As authors, it is a constant struggle to get our name out. If you think about it, authors often get caught up in numbers and sales. However, it’s not all about us. We exist because we love what we do, and that includes loving our readers. Without our readers, we would not exist. We couldn’t afford editing, cover design, swag, advertising, events, etc. But, how do we get our names out without wasting our time and money?
One of the solutions to this, is attending author events. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for everybody. Below are reasons why author events nationwide fail.
- Too Many Authors– This can be a double-edged sword.
- The event has an established reputation
- Word of mouth has been previously successful
- Location is good to shop at
- A better chance of a wide range of genres being represented
- Permits readers to be more choosy
- Overwhelms your reader
- Readers will skip authors, leaving someone to feel left out
- Advertising– This is like getting butts into the seats at the theatre. If you don’t properly advertise beyond your circle of friends, and trust that you’ll be successful simply through word of mouth, people aren’t going to show up.
- The Host– Do your research. If your host is a self-published author, this should be a red flag. What makes them an expert in running this type of event? How do you know their event will be successful?
- First-Year Events– AVOID! Allow that event to properly establish itself first before committing. Make that event prove to you it is worth your time and money.
- Location– Do people know where to find your venue? Are there signs clearly posted outside?
- Sponsors– Are the sponsors listed on the event actually sponsoring it or are being name dropped. What are they doing to advertise the event?
- Not Knowing Your Competition– What other type of events are going on that may help or hinder your traffic flow?
- Weather– While these types of events are scheduled months in advance, it is good to have a back-up venue if you are going to be outside.
- Cost– I can say before I became an author, I was completely oblivious that authors have to buy their own table, so they are already starting their day in the red. However, venues also cost money, so, what is the right price to charge both author and reader attendees?
- Parking– Is there enough parking to handle your traffic? You don’t want your customers leaving before they get there due to frustration of being unable to find a place to park
- Being Unfamiliar with Your Target Audience– Where do they tend to go? Comic shops? Bookstores? Coffee shops?
- I’ve learned my target audience (Doctor Who fans) go to Comic Con, and not typically to these types of events.
- However, if you’re a romance author, for example, you will do well at an author event.
- Allowing Pre-Orders– Readers will buy books ahead of time, go to the event solely to pick up their pre-orders, and leave without bothering to check out the other authors.
- Not Knowing Your Authors– THIS, ladies and gentlemen is the #1 reason these author events fail.
- “Why should I buy this author’s book when I don’t know who he/she is.”
- Next time you catch yourself doing this, remember that those popular authors you doknow: Rachel Caine, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, etc, were once unknowns, too.
Are you an author reading this post? See something I have not covered? Have you attended an event that went superbly well? What made it spectacular? On the other side of the coin, have you attended an event that went horribly wrong? What went wrong?
I want to hear your voice! Comment below.