Readers and writers everywhere are getting excited because this summer, 2022, events are happening again. During the first years of the pandemic, only a handful of events still happened on schedule. I know the annual event I attend, Literary Love Savannah, put protocol in place for masks, social distancing, and tons of hand sanitizer.
As more people are vaccinated and the world begins to open up for travel again, everyone is getting really excited to get back to books and book events. At least the people reading this post are!
Here are some tips for Authors:
Wrap your display book(s) in a clear sealed bag or cellophane so people can still pick it up and look at front and back, but not mess up that copy. I should have been doing this long before COVID to keep fingerprints off that display book.
Keep your stock under or behind the table so they are not exposed to everyone stopping at your table.
Wrap SWAG or hand it to people individually so again, it has less hands on it.
Have hand sanitizer or wet naps at your table. Use frequently. Especially if people sign your phone or tablet with their fingers for credit purchases.
Consider giving a pen with a stylus as your promo to those who buy so they don't have to touch the screen with their finger.
Use QR codes and have a sheet that allows people to scan and digitally sign up for newsletters, mailings, etc. rather than filling out a form or paper document that everyone will handle.
If you want to wear your mask to reduce exposure, wear it. Get a fun bookish one or one that has your author name or logo on it.
Here are some tips for Readers:
Take what you touch. If it is Stuff We All Get (SWAG-the free promo stuff), don't pick through it. Eye it up, and take the one you touch.
Use hand sanitizer or wipes between author tables.
Have a handkerchief or other small cloth that you can pick up non wrapped books with to reduce leaving prints on a book.
Get a mailing label stamp so if there are physical sign up sheets, you can stamp them with your name, mailing addy, and email without handling pens and paper others also handle.
Have a heavy handled tote bag, rolling backpack, or cart with wheels depending on how many books you plan to purchase.
Bring a pen with a stylus on the end or pick up one if available as SWAG to use for signing phones or tablets after credit card sales.
If you want to wear your mask, wear it!
These are just some of the practices I have implemented as a signing author and as a reader when attending a book signing in the past few years.
It may seem a bit overboard, but some of the COVID protocol can also help reduce transmitting the flu or other viruses that often get passed around in large crowds. Some of it simply helps protect the books so they look their best at all times on display.
As an immune compromised individual, I realized during this pandemic, I probably would have caught fewer colds when I was teaching in person had I worn a mask in those classrooms and had more assignments uploaded digitally rather than printed and turned in on paper. I wish I had started wrapping a display book and keeping the stock out of reach a long time ago. I can print a summary and laminate it so more than one person can review the book content but not leave fingerprints on several of my paperbacks.
I hope this was helpful to you, if so, please share on your social media feeds.
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