As a reader, book festivals are a ton of fun. As an author, they can be a ton of fun and a ton of work, but they can also give you and your book great exposure! Here are some tips about how to excel when you attend your next book festival. Learning About Book Festivals How does one find out about book festivals? Brandylane: Brandylane Publicity sends regular emails listing book festivals across the country with upcoming submission deadlines. We try to maintain a comprehensive list of festivals, so if there’s one in your area we missed, let us know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org! An internet search: Run a quick Google search for book festivals in a specific location. Social media: Follow book festivals on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to get updates directly from festival organizers. Email newsletters: Sign up for the email newsletter of one or several festivals you would like to participate in to receive updates directly to your inbox. Most of their websites should include this sign-up option. Ways to Participate in Book Festivals There are several ways an author can be involved in a book festival. You may even be able to participate in more than one way, time and resources permitting. Seller: Many book festivals have opportunities for authors to be vendors. As a vendor, you can set up a table to sell and sign copies of your book. This is a great place to find people who love to read and are ready to take books home. Speaker: There may be an opportunity for you to speak at a book festival, either as part of a panel or independently. This is a great way to get attendees engaged in your book and familiar with you and your title(s). Often, you will be permitted to sell and sign books after the panel or presentation, and this is a great time to meet fans. Volunteer: If you’re not interested in speaking or selling, or if your book doesn’t meet the festival’s requirements, you can volunteer. This will provide you with inside knowledge about festival happenings and allow you to contribute. You may even get the chance to meet some VIPs or festival organizers—get your name out there! Attend: If you’re not interested in being a vendor, speaker, or volunteer, but you still want to be a part of a festival, simply go! Attend the workshops and presentations, meet other authors, take notes, and be a part of the excitement. Signing Up for Book Festivals The steps to participate vary among the many different festivals, so here are guidelines to help you find your way. Pay close attention to the specific requirements of each festival. Do research. Visit the festival website to ensure it’s the right kind of festival for you. For example, approaching a children’s book festival with a memoir is a waste of time for you and the organizers who will ultimately reject your application. If they only accept books released in the last year, your 2014 book is not appropriate. Note deadlines. Some festivals will accept applications until spots are filled. In this case, act quickly, as you have no way of knowing when will be too late. Most festivals have an application deadline. Some festivals offer discounts to earlybird applicants or penalties to late applicants. Find out how to apply. You may be able to simply sign up. More likely, however, you will be required to fill out an application and await approval. There may even be a small application fee. You may have to email an organizer or complete a form on the website. Complete your application. Make sure you have all your materials ready and fill out everything meticulously. Wait to hear back! If several weeks pass without any updates, be sure to follow up. Preparing for a Book Festival As soon as you have signed the forms, paid your fees, and secured your attendance, it’s time to start getting ready. Announce your upcoming book festival attendance on social media, email, and more. Plan your presentation. We could—and might—write a whole ‘nother marketing tip about how to prepare to speak at a festival. Suffice it to say: Be prepared. Know what is expected and practice ahead of time. Don’t forget to mention your book! Gather your materials. This may include a table and setting, cases of your book for sale, or other items. Whether you’re selling books or just an attendee, business cards are a great idea to help you connect with people you meet. Be prepared with information about how to get there, where to park, and where you will set up or speak. Schedule. Whether you are vending, speaking, volunteering, or simply attending, view the schedule of events ahead of time so you know which you would like to attend! Attending a Book Festival Attend as many events, sessions, workshops, etc. as you can. Try to make decisions about what to attend based on your genre and weak spots. Sessions with literary agents and publishers can provide invaluable inside knowledge on the industry. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Exchange cards, connect on social media, and don’t forget to follow up when you get home! Whether you are presenting or selling, be prepared, do it well, and have fun! After a Book Festival Post about it on social media and/or recap in an email newsletter. Use any photos you took and tag the appropriate parties! Thank those who helped you. If you were in touch with someone who worked for the festival, thank them. If a friend or family member helped you prepare or came with you, thank them. Connect online with people you met. Use social media to make a lasting connection with other authors, agents or publishers, and fans who you met or whose sessions you attended. Then it’s time to start thinking about the next festival, or thinking about what you can do differently at the same festival next year!
