Book Events 101: What You Need to Know About Planning Author Events

Book Events 101 What You Need to Know About Planning Author Events

Book events can be so much fun and signing books for readers can be an out-of-body experience! However, for the average author, planning successful book events will not make your book a bestseller. They are a great way to celebrate the accomplishment of your book being published, but they also require heavy lifting for promotion and marketing in order to ensure it’s a successful event. Read on for our expert tips on how to best engage your local community for your book launch.

Get to Know Your Local Bookstores and Booksellers–Before Your Book Comes Out

Step into every local independent bookstore and introduce yourself to the staff. Be an engaged customer, ask them for reading recommendations, attend their event programming, and sign up for the store’s newsletter. It’s best if you’ve already established the relationships with the booksellers PRIOR to writing and launching your book. As networking goes, the more you organically develop these relationships, the more likely they are to genuinely support you and your book launch when the time comes.

Be a Supportive Author

Once the booksellers know you’re a local author, be there to support the bookstore in any way possible. Offer to sign copies for their store. Be open to providing content wherever possible. For example, do they have a blog where you could write a guest post sharing your recent favorite reads? Are they active on social media? Offer to take pictures or partner for content creation or an author takeover. Do they have a newsletter where they could publish an author Q&A with you? Get creative and make sure your editorial efforts will benefit them too.

How to Pitch: Types of Events + Suggested Attendance

Ideally, you’ll want to reach out to your local indie bookstores at least four months in advance of your book publication date to inquire about event opportunities. Events could range from a straight-forward book signing (you at a table, able to sign books for and chat with anyone who stops by), author talk (single author presentation or reading), in conversation (you and another author interviewing each other about your books); panel discussions (you and other authors on similar topics/genres, moderated by a bookstore host); and/or story time (typically for children’s books, you lead story time and/or host a craft activity for kids).

It’s important to note that not all bookstores host events, so make sure to do your research and look online for their guidelines on how to inquire about their programming. When you contact the bookstore, you’ll also want to include your best guesstimation of attendees (including your colleagues, acquaintances, friends, and family) to demonstrate that your event would have a good turnout. Be realistic with this number–you don’t want to say you’ll have 100 people attend and only 10 show up!

Promote, promote, promote!

Once your event is confirmed and on the calendar, start promoting and inviting your guests! Create an event graphic with all the details to share via email and on social media. Get the event listed on local things-to-do calendars. Reach out to the local media for possible event coverage. Run a targeted ad campaign aimed at those in your region with similar interests to your book. Send out reminders a week before and the day before the event to help with maximum attendance. And practice your signature and any other messages you’ll write as you sign books!

Looking for more guidance on your book launch? Give us a call to chat strategy!

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