Today's post topic came from Katie Clark, who posted this on Monday Mishmash:
Can you do a post talking about how you go about arranging those author events? Do you do the legwork, or is it done for you? What goes into it? What kind of relationships do you develop beforehand, or do you cold contact stores? How do you find out about the local events and festivals where you set up a booth?
Okay, there are quite a few things you can do to set up author events. First, make sure you get your press release into papers. I get requests for school visits because teachers see my press releases in the newspaper and contact me. However, there is nothing wrong with contacting the librarian at a school and letting him/her know you are an author and you're available to come speak to the students. I also let them know that I don't charge for visits to local schools. It's hard for schools to turn down a free opportunity like this.
As for local festivals or events where I can have a booth, I search the library website as well as the local paper. Once you get on a list, the organizers contact you the following year to return. So really the legwork is only necessary for that initial foot in the door. Also, local organizations attend each other's events. I've booked other events through them. For instance, I do a local book expo every year at the library. At that event, I met the state representative, who asked me to attend a local event she runs every year. Now I have two local events that I participate in each year. Not bad.
As for bookstores, I personally go into the bookstores with my information in hand. You need to speak with a manager, who will most likely look up your book immediately to see if it's in the system and can be ordered. From there, setting up the signing is easy, and the store usually works with you to promote the event, which is great. I've also found that teaming up with other authors can get you in more stores. That's how my book tour this fall was set up. I contacted stores in my area, and the other authors contacted stores in their areas. Before we knew it, we'd booked several signings.
So that's my answer, Katie. I do a lot of legwork, but it's time well spent.
Does anyone else have a question they'd like me to answer in a Writer Wednesday post? If so, leave your question in the comments and I'll get your answer scheduled.