Thursday, May 10, 2012

Author Appearances: A Must or a Bust?

Tip of the Day: How To Publish a Book with Simon Pulse. Betcha didn't think it was so easy, lol!

If you've ever come home from a 6 or 7 hour author event having only sold one book, you may have wondered why did I just do that? I could have spent this Saturday with my kids or writing. This has happened to me several times. So how do you know which author appearances are a must and which are a bust?


1) Conferences

Conferences are awesome-- especially if you're speaking, presenting, or signing at one. The people that attend conferences pay to be there and are usually interested in your specific type of work. For example, Anderson's puts on a great Young Adult Literature Conference in the fall each year.

2) Book Club Events

I love book club events. I have one coming up in a week too. These events are great because you have an audience that has already read your book and will have great questions for you. Love them!

3) Skyping

Skyping with kids (whether it's a classroom, bookclub etc.) is a great way to reach out to readers without the expense of travel. I always do them for free. Plus you can totally go the professional on top/jammies on the bottom route and no one will know. :-)

4) Group Book Signings

Groups booksigning are awesome-- especially if you can promote it as a tour together. Tours tend to draw more attention and people love coming to see a big group of authors rather than just getting to meet one. And group booksignings are easy to put together. Tours are a little harder since you'll need to pick a number of locations and possibly travel out of state but still doable.


1) Author fairs that you have to travel far to get to or they ask you to pay.

Author fairs are free events and you never really know who is coming to them or if they're interested in you're genre. They also last anywhere from 4-6 hours on a weekend. While they're fun to do (especially if you have other author friends there), they aren't a good investment of your time if they're a far drive or they cost you money. One town recently invited me to come to their author fair for a $35 fee. Generally you only sell 10-20 books at an author fair (some days even less). I'd have to sell 35 books just to break even.

2) School Visits that don't pay you.

I'm not saying you can't do free school visits here and there-- especially if it's your local library or local school and it's easy for you to slip it in your day. But having to pay for travel, arrange and pay for babysitting, and create a presentation is too much to do for free. I've been asked to give a 45-minute presentation to an auditorium of students for free and the time it'd take me to write and practice that presentation, not to mention put together slides, would take so much longer than that. Like, probably a good 10-12 hours. Sometimes it's better to just keep writing.

3) Meet and Greets that don't have a clear audience.

In the past I've gone to events where a store wanted me to just sit at a table and be available to talk to people who might be interested in books or writing. These sounded like a good idea at the time but actually doing them was a different story. You never know who is going to come in and out of the store, if they're even interested in you or your books, or if they're just looking for a bathroom. Again, one of those times I could have been writing or hanging with the fam.

4) Solo Book Signings

For your launch party of your first book (or even if you have a party for each book) they're a great idea. All of your friends and family are happy to come out and support you. But unless you are a big name author or celebrity like Lauren Conrad (who drew 800 people to her signing at my local bookstore last month),

don't spend too much time setting up solo book signings or you'll be spending a lot of time alone or have an audience of only a few people.

If you're an author, which author appearances do you find a must and which do you find a bust?

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

1 comment:

DeenaML said...

Definitely good tips here.