The definition of event is "a thing that happens, especially one of importance." This is often associated with a social setting, but can be solitary.
The purpose of this blog is to give you 10 things to think about when you are considering participating in an event as an Author.
You remember the 4Ws and H from grade school, right? Totally applies here, too. You need this information and as far in advance as you can get it to really plan accordingly. Who, What, When, Where, Why, How.
Estimated foot traffic. If this is a book signing that information may come from prior signings held by that organizer. If it is a ticketed event, they should tell how many tickets have been sold. If it is a conference, you should know how many people will attend.
Accommodations. This includes nearby lodging if you are attending a signing that is not at a hotel with a room block rate already assigned to it. This is not limited to lodging. You may have a service animal, personal assistant, dietary concern that you need to know if the event is able to accommodate. Please do not assume they can. Also, please do not spring those details upon arrival when it is likely they can't do anything about the situation.
Limitations. The genre may be open but the types of covers on books, the type of SWAG or other items may be restricted, so make sure you are aware of this. Especially if you have adult content and it is an open event where people have their children with them.
Advertising. If it is not a convention, a signing needs a marketing plan. A convention has a closed amount of people in attendance. The marketing is to get readers there, but once registration is over, that push is done. A signing does not stop until the end of that day. Some push should be happening to let people know there are authors here selling books at least right up to the time it starts.
Personal Contribution. This could be in the form of donating door prizes, personal marketing obligations, labor for set up and take down, and more.
Food and Beverage. What do you have access to and if nothing, what are you allowed to bring. Few things are worse than being at an outdoor event in warm weather and having to leave your space unattended to go stand in line to get a drink. Be prepared!
Bathrooms. Maybe because I am not a young person with a drive all day with no break bladder situation anymore, but where these are located and if someone is available to monitor a booth for a potty break is info I need to have. Honestly, share a table with another author or request being next to a friend, but understand you may still need to bring a drop cloth that says BRB because you can't expect them to stop selling their books to sell yours.
Set-Up and Take-Down. How soon can you get in to set up your space. How much time when it is over do you have before they expect you to be gone. If you do not have a plan for that, it can be a mess. You end up setting up and missing people because you were late or you realize you needed help to get things packed up in thirty minutes so everyone can go home.
Reputation. You need to be very careful these days when giving money to anyone for an event. Are they using an established application such as Eventbrite? If not, are they invoicing you through a business account so you have some recourse if they close up shop after gathering registration fees? Do your research. You don't have to like the people running the event to attend and be successful. You just need to know the event is legit and you aren't going to get robbed. It is okay to say no to a convention or a signing that doesn't seem right to you. There are so many events available that have been occurring for many years you can invest your time and money into.
Additional tips for book signings and conventions can be found in the Non-Fiction book Dear Indie Author by Tonya Nagle, PhD. Click the cover for a preview.