Thursday, November 18, 2021

Schedule Your Bookstore Holiday Author Event


Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS @SusanNealYoga

Most bookstores enjoy hosting author events. If the author has a following, they can bring more customers to the store, and the author becomes exposed to a new set of readers already in the store. These events are a win-win for both the author and bookstore. It is wise for writers to take advantage of this superb opportunity. Getting to know bookstore owners and managers is beneficial for an author’s long-term marketing goals. Here are some tips to get your author event scheduled during the busiest time of the year. 

Pre-Book Event Tips
Become a bookstore customer. Purchase your books locally instead of online. Bookstores appreciate their patrons who help support the store, since independent bookstores are having a hard time surviving. If your local store is a general market one, see if they have a religious section where they carry Christian books. If they do, they may be interested in conducting an event for a Christian book. 

Before approaching a bookstore about an author event, ensure your books are published on the Ingram platform so they are available to retailers. For author events, some bookstores may ask you to bring your own books, but most stores like to order your book themselves (i.e. Barnes & Noble). Go online and make sure your book can be ordered there. 

You can contact a bookstore via email, but an in-person request is better. Dress professionally, carry a selection of your books, and ask to speak with the store manager or the person who schedules local-author events. Be sure to hand the manager a media sheet with your bio, headshot, and listing of books. If the person is unavailable, introduce yourself and your purpose. Request the contact information of the scheduling person and either call or email them. Patience may be required, as these individuals are very busy and wear multiple hats. Some stores may list information about booking an author event on their website. When setting up the event, suggest having a book reading or specific topic that you can speak on. Book events are usually better received by customers than book signings. 

Best Time for Author Book Events
There is no better time to conduct a book event than from Black Friday through the first week in January when stores are their busiest. Most people wait until the last few weeks before Christmas to get their shopping done. Therefore, that is the best time to have a book event. It is amazing how much traffic is in a bookstore during this six-week holiday shopping period. In fact, the week after New Year’s is busy too because people receive gift cards for Christmas, and they come to the store to make their purchases.

When scheduling your holiday book event, if you live in the south, you could suggest setting up a table outside if the bookstore is opposed to book events because of the pandemic. I enjoy asking another author to join me during book events. That way, there is more synergy with two people and a larger selection of books for customers to choose from. 

Create a publicity plan for your event. Post social media graphics and create a Facebook event page. Barnes & Noble usually creates the Facebook event, so promote it as much as you can. You could write a press release about the event and send it to your local media. I’ve printed event postcards and dropped them off at the store for patrons to pickup at the checkout counter. Hopefully, a few customers will return to the store for your event. 

To get more people to come to your table, conduct a giveaway. Wrap a box with beautiful Christmas wrapping paper and ask people to drop their name and email into the box. You could give away one of your eBooks. Having a giveaway gets more people to come up to your table to interact with you. And that might be all they need to get them interested in one of your books. 

Be sure to bring your book banners. I have a small table-top banner for Healthy Living Journal, which won best inspirational gift book, and a tall floor banner of my best-seller 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates. Bring book marks and insert one into each book on your table.

This could result in future sales, especially if it includes your website or information about more than one book. My bookmark promotes my Healthy Living Series with three books on one side of the card and the megabook on the second side. It promotes four of my books on one bookmark. Bring an excellent pen for autographing your books. When the book event begins, take photos and post on social media. Be sure to let your followers know how long you will be at the event. I’ve had some readers see my Facebook post and bring me their book to sign. 

Post-Book Event Tips
Annually, I schedule book events at four local and regional bookstores during the holidays. I drive 75 minutes one-way to a store. Conducting book events allows authors to get to know the bookstore manager and staff, which is beneficial to your long-term success. Occasionally, stop by the store and bring them some goodies—handmade cookies or a tray of assorted nuts. At the end of your event, be sure to thank the manager. Tell him or her you would be happy to come back for any local author events they plan for the next year. I’ve been invited to a large local author event at Barnes & Noble that included about ten writers. It was fun meeting other local authors and store patrons.

Successful authors understand that relationships are a key factor within the publishing industry. Every year, when I return to these four stores, I find they continue to carry my books. In fact, the Destin Barnes & Noble even made a special sign for one of my books, Solving the Gluten Puzzle. They created a hand-written book category called Celiac Disease/Gluten-Free and put it right by my book, which was placed at eye level with the cover facing outward. Now that is advertising! So call or email the bookstores in your area today to set up your book event. 

TWEETABLE

Susan U. Neal, RN, MBA, MHS: Susan’s mission is to improve the health of the body of Christ. She has her RN and MBA degrees, as well as a master’s in health science. She is a CERTIFIED HEALTH AND WELLNESS COACHwith the American Association of Christian Counselors. She published five books, the Selah award winner 7 STEPS TO GET OFF SUGAR AND CARBOHYDRATES, CHRISTIAN STUDY GUIDE FOR 7 STEPS TO GET OFF SUGAR AND CARBOHYDRATES, HEALTHY LIVING JOURNAL, SCRIPTURE YOGAa #1 Amazon best-selling yoga book, and YOGA FOR BEGINNERSwhich ranked #3. She published two sets of Christian Yoga Card Decks and two Christian Yoga DVDs that are available at CHRISTINAYOGA.COM. Her digital product HOW TO PREVENT, IMPROVE, AND REVERSE ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIAis a great resource. To learn more about Susan visit her website SUSANUNEAL.COM You can also connect with Susan on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and INSTAGRAM.

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