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!
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!
- 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.
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.