A Recap on October’s Author Events And Why I Think Authors Should Put Themselves Out There

Standard

October was a busy month for me as an author. Not only did I release my latest title, The Wizard’s Gambit, but I also participated in several author events as well.

On October 17th, I hosted an online book launch party to celebrate with long-distant friends the release of my new book. During the party, I served virtual cake and drinks while sharing information about my new book.

The following week, I hosted a physical book launch party for family, friends, and fans at Half Moon Restaurant and Brewery in Kokomo. Almost twenty people showed up, I believe, several more than I expected. I actually ran out of room at the table and had to request more chairs!

12049715_10105635908950218_6801156900101553633_n

Dr. Who endorses this produce or service.

For those who were unable to attend the book launch party on Friday, they were invited to stop by my booth during Saturday’s comic convention. The event was held at our local community event center. Nearly 1,500 people walked through the doors that day. A small portion of them stopped by my booth and purchased a signed copy of my book. I made more than enough to cover my booth fees and any related expenses. Plus, I got lots of people to sign up for my newsletter. My book found itself into the hands of new readers as well as returning fans, who told me how much they enjoyed my first novel, The Quest for the Holy Something or Other. One fan, a high school student, informed me that she’d used my debut novel for a book report on comedic fiction. I was thrilled. Of all the events, this was probably the most successful, and I think it has a lot to do with the event I participated in the week before.

Image 1

Go geek or go home!

The week before Kokomo-Con, my sister and I were invited by one of our area school’s librarians to speak to her “geek group” about cosplay and Kokomo-Con. For many of these students, Kokomo-Con would be there first convention and cosplay event. So we created a fun powerpoint with information, photos, and advice for new cosplayers and presented it to the students after school during their club meeting. We talked about our own cosplay experience, the ups and downs, and offered some advice to new cosplayers and congoers. My sister even wore her new walking centaur costume. Of course I squeezed in some shameless self-promotion during the presentation.

The students loved us, and I saw many of them at my booth the following Saturday, eager to show off their costumes and learn more about my writing. I’m happy to say, I’ve been invited back to speak on writing/publishing/freelancing to her aspiring artists and writers. I can’t wait!

From my personal experience, I’d say author events are worth doing for one simple reason: to connect with readers. Writing is a solitary job and reading is a lonely activity. Put the reader and writer together and you get more than just a lonely reader and an invisible author, you get a connection.

Author events give authors a chance to engage readers in person, to see the reactions on their faces while describing their book. Readers get a chance to share their thoughts on the author’s work and to ask questions regarding the writing process. This interaction enhances the reader’s experience later on and inspires the author to keep writing. Plus, readers are more likely to purchase a book from someone they’ve actually met. Studies show that . . . somewhere. Just take my word for it.

For those of you who are planning on hosting an author’s event, I offer some simple advice:

  • Relax. Focus on having fun, not making sales.
  • Pump yourself up. Tell yourself this is going to be fun.
  • Lower your expectations. Face it, unless you’re Stephen King or George R. R. Martin, not that many people are going to care about your book, at least not right away.
  • Acknowledge the awkwardness of the situation or bring a friend along to lessen the embarrassment.
  • Drink a martini beforehand. Or take a Xanax.
  • Practice talking about your book BEFORE the event.
  • Offer free bookmarks and/or candy to lure people to your booth.
  • Smile and engage potential readers. Be social.
  • Decorate your booth with a tablecloth and eye-catching items to draw people’s attentions. Make sure your books are visible.
  • Provide incentives, like a giveaway, to encourage people to visit your booth and/or sign up for your newsletter.
  • Offer the book or books at a discounted price to entice them to purchase the book now rather than later.
  • Offer to sign books purchased in person.
  • Stay positive. Even if you want to die.

Authors, put yourselves out there. Schedule an event at your local library. Host a read-in at the popular coffee shop. Face down your fears so you can connect!

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “A Recap on October’s Author Events And Why I Think Authors Should Put Themselves Out There

  1. That’s awesome! I’m so glad things are going well for you, and I definitely agree about reaching out to your local library. Though I’m just getting started, my local library has been my greatest asset so far. Their spring event will be the first in-person event.

    • That’s awesome … my local library not so much. They hosted an event seemingly out of obligation, but they refuse to promote anyone who won’t bring “high traffic” into the library. Still, I was glad they at least offered the author’s event last spring. I hope they do it again. Good luck on your spring event! Share pictures, please.

      • Aw. 😦 That stinks that yours wasn’t quite as enthusiastic. It was really a surreal experience with mine–kind of intimidating if I’m being completely honest. They made me feel like I was way more important than I am, which made me nervous. lol. And thanks! I definitely will. Any words of advice for first events?

      • Aside from the bullet list (which I’m totally serious about) just relax and have fun. Don’t take it too seriously but enjoy your moment. This is you getting to be the author. Not just a writer anymore. Don’t over worry about sales or how many people show up, just enjoy the moment. Oh, and take pictures to share!

  2. Sounds like some great steps to take. If I was the author doing the event a Xanax or two would definitely be required, but if I was the potential reader, I’d love the meet and greet. 🙂

    • I wish I had more opportunities as a reader to meet authors. As an author I do what I did going into student teaching: pop a Xanax and fake a smile until it becomes a real one. It’s funny how we start enjoying ourselves once we get over the initial fears.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s