Saturday, August 8, 2015

How to Plan a Successful In-Person Author Event

By Misty M Beller @MistyMBeller

Free Workshop in Progress: This summer on our ACFW-SC chapter blog we are happy to welcome one of our members, Misty M. Beller, for a special 12-week workshop on Marketing. Misty has experienced great success marketing her first novel and later ones, consistently selling 10,000 books a month. Join this free workshop and be blessed. Be sure to leave a comment and tweet the blogs to your friends. 
Elva Cobb Martin, President, ACFW-SC Chapter

Last week, we discussed online "appearances," but no marketing workshop would be complete without covering in-person events.

These are the traditional author appearances many of us think about:

  • Book signings in book stores and libraries, especially either in your hometown or in the real life town where your book is set.
  • Booths at festivals and conferences.
  • Speaking to church or literary groups, including book clubs.
The list can go on and be as creative as you are! 

The world of selling books has changed much in the last few years, and many authors (especially those who aren't "household names" yet) find book signings to be disappointing efforts. 

I've seen, and experienced, a few events that were successful. 

The common theme in these successful events is that there was word-of-mouth excitement generated through local influencers. 

For example: 
  • A book signing at a hometown library where the author is well-known to the librarians. 
  • A launch party held at the author's church where she is an active member.

As challenging as it can be to hold a successful in-person event, finding the right setting and influencers can create a terrific and inspiring affair.

In-person appearances also have two other distinct advantages: 
  1. Promotion of print books: Almost all the marketing approaches I've mentioned thus far relate to e-books, however in-person appearances focus on marketing print books.
  2. Grow your e-mail list: In-Person appearances can be a great way to increase your email list so you can send notifications for future book releases. Just have a drawing for a gift basket or something similar. On the sign-up cards where people put their contact info, ask them whether they would like to be added to the email list (or you could ask them to opt-out, if you prefer).
As in all the other marketing approaches we've discussed, look at your goals, decide what resources you can commit, and plan accordingly, keeping in mind what best fits your comfort level and abilities. Go with the low-hanging fruits first! 

Now it's your turn! What in-person events were successful for you? To what do you attribute the great results? Please share!

Misty M. Beller writes Christian historical romance, and is author of the bestselling novels The Lady and the Mountain Man and The Lady and the Mountain Doctor.

Misty was raised on a farm in South Carolina, so her Southern roots run deep. About ten years ago, she made a career change from farm life into the business world, where she now works as a Senior Manager and Director of Process & Training. Her husband and two daughters are gifts from God, keeping her both grounded and crazy.

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