Whether it’s a book launch, a signing, a reading, or a group discussion, public events (virtual or in-person) are fantastic ways to promote your self-published book. But even if you spend countless hours planning the book event, how can you ensure people will actually show up? An event isn’t a success if half the seats are empty and your book sales are meager. The marketing experts at Self-Publishing Relief know the importance of creating buzz and interest in your event. Here are some tips to help you increase attendance at your book event without breaking your budget.
How To Increase Attendance At Your Book Event And Boost Sales
Make it an event worth attending: While holding your book event at a bookstore or library is a great idea, you don’t have to limit yourself to these locations. Think about creative tie-ins: coffee shops, senior groups, book clubs, local stores, and many other unique locations. Once your location is set, all your other event-planning efforts should go toward convincing your audience that this event is not to be missed.
Come up with an irresistible name for your book event. A Night of Terror, Mayhem, and Reading sounds more intriguing and interesting than Book Reading With Author A. Yawn. Also, when hosting your event, remember to deliver an experience for your audience that feels “one-to-one,” not “one-to-audience.”
Partner up: Add another author or two to the schedule and automatically boost the potential attendance—and potential new buyers for your self-published book! Choose authors who won’t compete with your own book for sales.
You could also cross-promote by inviting a business or speaker whose area of expertise complements your book. For example: If your protagonist is an expert knitter, you can have a local crafter offer quick knitting tips and sell handmade items that match the theme of your book. Or, if the setting of your story is a vineyard, you might host your book event at a local winery and include a wine tasting. By putting the right people in the room, you can introduce yourself and your writing to an entirely new audience.
Give freebies and raffle off a prize: Everyone loves to win free stuff! Have your attendees enter the raffle with their name and email address at the door, and at the end of the event, choose a lucky winner! Prizes can be anything from a free copy of your book to a gift card to a local bookstore. You can also offer event SWAG: Stuff We All Get. These could be magnets featuring quotes from characters in your book, or sticky notes imprinted with the title of your book.
Support a charity with your event: Is there a local group or organization that would tie in well with your event? Maybe your attendees can each bring a can of food for the local food bank. Or they can make donations to support a local cause while at your event. You (and your attendees) will be doing good while coming together for a shared interest—and that’s a great feeling!
Get the word out: Contact local groups or clubs. They don’t necessarily have to be writing groups—but they can be! If you know of any organizations that may be interested, don’t hesitate to contact them about your event. Ask them nicely if they’re willing to spread the word to their members! Another smart way to get some attention for your book event is to…
Hang posters and hand out flyers: Your posters and flyers don’t have to be overly artsy—just something eye-catching that highlights the event and offers who, what, where, and when. If you can, hang the posters and flyers to promote your book event in areas that get a lot of foot traffic. You might even include little rip-off “take one” tabs that feature the event title, time, date, and location. Then get out your smartphone or laptop and…
Start sharing on social media: Spread the news to your followers on all your social media platforms. You can also create an event page on Facebook! Again, this is a great opportunity for cross-promotion: Ask the venue, another writer, or a featured guest from the event to share details about your book event on their social media—and maybe even host a conversation with you on Instagram Live. If your budget allows, you might try paid social media ads. And always encourage your friends and followers to share posts and tweets!
When your book event has concluded, be sure to thank everyone for attending. You should also incorporate a way to get all of your attendees onto your mailing list for updates about future events and news about your writing.
Question: What ways have you found effective for boosting attendance at a book event?