The first thing many authors think of when their book’s out is Book TV, Comic Con, New York Book Festival…etc. The thought of participating as panelists or vendors instead of being attendees sounds exciting although intimidating. The larger crowd of attendees is not the only big factor. There is also the quantity of author booths competing for attention as well that can scare off many from signing up. These big events are definitely a different league from signing books in a book store or any other small venue, and thus the preparation checklist is larger. However, it shouldn’t be overwhelming. Here are some things to consider when planning:
- When choosing which events to participate in the first thing to do is establish goals. Many of these events are targeted to specific crowds, so before creating the list of events for the year the author should think through what they wish to accomplish. If it is sales, then a comic con is not the right place for a Self-Help book. But if it is promotion, why not? Even Comic fans need some self-help sometimes, or have friends who enjoy self-help books, so giving away T-Shirts, postcards…etc., could pay off as mouth to mouth could generate sales later on.
- Once a list of possible events is in place, there are few questions to answer before signing up to attend any of them. Many times there are dues and efforts needed that are not stated on the event websites. For example, do you need a sales tax number? Do you need to apply for a license to be able to sell? Does the signup fee cover the table, electricity…etc? Asking questions will give an insight on the event that can’t be acquired by the general information on the website. Knowing more will help the author determine the exact costs for participating.
- Make a list of things that you need for the event like banners, marketing handouts, raffle giveaways…etc. Get quotes on producing them, and when designing them do so to be able to re-produce them for other events. This will make the investment worthwhile.
- Make the event a full blown promotional effort; don’t just make it about selling books. If driving to the event, why not put decals of all the books on the car!
- Design ways to get people to visit the booth. Giving away T-Shirts and other items are great, but making the booth interactive can go a long way. A laptop playing the book’s video commercial. The Author dressing as the fictional character, having original Historical items or documents referenced within the story on display as a way to start a conversation is also a way to keep people’s attention longer. Be creative, unique and genuine.
Finally, have fun! In the end Authors have to relax, talk to people, and enjoy the time spent with people. Writing is an isolating activity so coming out of the shell is not only necessary to connect back with people, it is also imperative to help the audience relate to the author. Many times, book sales will not happen during the event but after the event by people who related to the author. For more information on how Reader Views can help authors visit www.readerviews.com