What is an author event? Any situation in which you’re using your status as an author to increase visibility for you and your book(s). Whether you have one self-published ebook, a dozen traditionally published books, scholarly and professional titles, or a mishmash of book formats and publishing types, you can do author events, and this article is your primer to developing an income stream from that world.
Know the wide world of author events
Parties – Every book needs a launch party or series of parties, even a belated party if this was accidentally skipped or sabotaged by a pandemic. Host such parties at bookstores, friends’ houses, bars, restaurants, club meetings, museums, libraries, or locations that tie into the book’s theme.
Book signings – At bookstores. At gift shops, museum stores, or other retailers related to your book’s theme, or natural customers. What else can you offer as you sit behind the signing table? Set up a poster board or table tent with info for others and QR codes to your social media handles. Collect emails for your mailing list.
Speaking gigs – Any variation of speaking in front of a group, from a church basement book club, to a senior lunch, to a ballroom of executives.
Classes – Teach something to a group of people. Experiment with topics (related to your book, your expertise, your writing), class sizes, audience types, and classroom settings.
Workshops – Find the hands-on components of what you can teach. What can others learn by doing or being guided by you?
Group coaching – Coach a small group in your area of expertise or some aspect of writing or publishing.
Conventions and trade shows – Sit at vendor or organization booths as a convention attraction.
Understand the ways of making money
Book sales – Individual and volume sales. Advance sales, event sales, post-event sales. Discounted, full-price, or bundled with event fees or services.
Flat fees. This includes appearance fees (when appropriate), speaking fees, and class/workshop/tour fees when a larger entity pays you.
Per-person fees. When you’re paid individually by every person in attendance. I like per-person event/book sale combos, in which an event’s ticket price includes a copy of the book. Negotiate for that as often as possible.
Sponsorships, commissions, and cross-promotions. Take a cut when working with other authors, businesses, and organizations.
Pair income with other author goals
All of us in the creator economy and micro business space know the value of double- and triple-duty strategies and optimizing situations for all their worth. Identify outcomes of authorhood you may not even have considered, and then align your event activities to cultivate these perks while making a living.
Maintain a business mindset
Use these events to build a cottage industry around your book. Treat them as the income source (immediate, deferred, or both) that they are and bring your professional game. Remember: Work is the price of money. Work the event and the room; serve those in attendance.
Focus on your advantages
Tap into who you are and mine these eight areas for finding and developing the right events for you: Your personal strengths; how others see you; your interests and skills (existing and desired); the needs of your books, readers, and customers; your values and priorities; your short- and long-term goals; your connections and networks; your current schedule and life constraints and your dream life.
Use checklists and continually refine them
Begin a checklist for every type of event you do that includes pre-event (conception, planning, promotion, budget, speech prep, visuals, etc.), event (demeanor, attire, logistics, props and set-up, program details, calls-to-action, mailing list, etc.) and post-event (follow-ups, social media, traditional media, thank yous, post-mortem notes, etc.) items.
School programs. Create book-author presentations for schools K through college at the right level for your readers, including an option for advance and/or volume sales with special pricing.
Tours. Turn book-related material into a program you can give by foot, bike, segue, scooter, trolley, bus, boat…
One-hour calls. Use my template for one-hour conversations in which you share your expertise.
Sharon Woodhouse is the owner of Conspire Creative, which offers coaching, consulting, conflict management, project management, book publishing, and editorial services for solo pros, creatives, authors, small businesses, and multipreneurs.
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