You’ve worked hard to build your online presence. You also have to step outside and meet your future readers face to face. Enter author events. These range from speaking engagements to craft fairs, library events and everything in between. Be creative. Go where your readers are.
At your event, you need to set up a display that gives your readers an opportunity to meet you, buy your book, and sends them home with something in hand that will tell them how to connect with you afterwards even if they don’t buy your book. You also want to use this event to build your contact list.
Your display should convey something about you and your book(s). If your writing is humorous or playful, let your display have that same feel. If it’s a Victorian or fantasy setting, your display should have that feel. It should be professional and well organized in its appearance. Make it something they will remember.
I didn’t know what to expect at my first event and took too much stuff. Afterwards, I decided I needed to carry everything I needed by myself in one trip. After the second event, I decided I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel every time I needed to pull together supplies for an event.
I created my event-in-a-box. One plastic tub filled with everything I’ll need except my books, banner and poster. These are too big to fit. The week before my event, I double check my supplies for anything I need to buy then load up my large bag and my box on wheels and I’m good to go.
Here are 10 things you need to take with you to your author event:
Table coverings. I have had large spaces and small spaces to cover, so I have more than one table cloth to choose from. I like to have a more elegant look and my table covering reflects that.
Decorations. A poster of my book with a stand to sit it in. I like to add my Willow Tree figurine of husband and wife standing together. (these are things I have displayed in my home so although I could add these to the box, I don’t). The poster stand I use is a display stand for a plate or some other decoration. Add touches that give people an idea about who your are and what your writing is about.
Informational posters and stands. I have an informational poster that nicely displays the cost of my book. I also have one with information about my newsletter. I slide these into a plastic display stand. They look so much better if you type them on your computer instead of handwriting them. You may have different posters you use for different events. If you make a new one, keep it, you may use it again. I keep these in a folder so they won’t bend.
Sign up forms and clip board. Events are a great place to have people sign up for your newsletter. Maybe you’re having a giveaway and need entry forms. This helps to build your contact list so have something to offer in exchange for their information.
Pens. Be prepared for people to walk off with these – bring plenty of extras.
Contact information and marketing material. People like to take something with them. Have plenty of bookmarks and business cards. I have been to book events where other authors have NO contact info. Don’t even think about going to an event without some way of letting people know how to contact you/follow you.
Your book(s) and pens to sign. It’s hard to tell with books how many you will need. Be prepared with a few more than you think you will need and a way for people to order one if you run out. Don’t put too many up on your table at once. It will make it look cluttered. If you have a special color pen you like to sign with – I use purple-have more than one on hand.
Giveaway. I like to give a nice handmade bookmark to everyone who buys a book. If it is a small event, I will give one to everyone who comes. I also have chocolates to offer my future readers when they stop by my table. After using a glass dish several times, I have landed on using a basket to put mine in.Readers will remember your generosity and helpfulness. Is there something small you can give to your readers?
Cash to give change and (if possible) a way to take credit card payment. I also like to keep receipts for myself for tax purposes.
Snacks and water. I always add these to my bag– especially if I’m going to be by myself and don’t have any idea what will be available. Also gum or mints: I don’t want to visit with new readers with stinky breath.
Not everything goes with me every time, but I’m ready if I need it.
When I load up, I use a fabric hobby tote to keep my small items- pens, candy, bookmarks, business cards, and such – organized inside my bag. I have a large bag if I need more than will fit in my box on wheels and it sits nicely on top. If you use a box on wheels, you need a liner of sorts to protect your things from whatever may splash up from the ground.
As you do your face to face marketing, have you discovered a tip or useful item to have at events?
Angela D. Meyer lives in NE with her husband and two children whom they homeschool - recently graduating their son. She has taught Bible class for over 35 years and is on the leadership team of her local Christian writers group. She loves God, her family, the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh. Someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon and vacation by the sea.