Saturday, November 7, 2015

Organizing a Community Author Event

Today I participated in a community author event along with several other wonderful and talented authors. Despite a little rain, I think it turned out to be a success and most important, a positive experience for everyone!


Are you an author who would like to organize an event in YOUR community?  

Well after going through the process, now I can tell you how!

1. Go  to a local bookshop and ask if they'd be interested in hosting a local author event. In my case, I went to a bookshop that was already selling my book, so they knew who I was, which helped I think.

2. If the bookshop agrees, ask them: "What dates would be good to hold the event?"  "How many other authors should I invite - is there a max?" "Will there be a fee to pay to you for hosting?"

3. Search out other authors. I did this by visiting the website of a recent book fair and looking up other self-published authors, and contacting them individually. Ask them to tell you a definitive yes or no by a certain date. Remember, the more authors you have, the more people are likely to come to the event.

4. Search among your contacts for people who would be willing to contribute their skills to make the event successful - something that would draw more people in. For us, it was our WONDERFUL artists. We had two amazing ladies who offered free face painting and free caricatures to kids who stopped by. This was SUCH a great way to draw more people in.

4. Once you know who all is coming, pick a date that works well with all the participants as well as the bookshop to hold the event.

5. Now that you know a date, design an eye-catching flyer (our artist, Marie did a wonderful job on ours).

6. Advertise the event! Have each author print out a set number of flyers (we did 100 each) and distribute them among friends, family, neighbors, and local businesses. Spread the word any way you can - facebook, craigslist, radio stations, word-of-mouth. The bookshop who hosted our event put it on their website and spread the word too, which was helpful.

7. On the day of the event, put up signs on busy streets around the bookshop with arrows pointing to the event.

Other helpful ideas DURING your author event:
  • Have a stack of business cards ready to hand out.
  • Be friendly to all the customers. BRING them to you by inviting them over. Don't be afraid to just hand them your book and start explaining what it's about (this is how I got almost all of my sales).
  • Having free stuff to give out to kids (like leftover Halloween candy) is a great way to get customers to your table.
  • Before the event, practice your book "pitch" - a short description of the book that will hopefully make people want to buy it. Mine went something like "This is my book that I wrote and illustrated. It's called Itchy Mitchie and it's about a little boy with itchy feet and how he tries to find a cure. The moral of the book is that positive thinking and engaging in good activities can help us overcome problems, such as itchy feet!"   (PS If I could do it all over again, I think I would have written down and  practiced my pitch a little more).
  • Bring cash with you for customers to make change with. Also, get that "Square" app that allows you to accept credit cards from your phone - I lost a sale from not having one!
  • Keep tally of how many books you sell (just in case you mix up the money you made with the change money you brought).
  •  If you were planning on the event to be outside, ALWAYS have a plan "B" for if it rains! (and a tarp handy).

How grateful I am for the wonderful authors, artists, supporters and community I am so lucky to be a part of! Today could not have been anywhere close to a success if it weren't for them!

And also, how grateful I am for sweet little moments like this...

...when I see a mother reading my book to her kids, I can't help but think to myself, "THAT right there, is my lifelong dream come true." It truly warms my heart!  :)

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