When preparing for book talks, signings, or other events, utilizing several promotional avenues can bring in a larger, more diverse group of attendees. Creating a “Facebook event” can generate hype and draw in multitudes. The venue or organization hosting you may make a Facebook event, but if they don’t, creating one yourself can be the promotional boost you need to make a good event great. What Is a Facebook Event? Facebook is an invaluable tool in connecting with people and spreading news. A Facebook event is a casual, high-speed equivalent of sending paper invitations and asking for RSVPs. On Facebook, you can list all event information in one place, answer questions, and spread the word beyond your immediate network. Hosting with Your Professional Author Page Facebook events have one or more “hosts,” who are listed for guests to see. If you have a professional author page, use it to “host” your event. This means your event will be “public,” and anyone with a Facebook account can see and RSVP to your event. Invited guests will be able to share your event with their friends, and those friends can share with their friends, and so on. People in your area browsing Facebook for upcoming events will see yours listed among others. If you don’t have a professional author page, but use Facebook personally, you can still make a Facebook event! When you create an event from your personal page, you can make it public or “private,” which means it won’t show up on strangers’ newsfeeds, and you can opt to not let guests invite friends. Getting Started You can create an event from your phone, tablet, or computer, though the steps will differ slightly. ON A COMPUTER: Go to www.facebook.com and stay on your homepage, or news feed. In the left column, under the “Explore” header, click on “Events.” In the left column, click on the blue button labelled “Create an Event.” Two options immediately pop up. Click “Create Public Event.” ON A PHONE OR TABLET: Open the Facebook app and go to your homepage, or news feed. Click on the three lines in the bottom right corner. Click on “Events” under the “Explore” header. Click on “Create” in the upper right corner. Three options pop up. Click “Create Public Event.” Be sure to click “Create Public Event” if you want to host from your professional Facebook page or if you want to make a public event from your own personal Facebook page. Click “Private” if you’d rather keep the audience small and intimate. Key Information You will now be prompted to fill in some information. These items may not appear in the order listed, depending on how you are viewing. Event Host: Using the drop-down menu, click on your professional or personal Facebook page. Pictures: Facebook will ask for a picture for the event. You can use: A Facebook-suggested image A photo that you took, own, or have permission to use A public domain image A graphic flyer you or someone else has designed for your event A themed image, which Facebook will suggest if you are throwing a private event Event Name: Ideal names are brief and contain key information. For example, “Book Signing at Barnes & Noble” is too vague. Some people may only read the title, so make it specific and to-the-point. For example, “Mary B. Authorton Book Signing at Barnes & Noble Short Pump” is much more informative. Come up with creative alternatives to get people’s attention! Be prepared with basic information: Location (often, if you type the name of a venue, Facebook will fill in the address) Date Start time at least, and end time if you have one Brief description of your event. Add an itinerary if there is one, detail what will take place, and include any fun details. Keep it short but compelling. Category. This applies to public Facebook events. Yours will probably be “Art,” but may fit better under another category, depending on the event. Keywords. Keywords help people who search for your event or similar events without knowing the name of your event. They may type in “book signing” or “book discussion,” so use these keywords to your advantage! Type in “book” and see what options are offered -- but you only get three, so make them count! Unfortunately, you have to choose from their list, so do your best to represent your event with Facebook’s provided language. Tickets. If there are tickets, let people know. Otherwise, simply skip over this section. Posting and Guest List. You will also be asked about post and guest list privacy, which you can change at your discretion. Co-hosts. You can list co-hosts -- for example, the venue, other participating authors, or your illustrator. Remember that any co-host will need to also have a professional Facebook page, or you will not be able to add them.When you are done, hit “Create” to publish your event on Facebook. You will be directed to the final event page. Take a look, and if there are errors, click “Edit” under the image. When you are done, hit “Create” to publish your event on Facebook. You will be directed to the final event page. Take a look, and if there are errors, click “Edit” under the image. Inviting people It’s time to invite people! Click the “Invite” button with an envelope image under your event header, or click “Share” and then “Invite friends.” Choose from your list of friends, then click “Share” or “Invite” to send them Facebook invitations. When you invite people to a Facebook event, they may RSVP “Going,” “Interested,” or “Not Going.” It is likely that many people will not respond. This is, unfortunately, Facebook