Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Photo Tuesday - Author Appearances

As authors, what are our options for physical appearances? Where will readers find us?


This seems obvious.
But it’s also the answer to “Where’s the worst place to sell a book?”
Bookstores used to be great outlets for authors, but in recent years, not so much.
And bookstores are the only ones who return books. Ouch! That’s a big ding on the royalty check.


For those with non-fiction or historical books, this is an option. And scheduled talks are far better than just a signing.


If you can land them, this is an excellent location! Some schools will even send pre-order forms home with the kids.

Coffee Shops

Independent coffee shops are a blast. (And a combined coffee shop & bookstore is really good!) Very casual and relaxed.
Tip - schedule an appearance on wine-tasting night. Drunk people will buy anything!

Speaking Engagements

Once an audience has heard you speak, they are much more likely to buy a book! And the possibilities for speaking engagements are endless. (See my Thursday posts on professional speaking.) This is my preferred type of appearance.


There are thousands of festivals across the nation, and some are definitely better suited for authors than others. Watch booth fees, as they can be excessively high.

And the list goes on..

Writer’s clubs
Book clubs
Specialty stores
Farmer’s markets
Fund-raising events
Book festivals
Trade shows

Authors, where else? What has worked for you and why? Readers, where would you like to meet an author? What other locations or stores?

PS -
Yesterday for my "Creative Writer" award, I listed three lies and one truth-

I am an only child - almost, but I have a much older half brother and half sister.

I've never tasted beef - I didn't go veggie until I was 23, so I have tasted beef. (As well as frog legs and alligator!)

My guilty pleasure is Shania Twain - Dear Lord, no! I really, really, REALLY dislike country music. Sorry!

Which leaves one truth-
I've lived in all four time zones of the USA

Good job, Kristi!!! I think you were the only one who guessed correctly.
Thanks everyone for your fun guesses!


Creative Chronicler said...

Great advice!!

Anonymous said...

Good advice, Diane (especially "drunk people will buy anything," which could be a new slogan for MADD).

However, one technical point -- there are actually 7 time zones in US territory. Most of Alaska is an hour behind Pacific time, Hawaii and much of the Aleutians are two hours behind Pacific time, American Samoa is three hours behind Pacific, and Guam is actually 18 hours ahead of Pacific time (it's always one day ahead of the rest of the US, being on the other side of the International Date Line).

Personally, I've lived in all those time zones except Samoa Time.

Unknown said...

I never gave much thought to all the places an author could appear. I like the coffee shop type atmosphere. Relaxed and cozy.

ggray said...

This is great. And yes we need to push the boundaires for alternative avenues for marketing our books. I'd also like to suggest Art Crawls. I learned as an artist living in my studio, that many cities host once a month art crawls. Ours is the First Friday. Gallery owners are always looking to bring in other types of viewers in - not just artists or collectors. I'd suggest attending an art crawl, check out a gallery whose style blends with your book and ask the owner if they'd let you do a signing. Many smaller galleries would love the opporunity to do a mixed media event and folks who go on art crawls are already in the mindset to seek out and support creativity and locals.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I went to a signing at a restaurant. It looked like it was a successful event. Maybe because the restaurant had a bar so the "drunk people will buy anything" rule applied.

Jo-Jo said...

I would have never thought that a bookstore would be one of the worst places for an author event. Thanks for the info!

Mason Canyon said...

A lot of places to sell books I would have never thought of. Oh, you are good. I was sure it was #3.

Arlee Bird said...

Seems like I used to see all kinds of notices of author appearances around here, but not since I've started blogging and writing again and am more interested in this. Of course, I don't get the paper as much any more either. There are probably events in plenty of parts of L.A. but I don't like to drive more than 5 or 10 miles to attend them. That's ridiculous isn't it? But traffic and going out and all is such a hassle sometimes.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a whole lotta options!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Walt, that could be their slogan!
I knew if I didn't add the word "continental" someone would point it out!
I'm bucking for Alaska next...

ggray, our town is too small, but Raleigh has one of those. Need to try it once.

Jane - LOL!!!

Jo-Jo, I used to love bookstores, but not as many people go to them and those who do are in there for one specific book and that's it. Just not fun anymore, nor is it profitable for anyone.

Arlee, glad I could stump you! And most papers don't list author events anymore because there are so many. The flood of subsidy books over the past few years has made it impossible.

The Old Silly said...

Drat! I was wrong. :( Oh well. Hey that's a VERY comprehensive list of available venues for authors to get exposure. Some of them I hadn't thought of or done yet. Thanks!

Marvin D Wilson

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm with you on the bookstores! I still do them, but I'm asked where the restroom is about a dozen times. :)

Craft fairs are fun places to sign...as you mentioned, watch the booth fees (and don't spend all the money you make on crafts!) :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Kristi said...

Great advice, as always Diane, and invaluable with those of us that are new to the scene!

And yay me for guessing right! I was actually stopping by to see which one was correct (love these lies/truths) when your latest post caught my eye! :-)

Helen Ginger said...

The closest indie to me used to also have a wine bar. Not a lot of choices, but you could sit and talk to the owner while you sipped a glass - or on evenings when an author was speaking, you could have a glass while you listened (and bought).

Straight From Hel

Jemi Fraser said...

Books and wine tasting! Awesome idea - We lost our only Indie book store a few years back so it probably won't happen here :(

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Glad to see everyone likes the wine-tasting night idea! Yes, that was from personal experience!

Elizabeth, I'm often asked to help someone find a book - which I often try to do, as sometimes they buy mine just for helping them. But bookstores no longer rock my world...

Anonymous said...

You live an exciting life. Author, speaker, blogger, lived in four time zones. I'm glad I know you.

Stephen Tremp

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Stephen, thank you, and some days it's all a bit much!

Christina Rodriguez said...

Awww, not ALL country music is THAT bad! I have two words for you: BRAD PAISLEY. He's dreamy and his songs are often tongue-in-cheek. I like a man with a sense of humor...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Christina - LOL!
Sorry, just a rock 'n' roll girl at heart.

Donna McDine said...

Hi Kristi:

Great tips and to the point. Thanks for sharing!

Warm regards,