Jane Kohuth: GETTING IN THE RHYTHM: Marketing & Events
From: Jane Says
April 28, 2012 at 01:07AM
1. If you have a publicist helping you set up events, that’s fantastic. If not, you can reach out to stores, schools, and libraries on your own. If you know local children’s librarians, ask if you can be a guest at story time or hold a full-fledged book event at the library. If you don’t know children’s librarians, get to know children’s librarians. It’s also great to know the folks at bookstores in your area. Connect with the events coordinator via email, phone, or a face-to-face chat. Bookstores have events on site and often can also provide books for you to sell at off-site events.
2. I was lucky to have been a bookseller at two stores, which in turn have helped me set up events at local schools where they have ties. But they do that for non-former-employees, too. Let the children’s buyers and/or events coordinators at bookstores know you’re interested in doing school visits. If you go through a store, though, those visits will generally be free to the school in exchange for them offering your books for sale to their students. The store will coordinate the sales. I’m still working on making more connections at schools, though. I’m going to try emailing school librarians and sending them my author visit brochure as a PDF.
2. Attend other author events. I got to see lots as an events coordinator, but I still try to go to support other authors, because I’m a fangirl, and because it helps me get ideas.
3. Plan your presentations well ahead of time, so you can pitch them! Have school versions and store versions, since the venues are a bit different. You’ll want your school visits to be more lesson-like (but still FUN). Have a page on your website that describes your various presentations. Have a brochure to give out, too.
4. Communicate with the place where you’ll be having your event! (Or communicate with your publicist so she can communicate with them for you.) Make sure they’ll have the technology, set-up, and supplies you’ll need. Find out when they would like you to arrive. If you want to bring food, make sure food is okay with them . . . .
5. Everyone has their own stye, but I find it very helpful to write up my presentations (especially the school visits) in detail. I write them up lesson plan style, which comes from my teaching days. And I practice. I really want to feel comfortable with my material. I find that if I know it, I can be looser, maybe improvise if I see a good opportunity come up, tailor to my audience.
6. Deep breaths. Maybe some soothing medication. When you get up there, and the kids are engaged with YOUR book, you’ll feel great.
I’ve been so very pleased that with my third book, Duck Sock Hop, I have a publicist helping me to set up some of my events. It feels odd, though, to let someone else be my go-between after being used to doing it all myself. It makes me feel important, but a little out of control. I think I need a lesson from my own ducks. Let go now and then and dance. Don’t be afraid to look silly. I don’t think it’s gonna happen, ducks. But at least I get to spend some time with you.
Tatnuck Booksellers, Westborough MA: Saturday, June 16, 10 AM
Wellesley Free Library, Wellesley, MA: Monday, June 18, 10:30 AM
Holliston Public Library, Holliston, MA: Tuesday, July 17, 11 AM
Westwinds Bookshop, Duxbury, MA: Wednesday, August 22, 10:30 AM