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Reaching Readers: Top Tips For Author Events

Reaching Readers: Top Tips for Author Events

Sarah Juckes of ALLi Partner Member Completely Novel shares her top tips to help self-published authors make their publicity events run smoothly.

Sarah Juckes

Sarah Juckes of Completely Novel, an ALLi Partner Member

It’s summer, and time to pop your books under your arm and take them on tour at festivals, conferences and fêtes. As a seasoned event-goer, I’ve put together a list of what I’ve found has worked (or not worked) for me, so that you can benefit from my experience, too.

If you have a table/stall

Completely Novel stall

Completely Novel’s stall includes the lure of chocolate!

DO – Take a newsletter signup sheet, a pen and perhaps some small treats with you to entice people to signup to your newsletter. A newsletter is a great way to remind people of your book, even if you don’t manage to make a sale on the day.

DON’T – Sit down (if you can). People are more likely to approach you if you look enthusiastic. Make eye contact, say hello as people walk by, ask them questions on how their day is going.

DO – Make your table look awesome. Theme it to your book. If you have leaflets, spread them out so they are easy to pick up.

DON’T – Do a hard sale. We’ve all been in the position of being sold to and let’s face it, it can get annoying. Instead, meet your readers at their level, ask them about things they are interested in and then incorporate your book into the conversation. You might find that your book probably isn’t for them, and that’s fine – everyone is different.

If you’re wandering around

Pile of seven books

Take just a few books with you

DO – Speak to people. Networking is such an important marketing tool, so take the time to speak to as many people as you can. Swap business cards, books or details, and then follow them up the day after with a friendly email, or by adding them to LinkedIn. You never know who might be able to hook you up with a future event, article or even some advice when you need it.

DON’T – Haul fifty copies of your book about. You’ll regret it after an hour! Take one or two copies to show to people and if they seem interested, give them a bookmark or leaflet letting them know where they can get a copy.

DO – Have a pitch prepared. People are going to ask you what your book is about, and you’re going to have a very short amount of time to ‘sell’ it to them. Think about what makes your book unique and try to condense it into one or two sentences.

DON’T – Do a hard sale. Yes, I know we’ve already covered that, but it’s really important!

If you’re sitting in at lectures and workshops

Hand signing a book

Practise your booksigning and take a good pen

DO – live Tweet! Find out the event hashtag and WiFi code, and tweet useful advice and questions during the conference. You might find yourself virtually networking with others in the room, getting retweeted by the speakers and even connecting with those who aren’t at the event, but are interested in the discussion.

DON’T – be afraid to ask questions at the end. It’s a good way to introduce yourself to the room. Just remember that it should be a question and not a pitch for your book, but it’s a good opportunity to say your name, and that you are an author so anyone interested can find you later.

Suggested tweet to share this post:

“#Toptips for #author events from @CompletelyNovel for @IndieAuthorALLi: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/author-events/”

Sarah Juckes

Sarah writes Young Adult fiction by night, and by day works for CompletelyNovel - an online publishing platform and author community that aims to make publishing simple (and friendly!). She loves connecting with writers, so drop her a line over on CompletelyNovel.com.

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. “Have a pitch prepared.” Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t have this at the ready! At a conference I once asked an author how her novel stood out from similar YA novels in the marketplace. After fumbling for a bit she admitted that she’s “bad at the elevator speech thing”. If you’re going to an event- you must be prepared to speak eloquently about your book!

  2. Hi Sarah, it’s been a pleasure to run into you at several events – always passionate and enthusiastic, practising what you preach! The last point about asking questions is really important – so many Q&A sessions are wrecked for much of the audience by a few people whose “questions” consist of a long synopsis of their book and “what should I do with this book?” rather than things that would be more generally helpful. It’s absolutely understandable why people would want to do this, but not only does it not help other people who are deprived of advice time, it marks their own card as being “one of the troublesome ones”

  3. Sarah, these are great tips. I begin a whirlwind tour of my latest book this month, and I agree that there’s all kinds of ‘soft’ ways to introduce our books to potential buyers that don’t turn them off. Your exhibit is great. I too, have large posters of my books, and keep postcards that have a blurb about the book, cover image, and all my contact info: facebook, twitter, email and bus. phone of our small publishing company.

    I also solicit (softly, of course) lectures, book talks, and speaking opportunities as I meet people in a position to invite me.

    Thanks for the new ideas!

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