I have been so lucky to have a couple of dozen different book events. I say 'lucky' because I know just how difficult it is to to get people to take a chance on an unknown and host you at some sort of an event. And this does not only go for indie authors. I know many authors (traditionally published) that say it is just as difficult with their books. Let's face it: if you are not on a famous housewives show or have done some amazing stunt to get yourself on national television, trying to get people to a book signing is ... well, almost impossible. And going after the big chain bookstores is a waste of some valuable time in my personal opinion. But indie bookstores, schools, classes, festivals...the list can go on & on as to places to try! And I'm here to tell you, it can be done.
Be prepared to work....before, after and during. I came up with a few tips that I hope other authors find helpful.
1) Do you have a platform? (Fiction writers...yes, we have the hardest time with this...but dig deep into those stories and think about themes.) This is huge in getting interest in your book.
2) Can you help with getting people to the event? Is it local? Can you also invite people? Many bookstores want to know you can guarantee a certain amount of people.
3) Don't simply rely on the host to do marketing. As soon as you have dates set, send out press releases, contact bloggers and local press...get the word out.
4) What time of year are you planning to do it? Are people in the mindset to go to book events or on they in vacation mode?
5) If your book is fiction, when is it set? Book about Valentine's Day? Use that time period to your advantage!
6) Think outside the box. It does not have to be a bookstore. Think about your product and gear your events towards your book/story.
7) Are you a shy person? If so...book tours may not be for you. If you are sitting in a bookstore or at a table at festival, you better be ready to speak to people walking by and engage them to get them to hear about your book.
8) When you do it: document it all! Take photos. You'll want those for marketing purposes down the road...plus, you want to be able to look back and appreciate all that hard work once it is completed.
I recently returned from driving over 800 miles on a mini-tour to Maine and I know many people thought I was completely crazy. I mean, there is absolutely no way to make back money spent by selling a few books. However, authors should think in terms of more than just book sales. The contacts made. The publicity I got before (and even after with a reporter running a story this week) - all things we should take into account when looking back on what has been gained from a book signing. The tour isn't dead...authors just need to be creative in coming up with new ideas to keep it going.
And after all, aren't we all suppose to be creative types?