So, you’ve published a book and you are ready to let everyone see the fruits of your labor. Maybe someone contacted you, or maybe you just read about an event and you are trying to decide if you should go or not. Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you are probably footing the cost of this venture on your own and therefore need to consider the pros and cons with a business mind.
Putting aside your personal excitement and friendships, does it really benefit you to put your money into this event? Is there a reasonable gain, either in sales or connections, that you will enjoy when it’s all over? Here are three things every author should do before attending an event that will help you make the right decision and make the most of any event:
- Event Presence. How are they marketing the event? Do they have an official website? Is this their first event? Can you reasonably expect a crowd of 100 or more?
- Event Schedule. Will it provide industry information you need? Is there opportunity to gain exposure for you and your work? What are the benefits of attending, beyond potential sales?
- Event Budget. Consider your travel, housing and potential printing fees: Is it cost-effective? Are you required to pay both a registration and a vendor fee?
- Additional Event Opportunities. Are you able to set up additional events, such as a book signing, a book club event, or a speaking engagement while in the city?
- Order copies of your book(s). Make sure you have about 30-50 books to take with you
- Book any tickets or hotel rooms needed in advance, or as soon as you decide to go. If possible, stay at or within a mile of the event venue. Note that if there is no place to stay close by, you may want to rethink attending.
- Print marketing collateral. Bookmarks are good, but even better you should have your book and author information on postcard size handouts. These are big enough to contain relevant information and not get lost, and small enough to not be cumbersome for attendees to hold on to. Make sure you have business cards as well, some people may want to connect with you post-event.
- Let your fans know you are attending! Post it on social media and on your website. Include it in your newsletter if you have one.
- Run a contest for potential attendees. You can offer a free book or giveaway a relevant item to the first five people to visit your booth/ table
- Live tweet the event. If you have a twitter account, this is a great way to get people interested in visiting you. Use a hashtag associated with the event, or if there isn’t one create your own! Talk about what’s going on and remind attendees about any other campaigns you are running for attendees. For non-attendees, you can offer something as well for orders placed during the event.
These are just a few things to consider, but hopefully you have been given a few ideas on how to determine whether you should attend an event or not, especially ones that are outside of your local area.