culture. A “Going” does not guarantee that person will come; a “Not Going” is usually a hard no; someone who is “Interested” will often decide at the last minute. However, do not despair! This is the nature of Facebook, and not RSVPing doesn’t mean the person will not come. Spreading the Word After you make your Facebook event, share it! First, inform Brandylane that you have made a Facebook event. We can use this in our own marketing. Share the event. Periodically share on your professional Facebook page and share on your own personal Facebook page, so your friends can see it. You can also share your Facebook event on Twitter, LinkedIn, your personal blog, etc. You can do this from the “Share” button on your event page, or copy the link in your web browser. Paste it into your post on Twitter or another site just like a regular link. Use Instagram. Because Instagram is image-based, linking can be more difficult. However, you can get creative. You can temporarily change your Instagram bio link to lead to your Facebook event, and then post a graphic about your event -- perhaps the same one you used for your facebook event picture -- with the caption “Link in bio.” This is common Instagram language that followers will understand. Just don’t forget to change the link back to your website after the event is over! Leading Up to Event Post regularly. This helps build up excitement. Those who respond as “Interested” or “Going” will receive notifications about your event posts. Share flyers or other related images, fun facts, or updates directly in the event to get people interested. Consider releasing short book excerpts or other sneak-peeks. Post by going to the event page and scrolling down until you see “Write something” or “Write post,” much like you would post on your personal Facebook. Answer Comments. If anyone comments in your event page, be sure to answer! You should get a pop-up notification through your Facebook page or app whenever someone posts in your event page, so make a point to answer in a short timeframe. How Facebook Helps Facebook events have a lot of perks. As long as a person doesn’t RSVP “No,” the event gets put on their Facebook calendar. Some people even have their Facebook calendars linked to their Google calendars. The week of the event, they will get notifications reminding them of your event. On the day of the event, they will get notifications reminding them they have an event later that day. Finally, they will get reminders an hour before the event, and at its start time. Following Up After your event is over, Facebook will automatically archive your event. However, be sure to go back to it one last time, shortly after your event, to thank guests for attending. Congratulations! You’re ready to take your book marketing to the next level. Facebook can be complicated, so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!
You booked and hosted an excellent event. Way to go! But wait -- you’re not done quite yet. There’s still more to be done to make the most of your venture. Thank your host Of course, you thanked your host as you left the venue. It will leave a lasting impression if you come back in the next few days with a follow-up of gratitude. Whether it’s a phone call, email, in-person visit, or social media post -- anything works! Handwritten notes in particular add a personal touch that can really stand out. In your note or conversation, mention your plans for coming back; if you can, make definitive plans to return, and if not, make it clear you’re interested in returning. Discuss following up after a certain amount of time. Share on social media This is where those pictures and/or videos you took at your event will come in handy. Share your pictures or video, along with a brief (1-3 sentence) recap of the event, for your followers who were unable to make it. Be sure to tag the venue and any other party involved! Popular platforms for sharing are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, or a personal blog, if you have one. Any video longer than three minutes is too long for Facebook, but would be great to post to a YouTube channel. Let Brandylane know how it went We love to hear about your events! Although sometimes we will reach out to check in, it never hurts to shoot a quick email letting us know about how it went and if there’s anything we can do to help. Let us know if you posted on social media, and we will be sure to share your posts on our pages, as well. If you don’t have professional author social media pages, you are welcome to email us your pictures or video, and we can post on Brandylane’s social media pages on your behalf. Making connections Don’t let an opportunity go to waste! In our last tip, “Keys to an Excellent Event,” we discussed the importance of networking at your event. Now is the time to cement any new connections you made with guests. If you exchanged contact information with event-goers, you can reach out and thank them for attending, and even invite them to any upcoming events. You can also reach out to event guests via social media, and in so doing, increase their engagement with your posts and potentially harness the power of their social network. Become a patron of the venue Especially if you are hoping to return for a second event, it’s important that you give to the venue as they gave to you. Whether it’s a coffee shop or public library, go there as a patron, if you can, and refer your friends! It’s all about helping each other out.
