One of the best ways to get the word out about your book is to do a book signing event or attend a book festival. Here in Boise, for example, I attend the Boise Book Fest every year—where admittedly, I stand out like a sore thumb as an editor among writers!
Having experienced the feel and climate of a book fest, I felt inspired to share my experiences and teach up-and-coming authors what you should bring to book fests to ensure it’s a success. I’ve been to two or three of these types of events, and people generally all have the same six things on or around their table.
So, let’s get right to the point. What should authors bring to book signing events that ensures it’s a success?
Well, bring your books, obviously. Most book fests and other similar events will require you to sign a waiver for tax information if you plan to sell your books. Above all, put your best book forward and don't show up to the book fest unprepared: be sure to get your book edited by a pro before publishing!
Consider bookmarks, which are very common, and something to have on your table to draw the theme together. The most successful and put-together independent authors have matching bookmarks for readers to pick up when they purchase their book.
KR Willis' custom bookmark for her book, Blood Cure.
3. A banner.
Many authors at book signing events and book festivals have banners (usually vertical, which stands up beside or behind the author’s booth/table) that showcase the author’s books. If authors have published several books, they might have a banner that shows their most recent book, or all of their books so far.
Book editor Kristen Hamilton at the 2017 Boise Book Fest. (Notice the banner!)
4. Business cards.
A less important item to bring, but professional nonetheless. Authors might have business cards on their table to pass out to potential readers to encourage readers to follow them on social media.
5. Table décor.
Have fun with this! The most successful authors tie their entire presentation together with a theme, usually one that incorporates their book’s cover design. People usually have small pieces of decoration ranging from little knickknacks (beads, glitter, etc.) to things as big as a vase of flowers. Above all, tie everything in to the theme of your book cover using similar colors and styles.
Kristen Corrects client Aubrey Moore, author of Butterfly Red Sky, in all her glory at a book fest!
6. A sign-up sheet.
Some authors also include a sign-up list for if people want to leave their e-mails to be the first to know about upcoming books. An email newsletter is a great idea to connect to your readers and ensure you are always on their radar.
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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of
Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing
services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several
authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have
topped Amazon's best sellers lists.
Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she
can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her
four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,
eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is
likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.