Getting a slot at an event, be it a convention or a business launch, can be one of the most exciting things for a new author. People from all walks of life will be at your event, and you’ll have the chance to share your work with each of them! But what’s this? The booth next to you has a cardboard cutout, a fancy tablecloth, business cards lining the edges, and perfectly printed nametags on their company shirts. By comparison, you look like an amateur. They have all this equipment prepared, ready to help them sell their products, and all you have is this table with a stack of books.
Sounds familiar? You’re not alone!
Preparing an event kit can be one of the most intimidating parts of getting started. You’re a little fish in a big ocean, and you need to look professional to be taken seriously. Well, we have a solution for that. This is a simple, step-by-step list to educate you on what’s needed to show up to events prepared. With these tips, you’ll be able to carry yourself higher, stand out to attendees, and make them remember you.
The basic principle of all event kits is the ability to market your book. While yes, this is accomplishable by word of mouth, the chances of someone remembering your name and face, while at an event of any caliber, is slim. There’s a lot to absorb at events, and one stand will hardly stick out. What you need to bring with you to market your book are as followed:
None of these materials are hard to acquire if you do the research. I’ll go over each one, as to better understand what each one is and how it contributes to a good author event kit.
The inventory is the stock of books you have to sell at the event. Depending on the size of the event, and how many people you expect to be there, this number can vary. If it is a local event, you’re safe to bring 25 books. If the event is something larger, like a national convention, 50 – 100 is a better bet. Keep in mind that the more you have to sell, the more profit you’ll make. So don’t be afraid to bring more than you think you’ll need. You could sell out at any time. Best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Having a brand associated with your product is always a good idea. The easiest way to do this is to have your product attributed to a name or a symbol. To use ourselves as an example, whatever is published by Happy Dolphin Press, you will always see the dolphin in the lifesaver. This symbol sticks in people’s minds as they browse our work, and it becomes especially helpful when attached to things like business cards, posters, and fliers. These are all items that you can and should bring along if you have them. The more ways to spread the word, the better.
Though décor may be harder than the previous two to come by, there are websites you can use to create custom t-shirts and apparel with your branding and titles. This does not limit décor to clothing, however. Décor can also be printed on folders, cups, rulers; all manner of things can bare your name. People are more likely to remember you if they buy a keychain with your company logo on it because they enjoy the colors or like the symbol, even if they don’t buy the book. The goal is to make them remember. Décor also applies to the tablecloth. You don’t have to have one made of pure silk, but make sure it is clean, presentable, and if possible, a similar color scheme to your branding.
Promotion is a tricky one; it can be before, during, and after the event. Promotion is made easier by social media. Let people know online that you’ll be attending the event, spread the word on your own. Do not wait for them to come to you. This piece of material pairs well with décor, as selling materials with your branding is an excellent strategy to spread the word. This is also achieved through attendee events, which I will cover next.
And finally, events are not mandatory, but a very simple, very effective way to stir interest in your work. This can be as simple as holding a raffle, giving the twentieth visitor a free copy, or having a closing sale where all products are 40% off in the last hour. Make sure to combine this with promotion, because if people know that the product won’t be available later, they’ll be sure to buy right then!
Now that you have all the materials you need, it’s time to put it all into practice. Call your local event centers, research the nearest sports game, get your name out there! Once you secure a slot, you’ll be able to show up with all the required materials to stand out and make that strong first impression. If people have questions, you can hand them that business card. If people like your logo, you can sell them that hoodie! And then when they go home and realize they’re looking for a book to read, they’ll see your name on that bookmark they got for entering that raffle and remember you! And that’s the main goal: you want to be remembered. If people remember you, they’re more likely to purchase your work. And while they’re off remembering, you can prepare it all again for the next event, ready and confident.