You’ve booked an event. Congratulations! The hardest part has passed, but don’t forget to follow through. The first thing to do after scheduling an event is let us at Brandylane know so we can post it to our website calendar, submit to event calendars in your event’s area, and post about the event on social media. To make the most of Brandylane’s promotional services, you will want to give us at least six weeks’ notice! Setting Up Your station Use a table, booth, or other “home base” to set up copies of your book. Confirm with the venue beforehand if they have a table and chair you can use, or if you need to bring your own. Leave writing space so you can sign copies for attendees. Bring a tablecloth, sign-up list for your email newsletters, and a few relevant decorations. For example, if your book is nature poetry, a vase of flowers would be a lovely accent. Place yourself prominently. Don’t be afraid to speak up to your host. You’ll want a fairly visible location so that you get attention. If you’re doing a talk, activity, or other presentation, put your table near where you’ll present. (For more information on placement and planning, see Marketing Tip #7: Event Success. If you need us to resend this tip, just ask.) If you’re selling books yourself (instead of through the venue) you will want to have a Square or another purchasing app. Most people do not regularly carry cash, so you need to be able to accept cards. You will also want a secure place to keep cash, and bring plenty of change! (For more information on selling books at events, see Marketing Tip #6: Selling Books at Events. If you need us to resend this tip, just ask.) Take photos or video If possible, bring a friend or family member to take photos or video throughout your event. Be sure to instruct them on what you need. A video of a discussion or your activity will be great to share later for those who miss your event. For video, you’ll need a good camera or a quality smartphone. Consider investing in a tripod for stability. Make sure your shot is clear, centered, and above your audience’s heads. Sometimes, taking a video can be as easy as propping your phone up at a good angle, turning the camera on, and forgetting about it. Our rule of thumb for photos is to take as many as you can, then go back later to choose the best. Any photos are better than none, but well-shot, centered, clear photos of you and your event are great for marketing. Bad photos and video will make you seem unprofessional. However, a few excellent images make you and your events seem well thought-out and engaging! Photo ideas: You giving your presentation You signing a book Your rapt audience Your table or other setup The final result of a craft or activity You with the venue manager/owner/event planner Photos to avoid: Strangers’ faces, especially children (as sharing these without a release form is legally questionable) Pictures of people standing or sitting around without context Shaky video Dark or blurry photos During the Event Presentation is key Standing is better than sitting. Varied pitch is better than monotone. Visual aids are better than waving hands. Bring verbal and visual energy to your talk, and the audience will respond. Keep your talk concise and relevant If you finish sooner than expected, stop. It’s better to finish strong than carry on just to fill time. Try a Q&A session after you’ve said your piece. Engaging with your audience makes a lasting impression, and answering questions off-the-cuff shows you’re well-informed about your topic. Wrapping Up Sometimes the end of your event will be obvious; sometimes a Q&A session will dissolve into small conversations. While you still have the room’s attention, don’t forget to let them know: Your contact information (provide a copy of your sell sheet, flyer, or business card) You are free for future signings and presentations You are happy to come speak to their church, book club, classroom, etc. You are grateful for their time and hope to see them again Single out people to chat with Look for people who asked good questions, may be interested in future events, or can help bolster your book. Connect on social media. Exchange business cards. Leave the host with a good last impression After most of your audience has left, it’s time to go. Clean your area, including any mess your audience has made. An employee may offer to help you, but don’t let them do it alone. Make sure your host is glad to have had you. Thank the manager, owner, event planner, and/or anyone else who helped. Mention you’d be interested in doing something similar in the future. It opens the door for more without putting anyone on the spot. Now go home and relax! You’ve done a great job. Watch for our next Marketing Tip, which addresses what to do with the photos and videos you shot and the connections you made during your excellent event.
