“Eenie, meanie, mienie, mo…pick a spot for me to go.” Well, that might be one way for authors to choose the events that will showcase their talents to the reading public, but there are far more exact methods of getting the most bang for your traveling buck. Here’s a few tips that I use, so my trips are worthwhile and enjoyable. All it involves is a little detective work.
First, check with your fans. Where are most of your readers based? Word of mouth is key, especially if you are a new author, so keep in mind that loyal followers would love to meet you, and they will tell their friends and coworkers. It’s also helpful to check out any events near your family or friends. Again, word of mouth goes a long way.
Now that you have a good idea of the areas that already know your name, check out Facebook, Google or other sites for a list of events. Simply search for Author Events Around the World, or even more specific locations. Remember, spots fill up fast, so it is a good rule of thumb to check for signings at least six months in advance or longer.
Once you have an idea of where you want to go and what is offered in the area, send an email of interest or fill out the specific form provided. (It is best to do this as soon as possible to avoid being put on a wait list.) When your invitation is confirmed, promote, promote, promote!
Most events will have pages or links on social media sites and this is a fabulous opportunity to get your name and your books out to those who may not know of your awesomeness! Create friendships with other authors attending, sign up for any workshops which may be offered at the events, even sponsor or lead a workshop if they are proposing a seminar on something you are knowledgeable about. The more accessible you are to event planners, readers, and other authors, the more you will get out of the experience.
It’s also a good idea to investigate a bit more and find bookshops in the area. Talk to the managers about a more private signing while you are there. Many owners are quite willing to set up a small event. It generates more foot traffic for their stores. Some may even offer a consignment option to sell your novels after you leave.
Finally, a note about travel arrangements. Since money doesn’t grow on trees, it’s helpful to share expenses when you can. Most promoters offer the option of full or half tables, so take advantage of the option to meet new authors and their fans. Some authors even split the hotel costs by sharing rooms. A simple note on the author-only page of the event, will help you find many willing to share expenses. Many promoters will also allow you to ship swag and paperbacks beforehand if you are traveling a distance. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for special airfare, car rentals and hotel discounts!
Now it’s time to grab the swag, stock up on your books, and prepare to meet and greet the masses! Done with a bit of forethought, your book signings and events will be the highlight of your year. In addition, you might just find a novel idea or two to write about in the future. Good luck, and I hope to see you…on the road again.