Book events can be held at any time of year and either in store, online or at literary festivals. It is a chance to tell your direct audience about your product. It is a chance to sell your product. Christmas may seem like an ideal time to hold a book reading or event, but bear in mind just as your social calendar may get busy, so will the bookstores. They will be gearing up for their busiest time of year and might not have the facilities to host events at this time (Think staff and more demanding customers).
However some stores hold Christmas events where a number of authors attend and get table space in order to sign copies so it may be worth doing some research in your area to see whether this happens at your local bookstore – you may even want to suggest it.
Other good times to hold events are during the spring when festivals start happening and stores need to keep customers coming into them – Christmas is only once a year and so events provide community interest in the bookstores when that’s not there.
There are a few types of event format:
– Talk and signing
– table signing
– Informal chat and signing
– Interview and Q&A
It is worth considering what genre you have written when working out a good event structure. Do you have a lot of questions to answer on a chick lit title? Will a table signing interest people in your photography? If you have written something that needs demonstrating, where could you do that- maybe not a bookstore but somewhere that they could staff?
Other book events:
– Cookery demonstrations
– Wine tastings
– Film screenings
– Craft evenings
– Book club appearances
These could be held at a bookstore, kitchen sets, trendy bars that have room hire, independent cinemas, restaurants or hotels, local fairs or fetes or other community days. Have a think about what would work best for you and keep an eye on when other literary events are happening – it may be worth emailing and seeing if there is a way you could take part.
If your subject matter is meant for a certain audience or targeted to a certain age group, it may be an idea to tap into that community online and host a live Q&A on your Twitter account (Create a hashtag and promote via a community board or on your feed) or maybe even a Google+ hangout- you can also promote this via Facebook and Twitter if you are set up on Hootsuite for example.
Traditional sitting behind a table and signing may be all you want to do, and that’s great, but remember that the authors who mostly do that have their publisher’s publicity team behind them and previous to them grabbing a Sharpie and signing, their appearance would have been promoted.
Promoting your event will mostly come from you- don’t leave it up to others. Get it out there on social media, put leaflets out in coffee shops near the venue (Starbucks run a community board scheme), get a free listing in the local paper or website. Depending on your audience, invite groups of people who would enjoy your book that may hold meetups and can spread the word easily. Find out if a local bookgroup would read your book and then go along to their meet up and answer any questions- the list is endless, you just have to think outside the box.
Make sure that you are offering something that people will remember. One mistake I have observed authors making is the walking around bookshops disturbing people and up-selling their books. This only really works in local communities and may lose it’s affect in a bigger town or City.
Whatever you decide to do, have a good time and enjoy the attention!
About Maria – I have worked with books for 10 years, selling, stacking, event hosting, marketing and even making posters of them! I have double-stacked shelves at home and want to offer advice to authors that may need some clarity on the book trade from time to time – you are not alone!
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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.