Mick Rooney, publishing consultant, author, journalist and editor of The Independent Publishing Magazine, shares his top 5 tips for making the most of live author events.
1 Make Your Events Inclusive
Try and make your launch or speaking event more than just signing books or reading from it. Be inclusive and involve your audience – because your readers (particularly when you start out) *are* your community. Embrace and include them. Be creative.
2 Personalise Your Book Signings
If time permits, when you're signing books, always ask the reader's first name and include it with your signature and book inscription. This is also a useful incentive to offer when financing your books through crowdfunding.
3 Use A Receipt System
It's always wise to have a receipt system for direct sales. In the late 1990s I did a lot of direct sales at events and would order an A4 block of 500 from the printers, perforated in the middle. The customer signed one half with their name and email address, and the top half would have my website and contact details on it. It helped me track sales and also built up my email newsletter list even at a time lots of people didn't use or have an email. Also, slip a business card, bookmark or postcard into every book sold directly. You'd be amazed how many readers like those little personal touches.
4 Offer Readers Incentives for Sharing their Email Address
Some readers you meet at events can be wary of giving an email address, so offer incentives, such as coupon discount codes for other titles, or links to a free ebook short or free short story. That way the reader is more inclined to feel a part of your reader community. It's all about adding value no matter how small. Readers love FREE and EXCLUSIVE. And when sending out newsletters and communications to readers, always try to set it up so the email is addressed to the person by first name, not just Hello or Dear Reader.
5 Personalise Your Incentives
Authors talk a lot about signing books, but readers also love quality bookmarks. It's worth designing your postcard or bookmark with a place to put your signature. Believe me, the reader will treasure it more than your average Waterstones or Foyles bookmark.
Do you have a favourite tip for adding impact to live author events? Please feel free to share them via the comment box.
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