We receive frequent questions about booking events, and we understand why! Approaching a venue can be intimidating; knowing what to say, who to talk to, and even which venue to choose can be overwhelming. However, making appearances can help you gain personal connections with readers that are invaluable when trying to grow your audience. There’s no trick for how to book an event, but we'll provide some information to help as you prepare to book your next one! Deciding on an Event: Get Creative to Get Booked Don’t be afraid to reach an audience through a creative event. In other words, don’t assume that all events have to be book signings at bookstores. Don’t get us wrong: signings are great! But don’t hesitate to branch out. Have you thought about giving a book talk or lecture? Or doing a reading for a local group or club? How about a craft or some other activity that ties into your book? Our authors have done these events and more. If there’s a compelling topic related to your book’s subject that would make a great book talk, pitch it to a venue. Creative events with an interesting angle will catch the attention of a venue’s manager or event planner. Unique events are good marketing opportunities for the venue itself. If you wrote a children’s book about table etiquette, approach a restaurant with a plan to host a kids’ luncheon and teach manners! Plan It Out: Venues Love Doing Less Work If you have a game plan for an event, people will be more open to working with you. Details like cost, timing, and itinerary will be important to any venue. Come prepared. Know your budget, intended audience, how long it will take, what supplies will be involved, and any other detail that may be important. The more planned out, the better. However, it’s important to be flexible. If the venue only accommodates thirty people, don’t plan for a hundred. Venues: Thinking Outside the Bookstore Box Bookstores and libraries are standard venues for author events. These venues have an built-in book-loving audience, but might not be the best way to reach your audience. What words can be associated with your book’s topic? If your book is about nature, associated words might be camping, hiking, gardening, and parks. You could contact hiking groups, gardening clubs, parks, or community gardens. These groups are predisposed to like the subject matter of your book. Often they will be excited by the unique opportunity to host an author, whereas bookstores and libraries are often saturated with requests. That Being Said . . . Still Contact Bookstores and Libraries Despite the fact that venues like bookstores and libraries are bombarded with queries, they are still easy to contact and can host worthwhile events. Barnes and Noble in particular is very receptive to book signing requests and most locations have Storytime each week for children’s books. Don’t rule any venue out. But HOW Do I Contact Them? Start with connections you might have. What friends, family, groups, or professional connections can you utilize? Use networking platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook to your advantage. After you’ve exhausted your contacts, send an email, make a phone call, or visit in person. Most venues have their contact information available online. A quick Google search can provide several methods of contact. Some people start with an email, then make a phone call. Others prefer to go straight to the venue in person. Any method works. Ask for a manager or the person responsible for event planning. As you approach venues, try using language like this: “Hi, my name is _____. I’ve published a book called _____, which is about [your brief synopsis]. I’ve [attached/brought] an informational sheet, and I’d be happy to provide a review copy. I have an event in mind that I think would be perfect for your [store/library/organization]. The event would entail [brief summary], and my publisher will help promote it. This would be beneficial to your [store/library/organization] because [compelling wrap-up]. Thank you so much for your time! I look forward to speaking with you again soon.” Follow Up; Follow Through If you don’t hear back, try again! Try a different contact method. If you’ve emailed, call. If you’ve called, go in person. Once you’ve tried all three methods and followed up accordingly, it may be time to move on. If you set up an event, congratulations! Once you establish a date and time, check back. Make sure you’re easily available and communicative. If things go well, the venue will be more willing to work with you again. Keep an Excel spreadsheet or other notes of who you’ve contacted and when, so you know when to follow up and who you’ve already spoken to. Take a look at this follow-up script and change it for your needs: “Hi, my name is _____, author of _____. I [called/emailed/stopped by] on [date] and spoke with [name] about [brief event description]. I wanted to follow up on my conversation and see if there are any new developments/decisions.” No Luck? If it seems like you’re not gaining traction on your event proposal at a particular venue, don’t be disheartened! The venue might have scheduling, financial, or other complications you don’t know about. Don’t be angry; don’t take it personally. Move on to the next place and learn from every experience! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Best of luck getting booked!
When you’re thinking of establishments that might carry your book, what comes to mind first? Is it a bookstore? Authors often immediately think of bookstores when they’re seeking out places to carry their books, and why wouldn’t they? After all, a bookstore is a perfectly logical option, and a great start. However, it’s important that authors move past the bookstore market, and keep in mind that there are countless alternatives besides bookstores to consider when looking for book carriers. From bakeries and coffee shops to toy stores and museums, there are a wide range of unique places that might want to carry your book based on its subject matter or just because they love your book! It just comes down to finding them! Here are some suggestions: Children’s book authors might look into toy stores, children’s museums, children’s libraries, children’s hospitals, daycare centers, restaurants, and clothing stores in their area that might consider carrying their book. There are many specialized museums in the US that could relate to your book’s content. These museums could be great places to contact. Check out the American Alliance of Museums for a list of potential markets. This site allows you to narrow down your museum search by location and type, so it’s even easier to find a specialized museum close to you! After selecting “Richmond, VA” and “History Museum” in the drop down menus, we were able to find The Valentine Museum, Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Holocaust Museum, and American Civil War Museum, all fantastic options for authors who have written books that have a historical focus. Organizations and associations that relate to your book's subject matter are also great options. For example, non-profits can be a great market, especially if there are fundraising opportunities for them. Check out the Directory of US Associations to find an organization that fits you and your book. The free trial option for the Directory of Associations site is 48 hours. Here is a general list of US organizations and associations for your reference. Brandylane author Caley Cantrell (Dogs Do NOT Love Holiday Cards! and You're Bringing Me a Baby?!), who has had great success in finding unique places to sell her books, offers her advice: “Do a little brainstorming about your book. Think about it as a 'product' and not the labor of love that you spent so much time with. Where are 'natural' places for your book to show up. Is your book tied to a season in any way? Christmas, Spring, Mother’s Day? Can you make any connection like that? Then gift shops that thrive on those holidays may make sense. Take a piece of paper and write your book’s title in the center. Then create a wheel of 'spokes' around your book, each is a possibility of a different, yet related, place your title can live.” Books can be sold almost anywhere! Explore new and unique sellers, and watch your market grow. Keep an eye out for even more marketing tips, and feel free to contact us here at Brandylane/Belle Isle Books for any questions or concerns you may have!
