Attending Events as an Author-Vendor by Shawn Lamb

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For an author, nothing is scarier than striking out on one’s own when it comes to promotion. When a publicist or agent is involved they usually take care of arranging books signings or readings. Some authors participate in online blog tours. All of these are goodto a point. Perhaps the best method I’ve discovered for promotion are events, whether a local street fair, book festival or convention.

In the past five years, I have established relationships with event organizers, other vendors and my readers from all across the country. With the majority of my events being Christian based, our commonality goes beyond the event to sharing our lives and even prayer requests. Each year the connection deepens, and we come together like old friends, picking up where we left.

Costs for a booth varies but generally runs around $150 to $500. Other factors should be considered such as gas for travel, food and hotel – if going out of town. I suggest starting local and making sure it matches your target audience.

Tips for a good, safe and successful event:

Plan: Yes, plan down to the last detail. Leave nothing off the list, including scotch tape, paperclips and Tylenol. Don’t laugh. When you are on your feet for up to 13 hours on a concrete floor, you will NEED Tylenol!

Pack wisely: What you bring to decorate the booth space is what you will break down. Yes, books are your first priority, but give due consideration to booth presentation with eye-catching signs and uncluttered displays. Have professional business cards ready to hand out. Also, do your back and feet a favor – invest in interlocking mats you see at gyms or day-care centers under kid’s play sets.

Pay attention: Every venue has a list of does and don’ts, what they provide and don’t provide. Most places charge outrageous fees for extras, so if you need electricity, plan for an alternative source. We have a power station that is all-inclusive along with extended life-batteries for laptops and cell phones.

Dress for success is a phrase often heard in business. Although events are usually in large convention halls or street festivals, it doesn’t negate the need to give a good impression. Comfort casual is the best attire, especially the SHOES! Make certain to have shoes that will support your feet.

SPEAK or teach a workshop related to your expertise or book subject. I know many are afraid of public speaking, but this is a great way to get your message across in a more personal manner. Do check the rule regarding speaking and/or teaching. Some venues charge for conducting a workshop. I have never paid to speak or teach.

Unless you are certain to make the fee back in sales, go where they don’t charged for reserving a room.

ENGAGE: Don’t bombard people with handouts and hawking, as that can be a big turn-off. This is probably the hardest since there isn’t a technique or 12-step method to closing a sale. Be personable and genuine in speaking to people.

If still uncertain about events, attend a free one in your area. While there, speak to the vendors. Above all, pray for God to grant you wisdom and direction.

Shawn Lamb

 

Short bio: Shawn Lamb is an award-winning author and event speaker. To learn more about her books and speaking engagements visit http://www.allonbooks.com. There is a contact link if interested in having Shawn speak at your church or event.

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