Do you have an event coming up? A book reading, launch, or signing? Great! Now we need to discuss your book event promotion. How are you going to get people to know about it? We briefly chatted about this in two previous blog posts, What To Do at a Book Launch and The Do’s and Don’ts at a Book Signing. For this post, I want to dive in a little deeper into the topic. There is a lot more to discuss.

Starting Your Book Event Promotion

Alright, so let’s presume you have your date picked out for your event. The details have been sorted out, such as time, location and agenda. For a book signing these are pretty easy, you show up with books and sign them. For a book launch, they are more complex and have a more ridged agenda.
Let’s say that your event is fully booked (ideally two months in advanced), let’s review some ways that you can go about promoting it:

Book Event Poster

This is a highly versatile marketing piece. Usually a poster is sized to fit a 11”x17” paper, also known as portrait ratio. It can be printed and be distributed digitally. Whether you, or a graphic designer, are making the poster, you want the key points on the poster to be visible. This would include:

  • What type of an event? Example: Book Launch for…, Book Signing for…
  • What is the date?
  • What is the time and location?

These are probably your three key pieces of information you will want to have visible on your poster. Some primary graphical elements would be the book cover and possibly a portrait shot of the author (you).

Poster Sizes

Your poster should also be sized for various distribution methods. Social media usually works with a square size for posts (Twitter, Instagram). A landscape banner works well for Facebook. In short, you probably what three variations of the poster:

  • Portrait size (print poster/postcards)
  • Landscape size (Facebook or web banner)
  • Square size (Instagram post)

Physical Distribution

Got your poster design complete? Get some posters and postcards made! Hand deliver the postcards to key individuals who you know who will want to come to your event. Leave them on poster boards and at cafes that allow you to. Hand out as many as you can.
Take them to the event location itself and give them some of the posters, they want your event to be as much as a success as you do. That way everyone wins.
Hitting the streets to promote your book can also be done in casual conversation. If friends or acquaintances ask how you are, tell them about the event! It is an easy habit to say “things are good” or “things are busy”, no. Tell them exactly what you are doing. Keep some postcards on hand at all times so you can give them to people in discussion.

Leading Up to the Event – the Digital Event

We’re primarily focusing on free book event promotions. If you have a website, or Facebook account, you will want to make an event online about a month or so in advanced before the event itself. Do not be shy to send the invite to everyone. Invite them via social media or in email. This is when you want to make sure everyone is aware of it.

Prepping for the Event

It doesn’t hurt to post continually on social media before the event. Organizing the books? There’s a photo with a post saying: “Counting the books for the event!”. You will also want to post the day before and the day of the event before you head down to the location as an additional reminder to people. We all have busy lives and quite frankly, your event isn’t nearly as important to them as it is to you. Stay humble.

Alternative Methods

The methods mentioned above are pretty much free, minus the printing and design services of the poster. You can also look into alternative methods such as online paid ads allow you to target regions and interests. If you plan far enough ahead – again, in months – and have a press kit ready, you can approach the media or a local magazine to see if they would be interested in covering your event.

Book Event Promotion is Difficult to Track – Stay Humble

It can be a real challenge to tell who is going to show up to your event. Facebook or Eventbrite events can give you a rough estimate, but you really don’t know until the day of. Physical posters and social media posts also are difficult to track their usage. Pardon the language, but a lot of marketing tends to be throwing enough shit against the wall and see what sticks. Of course, you can target specific groups or communities that would have a higher interest in your event. For example, distributing posters to an arts district vs the suburb communities will probably do better.
It is difficult to track who and how many will show up until you are facing the attendees the day of, so stay humble. Don’t be bummed out if it is a low turnout, instead, ask yourself why? What could have you done different?
Perhaps the weather was bad, the location was difficult to get to, the time was a challenge for people, or maybe the wrong time of the year/month. Take this information and plan better for your next event.

Any other thoughts?

Share your thoughts in the comments if you have had personal experiences planning for a book event.


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Konn Lavery

About Konn Lavery

Konn Lavery is a Canadian author whose work has been recognized by Edmonton’s top five bestseller charts and by reviewers such as Readers’ Favorite, and Literary Titan.

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