Author Events - Successful Ones

When I first began in the book business 12 years ago (it’s my anniversary this month!), it was enough to be an author to build interest in an event. Much has changed. People are busy – we’re all busy. If you are an author wanting an event, know that there’s a lot of competition.

A few items to consider:

* Who is your target demographic? Both your larger reader base, as well as those who will attend an event. (There will probably be a blog post about your demographic later – this is a big one.) Does an event suit your book or demographic?

* What is your greatest competition for event attendance? Is it the ballgame, is it the television, or simply an evening spent comfortably at home?

* What is the best locale for your event? Maybe it’s a bookstore or library, or your demographic might be better drawn to a restaurant, museum, park, or office.

* What is the best format for an event? I would recognize three main categories:

- Meet and greet: This is the simplest arrangement and absolutely requires that you be personable, inviting. Chatty, but not too much - like a cocktail party. Set up is in a bookstore / grocery store / etc, with you at a small table to chat with people as they stop by.
Claus Hackenberger (his new book is Search for Light) - Claus is the master of the meet and greet.

- Formal reading, QA & signing: The traditional format, with you speaking about your book and taking questions before a seated audience.

- Party!: I would have to say that this is my strongest recommendation because it creates a community of celebration with many participants. It’s a great answer to those competing forces pulling people away from attending your event. It makes you more. For example, a launch party with a benefit for a local non-profit, complemented by a music performance, with a prize drawing, and anchored by your brief, energetic presentation. Using this Party! format, attendance at most of my events ranges between 60-200 participants (and no, the authors weren’t generally “big names”).

Jane Porter (her newest is Mrs Perfect) - oh, Jane, she's amazing! She's got the business savy, but her real power is that she cares about people and makes them feel appreciated. (Incidentally, Jane is, of course, one of the big names; but you knew that.)

Know that a successful event is hard work. It won’t simply sprout out of nothingness. Done well, it’s great fun and so effective.


  1. It's true - things have changed so much since we began doing this! So often, folks have a "BookTV" hope and dream...and when they don't promote wisely, they mostly get asked where the bathroom is located. Good advice!

  2. Brenda, you are the very best at setting up events. Wish you were in my neck of the woods!

    I've always enjoyed the events you sponsored for Jane. I'm hoping you'll be doing another for her Lifetime Movie Debut Dec 6th for Flirting with 40!

  3. Cleverly put, Erin, about the Book TV and restrooms.

  4. Marilyn, it's wonderful to hear from you.

    And yes, we are doing a Great Gift Ideas signing for Jane on Fri, Dec 5, from 5-7 pm. An informal, come-and-go arrangement, since everyone is so busy that time of year. Hoping I'll see you?

  5. PS Marilyn, what a fun blog! And love your profile image.


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