Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to Get the Most out of a Writers Conference or Book Fair

Today’s SharingwithWriters guest is author p.m.terrell, the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation. The foundation's slogan is Buy a Book and Stop a Crook. She is also the co-chair for Book ‘Em NorthCarolina Writers Conference and Book Fair and author of more than 17 books, including the award-winning River Passage and Vicki’s Key. You can tell this is a woman who can help the essentials of making a book fair and conference work for you. I decided to extend her wisdom to three guest posts. If you missed yesterday's post, start there on "What To Do Before" and read on through to this one: It might be a good idea to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss tomorrow's post. I mean, who would have thought there is so much one can do after an event like this to make a difference for one's book.

How to Get the Most out of a Writers Conference
Part 2: During the Event

By p. m. terrell

In Part 1 of this 3-part series, I made a few suggestions for things every author can do before the event to raise his or her chances of success. Now we’ll take a look at things you can do during the event to ensure success.

1.     Be Personable. Smile at people who come past your table. Attendees are often shy of authors and the friendlier you are and the more approachable you are, the more books you’ll sell.

2.     Make Sure Your Display is Eye Catching. Don’t think because you’ve put a stack of books on your table that you’re ready. Take a look at other authors’ displays. Which ones grab your attention? Whether it’s a poster, propping up your books so the covers are more visible, or adding something special to your table, the goal is to get people to look at you and what you’ve written.

3.     Food is Always Welcome. When my book, The China Conspiracy, was released I always had a bowl of fortune cookies at my table. People loved reading their fortunes. When The Banker’s Greed was released, I had chocolates that were wrapped as gold coins. Just make sure your offering isn’t smelly or messy.

4.     Network. Get to know the other authors there. They can often open doors to additional media attention, other book events, and even tips on where to get the best deals on promotional items like bookmarks.

5.     Have Handouts. Everybody who reads a book needs a bookmark (unless they’re using e-Readers.) Even if someone doesn’t pick up your book on the spot, give them a bookmark. They might order your book after the conference; you never know. Post cards, fliers, a list of other places you’ll be appearing, etc. are all helpful.

6.     Meet the Organizers. The more personable you are, the more you’ll be remembered. And you might say something that triggers a connection and leads to an introduction to someone else in the business who can help your career.

7.     Don’t Judge Your Success on Book Sales Alone. Look at other factors, such as the amount of media attention you received or the contacts you made. I have sometimes appeared at venues in which I sold very few books but they led to larger events where I did extremely well. And some people won’t come to the event but will purchase your books online or in book stores before or after your appearance.

8.     Take Advantage of Talks. If you have the option of speaking on a panel discussion, reading or giving a solo talk, take advantage of it. Often people will feel more comfortable in an audience setting where they don’t feel pressured to buy. But if they enjoyed your talk and you get them interested in your work, they’ll often buy.

9.     Take Pictures. Get someone to take a picture of you with fans—especially if you have a line; or participating in a discussion in front of an audience; or at your table display.

10.  Use Social Networking. Yes, during the event tweet or post updates on Facebook or other networking sites. It can often bring in an even larger crowd, especially if you’re also posting pictures.

What are ways you make the most of a writers' conference or book fair? I'd love to get a conversation started. You help others with your ideas. They help you with theirs. It's a little like the motto for Carolyn's SharingwithWriters newsletter, isn't it?

Please do come back tomorrow for the final installment on building successful appearances at book conferences and fairs.

~Learn more about p.m. terrell:

Terrell is author of more than 16 books, including the Award-Winning historical books River Passage and Songbirds are Free; internationally acclaimed suspense Exit 22, Ricochet,The Banker's Greed, Kickback and The China Conspiracy; the how-to book, Take the Mystery out of Promoting Your Book; and four non-fiction computer books. Look for her latest book, Vicki's Key, a two-time award nominee and finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards, and her next book, Secrets of a Dangerous Woman, due to be released in the fall of 2012!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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