Penguin Random House has been sharing its expertise with budding authors considering attending fan events to get their books in front of the buying public. Here are their top tips...
What to consider when choosing an event
- Does the event have a proven track record of positive fan experiences? This can be assessed by looking at social media engagement on a show’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, as well as looking for general media coverage and pop culture buzz.
- How many attendees are expected? Has the show been growing or shrinking over time?
- Does the genre of the event align with the titles you’re looking to promote?
- What is the cost associated with attending the show? Is there a better use for your funds?
Making the most any event
- Be prepared to engage with enthusiastic fans at book signings but keep your line moving!
- If you’re comfortable, let fans take photos with you and remind them to tag you when they post on social media.
- Offer multiple methods of payment - Many show attendees are collectors and interested in buying convention exclusives, and attendees are generally willing to spend some money on something they love. In this day and age, customers expect quick and easy transactions when they make purchases. There are many platforms to process debit and credit card orders using a tablet or smartphone, inexpensive hardware such as a card reader, and a WiFi connection.
- Experiment with non-book merchandise such as T-shirts and tote bags.
- Speak on panels, sign books and engage with fans directly throughout the show.
- It’s all about buzz. A sneak peek into a new book or series is always a plus for attendees who love exclusives, so it can be very valuable to share an advance reading copy or chapter sampler of a new title with fans.
- Consider using giveaways and competitions.
Digital email collectionThink about how you’re going to continue that relationship once the show is over. Collect email addresses for newsletters via a tablet at events, conferences, and festivals. Send welcome notes via email to those who sign up.
There are many easy apps on the market for you to use if you’re exhibiting at an event. Most of these apps require three simple steps: setup, capture, retrieval. Once emails have been retrieved, you can communicate with your fans directly.
Privacy is very important. Emails should not be used for any other purpose than what was consented to.
Before you go...
Don't forget to promote your appearances via your social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.