Mary's Minute: Event Advice, Part 1

I'm back for another edition of Mary's Minute! This time I want to take this time to talk about something I get questions about A LOT:

Event Advice

I moved to Dallas in late 2012, and I started blogging in December that year. Since then, I have attended 68 author events featuring hundreds of authors in six(ish) cities in three states (which actually isn't too many because I know my friend Katie of the Polished Page-Turners has gone to events in eight states! And in fact will be landing in Texas in about 12 hours to attend RT with me). I have attended press tours for best-selling authors and launch parties for debut authors. I have attended festivals and panels and individual signings at high schools, college campuses, city streets, public parks, convention centers, libraries, bookstore chains, indies, and even the dang Texas state capitol building. I have attended these events as a "regular" reader, blogger, moderator, and now, staff, which has allowed me to experience these events in different capacities. I started keeping an event page here on the blog 1. so I could share upcoming events with my friends and fellow book lovers, and 2. so I could always remember the events I've attended!

While I would never use the word "expert" to describe myself unless we're talking about sleep or cheese consumption, I do have lots of experience and a fair amount of general event knowledge.

Part 1: How do I get [x author] to visit my city?

Good question, and sadly, this is the one that is the most difficult to answer because a lot of it depends on SHEER DUMB LUCK.

First, I have to ask: is [x author] JK Rowling? John Green? Suzanne Collins? Rick Riordan? Veronica Roth? Stephanie Meyer? Best of luck to you, but honestly, these authors don't tour very much at all, and because demand for them is very high, you're in a crap shoot. I'm so sorry, but I have zero advice for you aside from telling you to find an event they'll be at, no matter where it is, and trying to attend. That's your best bet.

The biggest part of the puzzle actually is: does your city receive a lot of author visits? If yes, you're in good luck. It could happen quite easily! If no, I'm sorry to say, you're going to need to do more work, and sadly, I don't have much advice for that part. 

If your city DOES receive a lot of visitors, you can help get [x author] to visit by doing the following: checking their books out from the library REGULARLY. Share those books with your friends and family and encourage them to do the same. Tell your library you would be interested in meeting [x author]. Also, buy [x author]'s books from a local bookstore (preferably whichever one does events, be it a B&N, Half Price books, indie, etc). Ask to speak to their manager (preferably the event manager), and tell THEM you would like to meet [x author]. Pro tip: Event managers at Barnes & Noble are called CRMs. If you ask to speak to the CRM, you are more likely to be taken seriously. If you are still in school, talk to your school librarian to research a school visit with [x author].

Now, I do think it can be helpful to tell [x author] you are interested in meeting him/her at an event in your city, BUT I'm going to caution you here, as with any author interaction: Don't. Be. Annoying. Don't spam them with horribly spelled tweets and emails. No "[x authorrrr] I luv u plz com to Dalas bc u r my fav!!!1!!" Stop that. Be professional and friendly. Bonus points if you send AN ACTUAL LETTER via their publisher. Physical mail somehow always holds more metaphorical weight in addition to actual physical weight. Pro tip: Before you do this, check [x author]'s schedule. Have they visited your city before? How recently? If it was last week or even in the last year, they might not come back for a while.

If [x author] has a book coming out in a few months, this is a great time to try to reach out because BOOK TOUR! Most authors schedule the majority of their publicity events around book releases. It's a business thing. And again, if you can help your library or bookstore prove they've got numbers to back up interest, you can strengthen your case for your author visit.

So to recap, the best way to get your favorite author to visit: 
1. Pick a realistic author.
2. Be lucky.
3. Share their books.
4. Check out & buy their books.
5. Tell librarians & booksellers of your interest.
6. Check their schedule for future & past events.
7. Contact the author and/or publisher & tell them of your interest.
8. Be lucky some more.

Be sure to check out Part Two, which discusses how to find events and how to get the info you need to attend!

1 comment:

  1. Yay this a great post! I live in the San Fran area and it is a less visited area by YA authors. If an author does come, it's usually a long distance from my area. (This is why I am always willing to drive 1 1/2 hours to go to signing. Not everyday [Author name] comes to this city! Thank you for sharing! :D

    ~Kaitlin @ Next Page Please!