How do I promote my event? Schedule your events two months in advance to allow adequate time for promotion. This doesn’t mean you should turn down all opportunities with shorter notice, but understand that an event with no or short notice will not leave enough time for proper promotion, and may lead to a limited turnout. Social media (Facebook and Twitter in particular) is a great tool to use for promotion. Coming up with gimmicks that will draw people to events, like door prizes, can help as well. Reaching out to local media, including newspapers, newsletters, and other forms of traditional media can help widen your reach. And, of course, inviting all your friends, your family, and co-workers is a must. How can I use social media to promote my event? Social media is a powerful tool for promoting events, as well as promoting your book in general. Two of the most popular social media sites for event promotion are Facebook and Twitter. Below are some ways to utilize these mediums to your advantage: Facebook This social media site is popularly used for personal connections. It can, however, be a great tool to promote your events. Facebook allows users to “post,” or create updates in the form of photos or words, as well as share content. From utilizing Facebook’s event feature to using hashtags to widen your reach on the site, this website is great for connecting with new people and spreading the word! Here are some articles on how to utilize Facebook for promotion: Six Ways to Effectively Promote Events on Facebook How to Promote Your Event on Facebook Cool Ways to Promote Your Facebook Event For those of you who would like to learn more about the benefits of having a Facebook page, you can take a look at the marketing tip we sent out in April, “Brandylane Author Marketing Tip #2.” Attached to that email, you’ll find a ‘Facebook Guide’ that walks you through the process of creating a professional Facebook page and the benefits of doing so, if that’s something you’d like to do! If you did not receive that tip, let us know and we will be happy to send it along to you. Twitter This social media site is well known for its 140 character limit. When making an update on this site, the user is limited to 140 characters (letters, numbers, spaces, or grammatical marks all count as characters), making it a quick moving social media site and a different experience altogether than Facebook. However, it can be just as effective for events! Here is a great comprehensive guide on what Twitter is, how it works, and how to use it to promote events. For some additional insight on using Twitter for promotion, check out these articles: 10 Things to Promote An Event on Twitter Like a PR Pro The 4 Most Effective Tactics for Promoting Events on Twitter How can I use email lists? One of the most powerful tools available to you as an author is your email list. Building an email list is a way to give direct updates about your book to readers, reviewers, friends, family, and media. Free email lists like Send In Blue or Mail Chimp allow you to build emails, grow your list, and send updates to your audience. Using these email lists to promote your events is an effective way to get the word out and increase your event turnout. What if I don’t have a computer/access to internet? Not a computer person? Don’t worry! There are still plenty of things you can do to promote an event offline.. Try contacting local newspapers or other media companies about your event. Tell your friends and family, create a flyer, and notify local organizations that may be interested in the event. How can Brandylane help? We at Brandylane help with the event promotion process, so when you schedule your event, let us know! We will promote it on our Facebook and Twitter pages the week of the event to increase awareness and attendance. If the information is sent to us far enough in advance (again, two months is preferable) we will also promote your event to media outlets, put it on Brandylane’s event calendar, and include it on local event calendars. We can’t help you if you don’t notify us, so send an email, give us a call, or drop by the office to let us know what you’re up to!
