I absolutely love reader events. I especially like the smaller conferences of 200 or less, with a great reader-to-author ratio.
I look forward to the opportunity to put my promotional materials and budget to good use. I’ve given up on doing promotion at conferences like RWA’s annual event. To me, spending my hard-earned promotional dollars on author-only events is like preaching to the choir. I’d much rather *spoil* those readers who might just buy my book!
In mid-October I’ll be joining 49 other authors, including Soul Mate’s own Cerian Hebert, at the Fall in Love with New England reader/author event. And, I admit, I overspent my budget … a lot. Let’s just hope I can make some of it up in book sales at the Saturday book signing.
Shout out to anyone in the Manchester, New Hampshire area … that’s where we’ll be so stop on by. Information is in the link above. I’d love to meet some more readers and other SMP authors.
So just how do you spoil readers … short of giving away the books you want to sell?
Suggestion #1 – No paper for paper’s sake. It’s amazing the amount of post cards, unadorned bookmarks, and business cards that get thrown out.
Suggestion #2 – If you’re itching to do a bookmark, get creative. A long, paper stick (even with your cover and blurb on it) doesn’t hold the attention that you think it does. I did create bookmarks, but then I also “added” a tassel and a story-related charm.
Suggestion #3 – Do something unusual for your big promo splash. Since I’m signing four different books this year, I needed to find a way to showcase each one. So … like any author on a budget … I went to Costco. I bought boxes of gum in assorted flavors. I created labels with my book cover and blurb for all four books. Then, I matched the level of heat in the book to the flavor of the gum. The hotter the book, the spicier the gum. The 2×4 labels fit perfectly on the back of the packets.
Suggestion #4 – Participate in promo ops with the other authors. One of the authors is buying inexpensive charm bracelets. The other authors were able to sign up and provide charms for the bracelets. So, since I was ordering charms for my bookmarks, I thought … why not? BTW … I found a great (and cheap) source for charms: 8 Seasons (from China). I was pleasantly surprised (okay, really, really pleased) with the quality of the product.
Suggestion #5 – Take chocolate. The organizers are tying the conference to Halloween and planning a trick or treat route for the readers. All authors who wish to participate hang a decoration or a sign on their door and then hand out goodies. Apparently, last year there was wine.
I’m also doing a workshop (geared to readers) about how a reader can influence an author’s creativity. There will be prizes for participation. And, I’m hosting a table at the costume dinner party on Friday night. (Psst … don’t tell but my costume also ties into one of my books!)
I know it sounds like a spent a fortune (a small one) but cultivating great relationships with readers who are eager to meet you and hear about your books is far more important, at least in my opinion, than providing swag to other authors.
I’d love to hear from both readers and authors about the types of swag you enjoy receiving. There’s always room for a new idea.