Book signings and other author events are exciting for authors and readers alike when the right planning and preparation take place. There are many different events that you can take part in as an author. Instead of trying to be present at every signing or appearance possible, make sure the venue and audience at the event work for you and your goals for your book. Every event that you appear at should work with your marketing plan. Read on for tips on how to make events memorable and worthwhile.
Events such as book fairs and trade shows vary dramatically in size and build. When you are considering an event, find out how many other authors will be appearing, how many people are expected to attend, if the venue is inside or outside, how much space you’ll have, and what the busiest times of the day will be. Considering the venue and audience will help you determine what to bring with you, what to wear, and what to expect. Also, look for venues that have a tie to your book. Being a local author adds some newsworthiness, and attending events taking place in a location mentioned in your book adds a fun dynamic that patrons may find interesting.
Audiences are rarely the same from event to event. Determine what age group will be at the fair or show and what the group’s interests are. (For example, is the fair primarily for children or adults?) Some shows are regularly attended by publishing industry leaders or book-buying professionals, while others attract mostly readers. Consider your goals when looking at who will be attending. For example, if your goal is to make meaningful connections, you may want to go to a more professional show. But, if you’d like to interact with readers and get feedback on your work, a fair attracting readers of your genre may work best. Consider who you’ll be meeting before you determine if the show is right for you.
When considering your budget and what events to take part in, understand that book signings and appearances are primarily a chance to network. Making connections is a great way to build a platform that may later lead to book sales, but your sales may not soar immediately. That said, consider how far you have to travel for an event, how long you’ll have to stay, how much work you’ll miss, and how many sales you hope to generate when determining whether or not your budget allows you to make the investment. Think of this investment in terms of other marketing activities you could do at the same cost. That will help you determine if attending the event fits into your marketing plan.
Don’t wait until you arrive at the event to find out that you could have done a lot more to generate interest in your book. Depending on the venue, you may want to take along visual aids, like posters or perhaps even a video to play on a television or computer screen. Be sure to bring enough business cards, bookmarks, or flyers. Before you attend a book signing, find a pen that you feel comfortable writing with and think of a phrase you’d like to sign in the books. Bring along anything that will make you more comfortable, like a pillow to sit on or a fan if you’ll be in the heat. Careful preparation will lead to a better event experience.
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