Book Event Post-mortem

In the spirit of my personal blog: What Have We Learned?

I had about 20-25 fine folks show up at my book presentation at REI last Wednesday (9-14). Thanks to all who came out. I hope you all learned at least something. I certainly did:

  • Leave a full half hour to dial in the AV – especially if you are relying upon projection (as I did).
  • Dialing in the AV is the most important part of setting up. Maybe 4 people noticed the props I had on my table. Everyone noticed how we started late trying to match the projection to the screen.
  • If you are going to read from your preface like a pretentious schmuck, you could at least rehearse it a few times so as to not stumble over your own sentences.
  • The twenty minutes of general hiking safety and know-how seemed to go better than the 30 minutes of essentially photos from the hikes. This may be because the slide-show of my vacation (not far from the literal truth) came at the end of the program.
  • The prop part, where I emptied my day-hike bag and explained what I took and why went better than I expected. From the questions, I definitely want to talk more about GPS and hiking sticks.
  • Really wish I had the logistical wherewithal to have recorded the event.

In all modesty, I did do a few things right.

  • I visited the store prior to the event, met the woman in charge, worked out the terms, and got the lay of the land.
  • The Paradise Valley REI folks were really cool to work with, and did a lot to publicize the event.
  • I had a cashbox with adequate change.
  • My kids were great helpers, and work for soda-pop! (We’ll see how long that lasts…)
  • I had my own inventory to sell. This approach makes life simplest for all parties. Not all booksellers are set up for the kind of cashier stunts needed to sell a book on consignment, or audit an inventory brought in just for the event. So, for one night, I totally screwed them by selling a product for almost 25% less than buying it off their shelf. But, I drew 25 people. And it was just one night.

Want to learn more? Book Publicity Blog has a primer on What Authors Need to Know re Book Events. Nothing in there about props.

If I seem hard on myself – well- I want to get good at this. I have two more events booked already, and that’s them calling me. I’ve yet to start hustling these events myself.

Towards that end, I’ve added a couple of pages. One repeats a survey I passed out at the event, a practice I intent to continue. The other is simply an ongoing calendar of my events.

[The event page is pending some confirmations]

Next week, we’ll get back to behind-the-hike posts.

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2 Responses to “Book Event Post-mortem”

  1. Some Gooddvice From Direct Experience « Writing Made Visible Says:

    […] I recently did a real-live book event for 5 Star trails Flagstaff and Sedona. More on that in my alternate blog: Are We Lost Yet? […]

  2. Planets and urinals and an excuse to link « What Have We Learned? Says:

    […] A post-mortem of my book signing can be found at Are We Lost yet […]