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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Author Event Advice?

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How is your week? Good, I hope.

In the next few weeks I have several scheduled author events. It’s kind of a make or break month for me. You see, my novel is about vampires loosed in my real hometown of Kingsburg, California. In the novel the vampires show up a couple of weeks before the Swedish Festival. It is a real event which takes place on the third weekend of May. My point is, if I can’t sell this book in this area, I’m guessing that it might be time to close up shop, in a manner of speaking.

We’ve discussed this before, but I have an eleven hour day job. Life was busy before I restarted writing and found myself blessed with a published novel. I went from this blog to adding two more (although I rarely help with that third one) and then took on a job as an article writer for a local on-line magazine, Kings River Life as the Kingsburg writer. All of this, plus keeping active on all of the social networks is too much; however, I have been doing it because I’m 42 years old and feel as if I should hustle, attempting to see whether I might be able to make something out of this writing career.

Notice that I didn’t say anything about keeping up with housework, being a good dad and husband, etc.

In any event, I definitely wouldn’t quit writing, but I would most likely scale back. There’s no way that I can maintain this pace.

However, this is not why I have come to you today. Since I am embarking upon my very first series of author events, I would like to hear from those of you who have already done some of these for advice. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? I was thinking about buying a table which would be longer than a regular card-table, something to give me a bit more room. I was thinking about covering it with two tablecloths: one a long neutral one, and another a much smaller one, giving me a splash of dark red or maroon (going with the blood visuals, don’t’cha know). I have ordered several acrylic book displays. I am planning on buying a couple of baskets for my business cards and magazine bookmarks. I am also thinking about making up some binders with either short stories of mine as well as some of the articles that I have written for the magazine.

Am I missing anything? I have a library event and a book club that I am doing, but I am also doing an outdoor festival for two days.

I know that a few of you have done similar events and could share a few insights. I’d love to hear them.

We’ll talk soon.


  1. Blog hops.. a lady over at facebook does then ;) You can promote your work, offer giveaways even if its just Pdf's , or whatever !! The blog hops, go for a month sometimes, the readers jumping from one hop to the next,, Im not sure the extent of how it works, but that would be a great idea :) The blog hops are great , they are worldwide giving your book, excerpts and even info on you to book readers everywhere :O) Depends on how long, it wouldnt have to be a month even a week :) depending upon how many bloggers are involved ;) Roxanne Rhoads off facebook organizes them Im sure ;)

    good luck Jimmy ;)


  2. I'm not sure of the space you have, or within what constraints you have to work, but the most successful book launches in my area are done by a lady who writes modern day western romances. She sets up a double table, has a display area explaining her novel in out-sized letters, with enlarged cover as well. Her book-marks and pens are spread out all across the front of the tables. She serves cake which has a picture of her book cover, punch with sherbert, cookies, etc. She gives a short speech, has a Q&A, and signs for two hours. She sells 300 books at a pop. Wyoming is small as far as population goes. Just some ideas. You need to get other people involved around you: friends, family, etc. Have them take pictures with visible flashes; let your friends roam around with books in their hands; and make sure several announcements are made to let everyone know you're there. A goodie basket giveaway drawing helps too.

    Good luck, buddy!

  3. I've never done any book events, so I have no advice for you, but I do wish you great success.

  4. Hey, Jimmy, although I've not done something like this with my book, Ihave had experience with crafts. Believe it or not the craft business was very competetive when I did this. I think you do need to have some splash of color. YOu also need people around your table to pull in some interest.

    Some sort of give away would be a good idea. Even if you give away book marks, this is always a start to pull in interest. Your cover is extremely eye catching. But also have something to hand out where you will have a number on it, and a drawing for a winner of a copy of your book. A lot of indi authors do this. I'm thinking the library venu would be your best bet for this, that way if someone enters you could get their contact information, just in case they aren't there for the drawing. Offering some cookies or what have you would be good to get people to your table as well. Depends upon how much work you and those who are going to help you with this want to go.

    Just a few ideas to help you out.

    Very good luck and keep us posted!

  5. Hi, Katrina. Long time, no see. How are you?
    Thanks for the advice. I know that I need to keep every option on the table. Perhaps I will see what comes of these events in the next several weeks and then move from there.
    Thanks and take care.


  6. Thanks, Linda. I'll be sure and let you know how it goes. We shall learn together. :)


  7. Thank you very much, Lorelei. Good stuff! I am definitely thinking about doing that, now that you have given me the idea. I just need to clear my plate a bit and see what I can come up with.


  8. Your book cover is gorgeous (and it is about vamps)--those, alone, are two big draws. Have you considered contacting your local newspapers to get them to feature your book, especially since it has a local flavor? Also, do you have a local TV channel that features authors/artists?

    Good luck! Don't give up. :-)

  9. Hi Jimmy! I finally made it over to see you.

    I've done one book signing and while it did well, I didn't feel it was worth all the time sitting in one place seeing a handful of people.

    But that's me.

    You live in an area with a denser population so you'll have more opportunity than I did.

    I would suggest coffee shops. The Costco in our area also likes to host authors.

  10. Liz, thanks for the pep-talk and for the questions. I have been reviewed/featured in my local paper, high school paper, both local magazines, appeared briefly in our major newspaper and am soon to be featured in another major magazine. I'm hoping that these upcoming author events will get to the people and inspire them to spread the word, etc.
    I'm just being realistic. If I were 24, I might think about quitting my day job and devoting myself to my dream; however, I'm 42 and the husband and father of two teenagers, and can't quit anything...but my writing. I won't do that, however. If nothing else, I will just back off and not spread myself so thin. We'll see.
    I'll be sure and let you know how everything goes.


  11. James, I'm amazed at the pace you're keeping! Holy cow. I'm useless to you here. I have never done anything like this. :(

  12. Wow. I'm amazed, too!

    Don't the venues have tables? Every place I've been to had *something*.

  13. I know it's a little late Jimmy for my suggestions. but have you made a book trailer yet? I have heard of other authors making one themselves on windows movie maker or using another program. You can play it at book signings or launch parties. There's also a well known book trailer maker called circle of seven productions. Good luck! :)

  14. Thanks, Natalie. And one can never be too late to comment...
    Yes, my publisher designed a trailer. It's on the vamplit You Tube page.
    When the e-book came out, I attacked review sites and blogged and did everything that I could think of to get the word out. I was reviewed locally as well as at the high school and two magazines. When the paperback came out I put it in a couple of stores, and was featured in local newspapers. We'll see what happens after these next few events.
    I'm signing a contract for book two and should be receiving the edits for that real soon.
    I just need to be seeing some real results soon or I'm shutting this thing down. There's no way that I can keep up this pace.
    We'll see what happens.
    Thanks for stopping by, my friend.



Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate you taking the time. I'll get back to you here or on one of the other social networks. It's not like we're not on all of them, right? ;) Also, if you're here to give me an award - bless you. However, your friendship and visits are more than enough. Thanks and blessings.