By Susan Faw
The journey to become a full time indie author is a daunting learning curve, but never more so than when one begins to dip their toes into live book events and presentations.
I recently attended a small street party in Elmvale, Ontario. The Elmvale Sci-Fi Street Party, on July 22nd, was my first introduction into the world of street vendor presentation.
Authors, as a species, are an introverted bunch. We spend so much time in front of our computers and with our make believe friends while writing, that we lose sight of the value of personal, face to face interaction. Readers who fall in love with a book series, also love the authors who wrote those series. We all have an author we would dearly love to meet. For me, that would be J.K Rowling.
The fans of your series share these same thoughts and ambitions. There is nothing they would love more, than to meet the person behind their favorite fantasy or romance novel, to make that personal connection and gather that elusive signature. This connection is an indie’s primary tool. This is where we excel, online. But we can excel at the personal connection at live events, too. The world of personal presentation offers unique opportunities to interact with potential readers and fans.
Think about it this way. If you are a vendor at a comic con, or a fantasy con or a murder con, the crowd in attendance have already sorted themselves to be receptive to your message. They are in attendance because they love exactly what you are writing. It is exciting to engage with the people who attend these live events because they love the same things you love. Who better to present your books to, than a raving crowd just as enthusiastic about your favorite series, as you are? You share a connection and that is all the introduction you will need.
And if you have some cool swag to give away to those hungry people as they pass by your booth, all the better! In fact, I would say it’s a requirement. You want to be known as the table that has the coolest swag, the best giveaways, the must-stop-by table for authors.
Since that event in Elmvale, which was quite tiny compared to what I have planned in the future, I have studied what other authors are doing for live events, and I came up with these ideas for my next live event.
- Drop Cards. Drop Cards is a company that allows you to give away a credit card sized plastic card that is imbedded with a code for a free giveaway. It can be whatever you want (for me it’s my prequel novella). You can host the giveaway on their landing page on their site or on your own site if you wish. Each code is unique, and only useable once. You can also require them to provide their email address in order to redeem their free book. They can give it away if they don’t wish to have it for themselves. I decided to take this one step further and attach them to a brightly coloured lanyard, (bought in bulk on ebay). I wanted the giveaway to be visible, so the intention is to place it around the necks of anyone who approaches the table. Free walking advertising for the length of the con, as they wander around the event. As a secondary thought, for live events I may bundle the free book drop card with purchase of the complete set. In other words, purchase the three in paperback and download the prequel novella for free.
- Colourable book marks. I have sourced some bookmarks that feature animals that are a major component in my book series. Book marks are perennial favourites and always appreciated. Mine were sourced on Etsy from a lady in Quebec who hand drew them and has produced them for market. I have attached my business card to the back, which also has the free download code to my newsletter, printed on my business card.
- Book cover candy wrappers. I have on order wrappers for miniature chocolates, which are all of my book covers. Inside will be printed the free download link to my newsletter. For the price of a chocolate, a new fan may be gained. It’s a sweet deal for both!
These are only three ideas. There are a ton of great concepts out there, from scented candles created on scents that are present in your books (these would be sale items) to collectable card sets, or buttons to wear.
I intend to experiment with many different kinds of swag, test what works for my live audience. With a bit of thought, you will come up with great ideas for your fans, too!
Susan’s love of stories began before she could read or write. Her earliest childhood memories are of a make believe game she played with her sister, creating epic stories on the spur of the moment, inspired by a picture chosen at random, from a National Geographic magazine. An avid reader, a book is never far from Susan’s hand and every spare moment is spent with her nose in a book or writing her next novel. She loves to bring new worlds and fantasy adventures to young adults and inspire them to join her on her make believe journeys. You can find Susan at www.susanfaw.com, on twitter @susandfaw or on Facebook.
Susan’s books on Kobo