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Tips for Working with Bookstores & Speaking Venues

  1. If you are not familiar with them already, get to know your local bookstore, library, cultural groups, and schools. Become acquainted with the staff. Attend events for other authors, volunteer for other author events, and let them know you are also an author. Tell them when your book will be published and let them know you are available to give talks, readings and signings at the time of publication.
  2. Research bookstores and speaking venues in locations where your book takes place(may very well be a different location from where you live).
  3. Bookstores, libraries, and cultural centers book author events far in advance, so the earlier you can approach them, the better. 2-3 months ahead of the publication date is ideal.
  4. Have press materials available when you reach out to the bookstores and speaking venues. Helpful press materials include a press release, your bio, and suggested topics of discussion that would appeal to their customers. Be sure to include any local connections to the story or your personal background.
  5. Bookstores and speaking venues prefer events where a conversation takes place. So, think about ideal conversation partners for your book. If possible, reach out to them beforehand to see if they are available to serve in this role. If they have a published book, as well, that works out wonderfully. The bookstore can promote both titles, and it’s a win-win.
  6. Bookstores and events venues count on the author to draw a crowd. Think about whoyou will invite to your talk and estimate how many people will attend.
  7. Choose one store in each location (hometown, book setting, other local connections) fora talk & signing — don’t schedule multiple events in one place. Bookstores frown upon this, and it is also better for you not to spread yourself too thin and dilute your audience between multiple events.
  8. If you can’t resist booking more than one event in your hometown, make sure the audiences are distinct from one another. For instance, you could speak at an elementary school and then a rotary club. And book them several weeks apart.
  9. When arranging an event, check to see what else is going on during that day. You want to make sure you’re not competing with bigger draws, or scheduling a talk when no one will be around.
  10. Encourage booksellers (store employees, people on the floor, in particular) to read yourbook. If bookstore employees enjoy your work, they will be much more apt to hand-sell your book.
  11. If you spot your book in a bookstore, take photos and post on your social media accounts with #hashtags for your book title. Posts on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest are all great. Make sure you properly tag the store and @FordhamPress #FordhamPress !!!  Make it as easy as possible for people to find your book and buy it.
  12. Bring extra books with you in case the bookstore/event venue sells out.
  13. After your event, be sure to thank the event coordinator. And it is also a nice gesture tothank and tag them on social media. Let them know that you would be happy to serveas a moderator or conversation partner for other authors who visit their store down the road.

RESOURCES:

This article gives good tips for working with your local booksellers (or in towns/cities that you visit): https://www.bookweb.org/news/how-talk-bookseller-10-step-guide-authors

  • Reading venues database - This is an additional resource compiled by Poets & Writers magazine.
  • Book club finder – Here is a good resource for finding book clubs by zip code. You can usethis list to conduct outreach within your spheres of influence.