Preparing for Author Events…

WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

As much as I intend to stay in the moment and enjoy every single second left of summer it is time to plan for the fall, winter and spring.

Florida Does Beach Feet

If you are like me, achieving your writing goals is nearly impossible during the summer. Having a book to market, a new one coming out this fall and writing another has kept me busy and I didn’t quite meet my goals so of now I am in panicked catch-up mode.

How did you do with your writing goals over the summer?

I have a few author events coming up and I need to start preparing for them so I thought I would share what I’ve figured out with you.

Preparing for Author Events

I’ve been reading a lot lately about authors that no longer want to do book signings because they have no luck with them. While I agree that there are times when no matter what you do to prepare for the event people just don’t show up and other times there can be a line out the door.

What I have learned is there are things you can do to improve your chances for a successful event. The fact is publishers are not doing much these days to market and or promote their authors. Book stores depend on the author to bring the crowd to their store. It is up to us to advertise; market and promote ourselves.

Two months before the event:

Contact the community relations manager (CRM) and ask if they have ordered your books from their distributor or if they need you to supply them. Ask if he/she sends out press releases and if they do provide them with your bio, high definition book cover and author photos. I always send my own press releases too.

Barnes and Noble

Most newspapers have an event calendar online that you can add your information to. Place a series of ads in your local newspaper or magazine advertising the event. Ads can be pricey so ask about specials or discounts and check the rates of large and small publications. You don’t want the ads to run sooner than two-weeks before the event but they may have to be ordered weeks in advance.

Create and order postcards. I use Vista Print and use my book cover, author photo and the bookstore’s logo or a photo of the front of their store. Ask the CRM if they will put the postcards on their counters.

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Create a Facebook event. I always mention that I have a gift for the first ten people that buy the book. I get ten gift bags from a dollar store and pens, candy, small notebooks, bookmarkers and other small items from Sam’s or BJ’s. It doesn’t have to be much and the ten small bags with bows look nice on your table.

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Send pitches to your local TV and radio show producers.

Six weeks before the event:

Send out an announcement to your e-mail list. Add the event to your website/blog and check with local bloggers to see if they will do an ad for you on their blog. These can be as inexpensive as $15.00 a month. Some will offer to do a write up and a review as well.

Mail postcards to everyone you know, friends, family and co-workers. Ask them to spread the word.

Book Signing Postcard

One Month before the event:

Think about how you will set your table up. You may want to bring a table cloth that matches your book cover, business cards, bookmarkers, a stand to put your book or poster on and a big bowl of candy. I put a sign up on my table that says ‘Meet the Author.’ Believe it or not sometimes people just have no idea what you are doing there.

Attend one or two author events at the store and network while you are there.

Big Blue Marble Book Store

If you can afford to hire a professional photographer to take photos during the event it can create a lot of interest in you and your book.

Write an announcement for the store to use. I write three so they aren’t repetitive.

Two weeks before the event:

Follow up with whoever you invited. Place reminder calls. Create social media posts. Do not post about the event more than once a day. It can annoy people. Two or three times a week is plenty.

What are you going to wear? Whatever you decide on it should be business casual.

The Event:

Plan to arrive ½ hour early so you have plenty of time to set up your table and deliver the announcement you wrote to the person who will be doing the announcing.

Bring a small gift for the CRM. One of the small gift bags is fine.

Get out from behind your table and mingle. Always have a book in your hand. If someone ask you what the book is about hand them the book with the back cover up and invite them to read the synopsis.

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No matter how many people show up, have fun. I once had a signing and only two people showed up. One of them was the host of a radio show, she invited me on her show and I sold dozens of books because of that appearance.

Ask the CRM if you can sign a few books to leave in the store. Post on social media that you left signed copies at the store.

After the event:

Send a thank you card to the CRM and let him/her know that you are available for future events, author panels etc.

Good luck and happy writing,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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