What an author can do, now that we can do stuff
As an author whose debut came out smack in the middle of a lockdown, and whose sequel followed at the tail end of it, I’m only now beginning to realize the wealth and breadth of events that are available to authors. From what I’m hearing, online launches and panels aren’t going away either, and podcasts are on the ascendancy.
In other words, there’s a plethora of ways to get the word out about your book baby.
In Person Events
Authors are a creative bunch. No reason to limit your event to a bookstore, though a bookstore should absolutely be your first stop. However, if you’re like me and there are literally NO independent bookstores nearby, or at least none that are doing in person events, think outside the box.
A café, a bar, a pastry shop, a toy store, a museum, your local historical society. Any establishment that loves the idea of having a group of people show up and buy their stuff while being entertained by you, will be happy to host you. For the event, bring some books, sign them, read for ten minutes (but not much longer) and answer questions. It’s an outing for your friends and family, and exposure for the business that’s hosting you.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money printing fancy anything, but at least have business cards with your name and site info, or bookmarks.
Library Panels – in Person
Librarians are always planning something. If you know other authors who live nearby, pool your resources and approach a librarian with a proposal for an interesting panel. Whodunnit for the digital age, Historical romances–anything you and your fellow authors have in common, even if it’s only that you’re all the same age or gender, and you have a theme.
I used to feel very intimidated by going into a Barnes&Noble and asking if they’d arrange for me to do a signing. And no wonder! My only options of doing this were when bookstores were still closed! But bookstores love having signed copies. It might not be an event, but they’ll order the books, which is a plus for you, and give them special attention once you sign. If you can, bring someone with you to take impressive photos of you autographing your books in a fancy bookstore.
Craft and Literary Events
Many towns host festivals and you can set up shop. Sign, sell, and chat.
Yes, these are happening again. Do all of the above, but in a short time span and in as many towns/states as you can manage. It takes some planning ahead of course, but is absolutely worth it for making connections with bookstores and librarians. Those kind of connections are priceless.
Online is Not Going Away, and That’s a Good Thing
Crowdcasts, Facebook events, Instagram events, these are all things you can do to chat up your upcoming launch or recent successes. Bookstores and libraries are continuing to do online panels, and this means you’re not limited by your geography. Make a list of the most supportive ones, and reach out.
Last, but absolutely not least, podcasts are continuing to explode in popularity. Podcast hosts are on the lookout for guests and content, so do your research and reach out. Make sure to look nice and be a fun guest. You don’t have to talk about your book, either, though by all means do. But the most entertaining podcasts are the ones where the author’s personality comes through and leaves an impression. So, think of your most amusing anecdotes, share some of your hard worn wisdom, and sprinkle interesting fairy dust as you speak.
How about you? How are you putting your work out into the world?
Her short stories appear in the Bouchercon 2023 Anthology, A Stranger Comes to Town: edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTORY.
When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.