by Allison Pottern Hoch
If you’ve published a book or are in the querying trenches, you know what it takes to promote your book to an agent or editor. But once you’re ready to market that book, how do you convince a venue to take you on for an event? Remember the four P’s: professionalism, politeness, preparation, and patience.
Bookstores, venues, media outlets—no matter who you’re pitching to, odds are they’re a business, just like you. Whether that business is for-profit or non-profit, they will have considerations that will be similar to yours: Do they have the budget for an event? Will you appeal to their customers/audience? You’re about to enter a business arrangement, so interact in a businesslike way.
Being polite shows that you value the work and efforts of the people with whom you wish to collaborate. Hosting an event, carrying a book, promoting a title: these are opportunities for an author and a bookstore to work together to the benefit of both parties. Just as you would like a venue to treat you and your book with respect, do the same for them.
Do your research ahead of time. Does this outlet support the kind of event you want to do? What is the best way to reach them? Put together an event plan. What do you have to offer the venue and their audience? What will your event look like? How many people can you bring? What are your needs? Be sure to provide your press kit and contact information.
Event coordinators often wear many hats, so please be patient if their response isn’t immediate. Give them a week or so and follow up again, especially if it’s time sensitive. Make sure you’re contacting them in their preferred manner (email, phone, etc.). Managing a complex schedule of events goes beyond just filling a calendar; they’re looking out for your time and efforts as well as their own. If they don’t get back to you, don’t take it personally and don’t feel bad about moving on to your next option.
Allison has happily made books her life’s work. She spent four years marketing and publicizing academic titles at The MIT Press before she went to work for Wellesley Books as a children’s bookseller and event coordinator. She organized, hosted, and promoted over 150 events during her tenure, ranging in size from intimate workshops and lunches to multi-media events with over 700 attendees. She is now living her dream: putting her B.A. in Creative Writing to good use as a novelist and book event coach. She enjoys science fiction, cupcakes, and a hot cup of tea. http://events.pottern.com. To learn more about engaging with your community bookstore or develop your own successful event and marketing plan, check out the talks and workshops Allison is leading this fall.