While you might be in the process of writing your book and haven’t gotten to the stage of publishing, let alone promoting, it, it’s important to think creatively about bookstore events and author readings from the get-go. (We thought this was a great take on the challenges of author readings.) Fresh off the promotion merry-go-round for Things I Want to Punch in the Face (Prospect Park Books), Jen shares some tips that ensured that her events were well-attended and more fun than a bag of kittens.
Make it inclusive. We went to an event by YA author Kevin Emerson. To kick off The Lost Code, the first book in his rad dystopian camp trilogy, he created a camp theme for the evening, reading actual letters he wrote from camp as a kid and inviting other writers to share their letters from camp. Jen did something similar, asking her friends to write their own Punch in the Face rant to share—with feeling—at the author reading, and played a game with three contestants from each audience. These Punch Parties were a blast for everyone involved and felt like an open mic night or literary salon. What’s not to like? And as an added bonus, involving others in your event ensures that you won’t get dry mouth or performance anxiety from being the only one talking.
Get in on group events. Much like tip 1, seeking out opportunities for author panels or roundtable discussions is a surefire way to have a successful event. Jen participated in an author lunch, acting as MC and introducing four other respected authors, including the magnificent Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler). She also read a Punch in the Face-themed essay during a Lit Crawl around Seattle, part of a Funny Ladies evening with three other hilarious writers. With a group event, its success doesn’t lie solely on your shoulders. In addition to you, several other participants will be promoting the event, inviting their friends, and working to draw a big crowd.