Tuesday, January 1, 2013

5 Ways to Get the Word Out About Your Author Event

Ready or not, here we are again at the beginning of another year. Amazing, isn't it?! We could talk New Year's resolutions or annual goals, but that's so... so... last year. So why don't we let everyone else talk about that stuff and we'll just ... not. Instead, I hope you're planning some great events this coming year whether it is finally getting that book written or releasing a new one, or maybe writing for a new magazine, more magazines, or simply breaking into publishing for the first time. Once you have something written, you'll soon discover (if you haven't already) writers face a constant problem: getting the word out about our writing.

Let's face it: most of us who write do so with the intention that someone else will read what we write. (If you write just for the pleasure of it, that's fine. But you're not intending to gain readers...or buyers. Professional writers must gain both readers and buyers or we won't stay in business long enough to write the next thing!) As writers, we can write all the projects we want, but if readers don't somehow know they exist, well...they can't read them. Or buy them. Or learn from them. Or enjoy them. Or be helped by them.

Like it or not, writers have to be marketers.

Now before you go off thinking we shouldn't market or promote our writings, let me assure you I've heard a lot over the years I've been in publishing about how we (especially Christians!) shouldn't promote ourselves. That's meadow muffins. Of course we need to promote ourselves, or at least our products. Every business person needs to promote her/his business or products. As stated above, how can anyone benefit from our work if they don't read it? And how can any read it if they don't know where to find it? How can they find it if they don't know where to look? And, most basically, how can they possibly know to look for it if they don't know it exists?

This is a basic mistake beginning writers make: They think they can write a book, stick it on Amazon, and the copies will begin to go out and the money will begin to come in. Uh...nope. There are more than 8,000,000 books on Amazon. Before you make a single sale on Amazon, somebody has to look for your book, find it, and then be willing to take the steps to get it.

The same goes for your book on BarnesandNoble.com, or even in a brick and mortar store. If your book is in a brick and mortar store, someone might happen to see it there on the shelf, pick it up, read the back cover, flip through it, and possibly even buy it. But in the real world you have two chances of that happening: slim and none. Most of the time you're going to have to do some work to let people know your book (or magazine article, blog, or guest post on someone else's blog) exists. Only then will some of them go find it. Then some of those will buy it.

There are lots of ways to let people know about your writings, but let's talk about Author Events this month.
If you follow my other blog at www.DeliverMe.blogspot.com, you already know I did several In-Store Author Events in December with my new Christmas book.

"Author Event" is what I now call what we used to call "book signings." If you tell someone you're having a book signing, in my experience the reaction you'll get is a yawn if you get any reaction at all. Book signings are so last century. Booooring.

An Author Event, on the other hand, gets a bit more attention. And often I'll call mine an "in-store author event." We could talk a lot about how to set one up ad what to do once you get there, but today let's keep it simple and talk about how to get the word out your Author Event that you've got all set up with the manager of a bookstore.

First, list for your event the who (that's you!), what (your event), when (date and times), where (name of the store or other location, address, city, state, zip, web site), why (why should anyone come? What's happening there?), and how (how to get there, how to get more information, etc.). Then let your friends, acquaintances, business associates, and the community know through these 5 ways to get the word out about your author event:
  1.  Facebook On your Facebook, create an "Event." Go to your home page and click on "Update Info." Then click on "About." On the screen that comes up you'll seen another "About" drop down menu next to your name. Drop that menu down and you'll see "Events" on the list. Click on that and other events will show. In the upper right corner is a "Create an Event" box. There are other places on Facebook where you'll see "Create an Event" too. Click it and you can then enter the information for your Event. Once it's created you can send notices out and invite your friends. Your Friends can also share your Event.
  2. Goodreads   After you've created your Facebook event, you should hop over to Goodreads and create an event there also. If you're not already a member of Goodreads, yes, you need to be. The advantages to being on Goodreads is enough for another month's discussion! When you log onto Goodreads, click the drop down menu called "Explore." At the bottom you'll see "Events." Click that and in the upper right side you'll have the option to "Add an Event." You can invite friends here, too, and Goodreads will send out a reminder before your event.
  3. Blog it and of course add the location. After you've written your blog post about the who, what, when, why, and how of your event, add the "where" by finding your event's location on either the store's web site or on Mapquest.com. Grab the "embed" code. Paste that code into the HTML of your blog post. On Blogspot you do that by clicking the HTML box in the upper left next to "Compose." First, put your cursor where you want your map to appear, then click the HTML box and paste in the code right where your cursor was. Click back to "Compose" and your map should appear.
  4. Tweet it. Now that you have it on your blog, be sure to Tweet your blog post regularly. I also set up regular Tweets to go out via Hootsuite.com. If you got my tweets in December that said "I'm here at Mardel signing my new book Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus http://delivermebook.blogspot.com/2012/12/in-store-author-event-mardel-in.html " then you can bet I wasn't at my computer (or phone) sending that out. Days earlier I scheduled that Tweet to go out via Hootsuite.com. I set up at least one Tweet to go out every hour I was at the signing...er, um, I mean in-store author event. (You can also schedule posts on Facebook, too.)
  5. Newspapers and Radio.  Write one or two sentences with the who, what, when, where, why, and how  of event. Keep it brief. Then search out the web sites of all the newspapers and radio stations in the area of your event. Look for the "contact" page. Some will give e-mail addresses but most will have web forms. Paste your brief notice into an e-mail or their web form and send them the information. You never know when you might get a mention on radio or in newspapers. While you're at it, search for community calendars in your community. I did and got listed on the Colorado Springs' Gazette's events calendar. You can see my brief two sentences there and model yours after them. When you e-mail, always give your contact information so they can get in touch if they'd like more information or wish to interview you in print or on radio. Don't give your contact info on web forms or it might end up on the internet.
You've put a lot of work into your writing, but your work is not done. In order for your writing to accomplish the purpose for which you created it, for it to help the readers you wrote it for, they have to know it exists. So put a little effort into setting up some author events and then get the word out about where you'll be and when people can meet you. It's great fun. It gets you in touch with your readers. And you may even sell a few books.

What are some other ways you've gotten the word out about your Writer's or Author's Events?

What questions do you have about setting up or hosting an Author Event?

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