Planning a Successful Book Event

The first thing many authors think of when I suggest they plan a book event is a reading: Afternoon tea, a quiet bookshop, the author sitting at the front of the room quietly reading from his book. Does this sound like fun to you? Okay, we are writers, maybe it does. But take a look at a listing of local events in your area. What do you see? I scanned the listings of the two local websites I most often use when I’m looking for something interesting to do: Bucks County Alive and Princeton Scoop. I found a Family Art Day at a local museum, a variety of festivals in the many small towns in the area, several corn mazes and wine tasting tours, a Latin Dance festival, plus the usual local theatre, movies and shopping. How does one compete with a simple book reading when there are so many other activities to choose from? Here are a few tips to help you plan a successful event for your book. Choose Your Location Carefully. Of course, your family and friends will probably attend your event, but if you want your book to be a success you have to have more than family and friends purchase it. You are more likely to attract fresh readers in a public place. I’ve been to events at art galleries, bakeries, a lingerie shop and – one of the most successful – outside a local health food store. What type of business can you partner with to create a win/win event for both you and the other business? Think Interactive. Yes, readings from your book should be a part of your event, but what else can you offer to attract more people? Grace Sunga Asagra, author of The Healing Dance, called on her friends to put together an entire ethnic festival. Poet Malene Tiombe asked other poets and performers to participate at her book event and held an evening of poetry and music. A seminar held at a local boutique which caters to your target readers may attract a smaller number of people, but will give you a chance to connect more personally with the attendees. These type of events have advantages: Each person you involve will invite their friends and family – potential book buyers, you’ll have a better chance to attract local media coverage as well as the general public. Advertise Your Event. Send out invitations to everyone on your contact list several weeks ahead of time. Then send out two or three reminders as the event draws closer. Get some posters made and hang them in the area where you’ll be holding the event. Send out press releases to local media and fill out the event listings for online local calendars. I can’t guarantee how successful your own event will be, but Open Door Publications has several authors who have followed these rules and sold from 50 to 100 books at one events. For more ideas on book events and book marketing, check out my book, Sell Your Book! 100 Tips and Tactics.

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