What are the best times to hold events? The venue will usually make the decision or recommendation for the best time to hold your event at their location. Sometimes the retailer will choose a time based on the amount of traffic they have coming through their store at a particular time of day. Your availability is also a big part of choosing a time. Make sure you have a good window of time to hold the event, in case it runs over the projected length. Work with the venue to find a time that works best for both of you. We recommend having your event between 4:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. Many people work during the day and may not be able to make it in the morning, early afternoon or later than 7:00pm, especially on a weeknight. Where should I set up my table, poster, and books? Try to setup as close as possible to traffic pathways, whether this is by the front door or by the checkout line. The venue will often decide where you are located, so you may find yourself in a less-than-ideal location due to space constraints. If this is the case, negotiate with the person in charge. Be persuasive, persistent, diplomatic, and kind. Try to vie for a good location, as that can make a big difference in the number of books you’re able to sell. You want to be as visible as possible! Should I have a theme or title for the event? Try to create an interesting, attention grabbing title for your event. When submitting your event to media, event calendars, social media, or coming up with a flyer, having a catchy and memorable name for your event can pique public interest and increase your turnout. Brandylane author Dave Coogan and the co-authors of Writing Our Way Out: Memoirs from Jail have come up with a number of great event titles, including “Bearing Witness: Art as Social Justice,” “Writing and Teaching for Social Change” and “Breaking the Cycle of Crime and Incarceration.” These titles are all much more interesting than simply “Book Talk” or “Author Reading and Signing.” If you’re doing a reading, gearing your reading selections to this theme or title can help tie the event together in an interesting, engaging way.
As an author, holding author events is one of the most important actions you can take to promote yourself and your work, interact with your audience, and sell copies of your book. There are different types of events you can hold, including readings, book talks, Q&As, signings, or a combination of all of the above. What is a reading? For these types of events, you can read a portion of your book for the audience. If the event has a particular theme, it’s a good idea to choose a portion of the book that best relates to that theme. This gives the audience a firsthand experience with your tone, writing style, and the content of your book. What is a book talk? A book talk is a 10-30-minute talk/presentation about a topic directly or indirectly related to your book. People are more likely to attend a talk than a simple signing. A talk is generally followed by a question and answer session, possibly a reading, and then a signing at the end when you can sell your book. Now that you are a published author, people will think of you as an expert. You should think of 4, 5 or more potential 15-20-30 minute presentations/talks you might give. What would the topics of these talks be? You should make them interesting and compelling, so when people see the title of your talk, they’ll want to attend your event. What is a Q&A? Q&As, short for question & answer, normally follow a reading or book talk. If the event has a moderator or is being hosted by someone, they will likely begin this section by asking you prepared questions. Then they will open the discussion to the room, allowing members of the audience to ask you questions. This is a great opportunity to hear directly from the people, as well as share new facts about your book you may not have covered in the reading or book talk. It gives the audience a sense of who you are as an author, and as a person. What is a signing? For these events, you are just signing a copy of your book. Normally, you will be set up at a table where your audience can then come up to talk with you and have you sign a copy of the book they either brought with them or purchased at the event. Signings are a good opportunity to talk one-on-one with people who have bought your book. Signings are great additions to other types of events. Holding a combination of any of the above makes for a well-rounded event. For example, a reading, followed by a Q&A, followed by a signing, gives the audience a chance to hear and experience your work, hear from you as an author, ask questions, and get a personalized copy of your book. In order to promote your events to the best of our ability, we ask for 6-8 weeks notice in advance. Because many of our authors juggle family, jobs, and other projects, it may seem unrealistic for us to expect you to let us know about your events two months ahead of time. However, it’s crucial when setting up events that you give yourself at least that amount of time to prepare. The further ahead you plan your events, the more time there is to spread the word, gain interest, and entice people to attend. Without this lead up, it’s quite difficult to have a successful event. With 6-8 weeks notice, the Brandylane team is able to more effectively promote your book. Given an appropriate amount of time, we can locate and contact media and event calendars where your event is being held. Whether you’re in sunny California or right here in RVA, we will submit to event calendars to help your event gain as much attention as possible. People often have busy schedules, so seeing an event a month or two ahead of time will ensure they put your event on their own calendar! In addition to posting to local media event calendars in your area, we will also promote your event on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter) three times during the week leading up to the event. When notifying us of an event, please be sure to let us know the time, date, location, website of the venue, contact email and phone number of the person you’re working with, cost and and other details of the event you’re able to share. Knowing if it’s a book talk or a reading, a Q&A or a signing, will help us in our promotional efforts.