Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writer Wednesday: Author Events

It's no secret I've been doing a lot of author events this fall. I had a book tour for The Monster Within, which wraps up on the 29th with a signing at Moravian Book Shop, and I have two school visits planned for December 1. While I was at an event last month, a fellow writer asked me if I thought doing events was worth it. My answer was absolutely.

Do events promise to sell more books? Not necessarily. Yes, I was fortunate enough to sell well at my events, but let's be honest. Some events wind up being disappointing. But here's the upside. Events are about exposure. If your signing was mentioned in the paper, you've gotten exposure you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. If your author appearance is at a school, there's a huge audience you might not have reached before. I know some authors only book big events that guarantee lots of people and lots of potential sales. Me? I book big events, small events, and even non-selling events. Why? Because it's not always about the in-the-moment sale. Sure, it's great to sell out of the stock the bookstore ordered. Or to have a school district order class sets of your book. But there's more to it than that.

One thing we can't lose sight of after our book is out in the world is that while sales are great, so are connections. In fact, they are more important. Finding a librarian who books you for a school event and then asks if you'd be willing to come back and speak again is priceless. Think of all the students and teachers you'll reach. Booking an event where you can't sell but you can share your love of writing with others is great because there's no pressure AND people are more willing to listen to you if they know they won't have the awkward experience of having to say "not today" to purchasing a signed copy. And what I've found is that those people will then go home and look you up.

So, are author events worth it? Absolutely! For so many different reasons.

33 comments:

  1. I did about 7 events surrounding my first novel and I wholeheartedly agree. In a social media era, there are a couple of things events accomplish:

    1) You can tweet/blog/share pictures from the event online, which is a great way to remind people you have a book out without just blasting marketing messages.

    2) You network with local booksellers and librarians, making the odds MUCH higher they'll recommend you when someone comes in looking for a book in your genre. It's also more likely they'll carry your book the next time.

    3) You get out there and meet the people face to face who will be reading your books. That's a great motivator!

    4) You get to feel like a star for the night! (Even if only your friends and family show up!)

    5) You look like a goddess to all those people who were mean to you in high school...priceless!

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    1. lol Love number 5! ;) These are all great points, Stephanie.

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  2. This is a very wise post, Kelly. There is more to being a successful author than merely getting our books out in the world. It's about growing as a whole person, too, which definitely includes those folks we meet along the way and how we interact with them. There is ALWAYS something new to learn. Although my book isn't out yet, I've done numerous writer events and workshops. Each time I find I'm more comfortable in my author's skin and people seem to be more comfortable with me. Can't knock growth!

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    1. No, you can't. It's great when you reach that comfort level, too.

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  3. I was lucky enough to get that exact same advice from Lisa Brown and Adele Griffin when we were launching our very similarly titled books at a joint event. (We Hear the Dead and Picture the Dead) They told me that the connections you make at an event with booksellers and librarians are WAY more important than the number of books you sell there. I appreciated their advice, and I have made sure to use it at every event I attend.

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    1. It's so true. I think the sooner you learn that the better.

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  4. Very good points. I must get busy and schedule some events. Thanks for the reminder.

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  5. Quite wise, Kelly! Thank you for posting.

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  6. I agree that connections are everything and you seem to like people, like me. So it totally makes our job easier! Glad to see you soaring!

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    1. I do love talking to people and that definitely helps. :)

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  7. This is a great and timely post, Kelly. I've been talking to a few other friends of mine who've been published recently, and those who have been doing events for years, and they have mixed things to say. I think you're spot-on about how important it is to make connections. We can shout into the void of the internet all we want, but there are some people we can only reach by word of mouth.

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    1. Yes, that's very true. Even today, not everyone is online. Not everyone shops online. And in-person connections can be stronger too, especially initially.

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  8. Wonderful post, as always, Kelly.
    I've only done four Author events, and concluded that authors who enjoy them are a step ahead and it is never a waste. But you are right that some events will be better than others, and I would add that it isn't for everybody.

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    1. I know plenty of authors who don't do in-person events and are still successful. So, you're right. It's not for everyone.

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  9. Agreed. Connections are so important in this business. Making those connections can be hard and expensive, though, for small publishers. It's amazing when your networking pays off :D

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    1. Connections are great things, aren't they? :)

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  10. It's true. It's all about getting your name out there. I would totally love to do live events, but it's on my "one day" list, when I'm not home schooling and expecting. Best not to kill ourselves, eh?

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

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  11. I agree that connections are important, no matter the sales. The connection is what puts you in touch with your readers on a personal level. Never will a sales number fulfill that need for accomplishment.

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  12. Definitely a great way to approach them, and one I'll remember if I ever get so lucky!

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  13. I'm of the frame of mind that anything and everything is up for consideration. It's she wild west out there... being innovative and pushing past the status quo is what it's all about. Ya just never know when something will make a difference.

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    1. True. You never do know what will work until you try.

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  14. I'd love to do more events. I need to make a plan for that.

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    1. You should. I'm willing to bet you are great at them.

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  15. So true. It's amazing where one connection can lead you.

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  16. Big events, small events, non-selling events all add up to exposure. You're absolutely right in booking them all, Kelly. Once people are curious, they will check you or your books out online. (I love Stephanie's No. 5!)

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