selling yourself, your brand and your books.
2. Bookmarks are a great reminder to people who don’t have the time/cash to buy your book right there, and the more fun the bookmark, the more likely you’ll be remembered!
3. If you’re reading from your book as part of your event, I suggest having two readings ready. For my own part since my book is being read by both children and adults, I have a few pages that are more action-oriented, that allow for more gestures and drama for the kids, and a more Sherlockian-tease for the adults. In both cases I have those readings as PDFs on my iPad (as you can see in the image above).
4. If you’re selling your book yourself, keep lots of change on hand, and maybe look into getting a Square™ for people’s credit cards (I’m researching the options myself now). There’s nothing worse than having someone who wants to buy your book but can’t for those two reasons.
BTW: here’s a great review of Square VS the Paypal ‘Here’ device for reading credit cards
*UPDATE: The Paypal ‘Here’ is only available to a ‘select number of Canadian businesses’ right now, so it is not an option for me or my fellow Canucks!
5. A few days before an event (especially one you didn’t set up yourself – maybe your publisher or your agent arranged it) call/email the venue and ask if there’s anything they need. Every single venue I contacted asked for something – from some details about the book, to a physical book to put up in their window to some graphics for their Facebook Events pages. Get in contact and follow through because you BOTH want the event to be a success.
6. I didn’t believe this until I tried it, but posting physical flyers can help bring in walk-by traffic, so do yourself a favour and create some graphics for your events. I have a template I reuse by changing up the location and dates (see image to the left).
Then talk to the venue about the best places to post the flyers (every town is different). If you get the chance to post it in a local library, take the time to speak to the librarian because they will talk the event up to your potential fans as they come through the library.
7. Don’t be shy. A Book Event is no place for a shy violet my friends. You’re there to sell yourself, your book, your series and your brand. Do it with grace and humility, but do it. Sell it.
8. Leave lots of time for the author questions from other people who want to follow in your footsteps. Pay it forward! You didn’t get where you are on your own – so be THAT person for the next author struggling through the debilitating rejection letters or imposing edits.