Hello dear friends,
Here is another post in blogging bolder.
Today I want to write about attending book signing/book bash/book event….
Why is it bold you say?
Well because the event I attended is in another country for one so …travel and adventure.
Second because it was my first event and I had never met the authors and bloggers attending even if we chatted online. New Girl syndrome.
Third because I wanted to be more than “Hi, I loved your book can you sign it please”. I wanted to really connect with people. It means being outspoken. Coming out of my shell. Being brave and bold not hiding behind a book.
So today I will tell you everything you need to be able to prepare, go to the event and make it a memorable moment.
Step 1: find an event
It may seem basic but if you live in a non English speaking country like me this is quite a daunting task!
I had to find an event not too far from home or be ready to pay a high price! Now if you are ready to spend lots of money you can travel far and make it a holiday of course! But many bloggers and readers don’t have that kind of money.
My advice: speak with other bloggers living around your country!
Look at Facebook readers groups. Or have a look at your favorite authors pages and see which events they are planning to attend.
I chose RARE London as England is only two hours by train (yes under the sea) from my country. It also had many of my favorite authors and my preferred genre: romance!
Now I plan to go back to London in July to attend YALC (Young Adults) depending on the author’s line up.
Step 2: get your tickets.
Again this can seem trivial but know that all RARE London tickets were sold in the span of a few hours! In less than 5 minutes you did not have early entry tickets anymore!
My advice: open your account at the company selling the tickets (it was Eventbrite) the day before tickets are on sale. You’ll avoid losing precious minutes and won’t have to stress too much because you can’t connect and pay for them.
Step 3: book your hotel and flight/train/…
Once you have bought your tickets and know the location of the event, don’t wait too much to book your accomodations if you want a hotel close to the event. Think about it: RARE had 1500 readers/bloggers attending and 100 authors. Plus volunteers.
If other events are planned not far from yours the hotels will be booked really quick!
Tip: if the event has a Facebook group you can ask if other people live in that town for some recommendations. You can also ask if someone would be ready to share a room if you are traveling alone. You’ll make new friends and will spare some money.
Don’t wait too long to book your flight or train depending on the time of the event (if it’s on a school holiday many people will book planes etc. to visit with the kids!).
Early booking rate are often lower too.
Step 4: select the authors you absolutely want to meet.
Why? Because you probably won’t have enough time to meet all the authors! I know RT in US is organized around several days but if you attend RARE or other similar events you only get a few hours in one day to meet your favorite authors!
I wanted to meet Mariana Zapata, Penny Reid, Jodi Ellen Malpas, Tillie Cole and Colleen Hoover but I never got the chance. They were ticketed authors meaning you had to get a ticket to meet them and we got numbers so far in the lines that it was impossible to meet them.
But it was all right even if somehow disappointing as I had prioritized my “Absolutely need to meet” authors then my “I really would love” and then “If I can I’ll be really lucky”. I got to meet my “Absolutely” and my “Really would love” so I was a very happy blogger!
You’ve read about my unicorn authors in other posts about RARE. They were the ones I really talk with and am a huge fan. I have a personal relationship with them and I consider them as my friends. So it was a big success.
How should you go from there?
Make a list with priorities number one, number two etc. Be realistic here! You can hope to meet minimum 10 authors in the span of an afternoon. More is a bonus and will be possible if the queues are short meaning they are not so well known yet. If you want to meet a ticketed author take your ticket as soon as you get into the room.
Once you have the sitting map (yes there was a map of the room at RARE with even lunch hours for the authors) try to visit you unicorn authors rationally.
For example: Suanne Laqueur, Emma Scott and Amy Harmon my top three were miraculously all seated close to each other! So I beelined in their hook as soon as I entered the room. Bingo!
Step 5: order your books, suitcase/trolley and T shirts/tote bags/tags
Ordering your books
Either you already own all their books in paperback and everything is taken care of either you’ve read them on your ereader.
Kind of difficult to sign ebooks right?
You have two solutions.
Option one: your authors will take orders for their books and you’ll pay with Paypal or cash. All you’ll have to do is go at their table on D Day chat, take a pic and have them signed. Easy peasy!
Option two: (some) authors don’t offer this option and you’ll have to order your books in advance and carry them to the event.
Carrying your books
Now how will you carry your books?
You can buy a trolley. You will just open the top to extract your books.
If the chosen book is at the bottom of your trolley you’ll still need to dig deep and take the other books out of it. If you take the plane this could not be the best option.
I opted for a suitcase. Granted I had to open it completely to get my books but it was easier to carry on the train.
A little trick is to open your suitcase in a quiet corner of the room and prepare the books for your next two or three authors. This way you don’t have to open and close it all the time.
Even if you talk often with some authors like I do they don’t always see your face. You see theirs all the time but they usually won’t be able to recognize you except if you video chat on a regular basis with them.
Useful trick: make a T-Shirt with your blog logo and name. Tote bags too if you want. Anything to avoid the “blank look” when you are in front of someone you’ve chatted with for months!
It will also make for great advertising for your blog! I even made business cards with my blog logo, mail, etc. and gave them to many authors that day. You never know when they would need a hand promoting a book or reading their book.
Step 6: the day before the D Day! Wrap your books.
The day before your travel if I have one advice to give you aside peparing your map and studying the traveling options from your hotel to the event (tube/underground? Bus? Taxi? On foot?) it’s to wrap your books in some plastic bag like freezing bags (ziplock). Do this regrouping your books by authors. Also add some post-it with your name on the books.
It’s a little trick but it will smooth things out at the signing because:
-you’ll find all your books for that author easily;
-they’ll be protected agains the rain or being jostled in the suitcase;
-the author won’t misspell your name and will be grateful you made her/his work easier. This goes with the personalized T Shirt/Tote bag.
Maybe you can also carry some journal or note book and have it signed by the authors. It would make for a great souvenir.
If you want you can also order some gifts for your unicorn authors! With a kind word some chocolates or craft will be appreciated. I ordered chocolates for my favorites as it’s our national delicacy!
Step 7: the D Day! Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers.
Maybe you love walking with heels but be aware that you’ll be on your feet for hours. Not really walking but just standing. My advice is to wear comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you.
Dress in layers! If the event is in winter like mine you’ll need a jacket and sweat-shirt to keep you warm while waiting (for two hours) outside the building. Once inside it will be warm. More than 1500 people in the same room make for a lot of human heat!
Choose something comfy that you are not afraid to dirty. Why?
Because at one point or another you’ll want to sit. Sometimes you’ll have to sit on the floor. Wearing a pencil skirt could not be the brightest idea.
Last parting advices: have fun and make the most of it!
If you plan to meet other bloggers take a selfie on the D day to be able to spot the other. Chat on messenger and decide of a meeting point.
Greet warmly the authors and say your name : “Hi Emma, It’s Sophie from Beware Of The Reader”. Warm welcome assured!
Chat with them don’t be shy! You’ll be shy later but not that day. This is the day to connect with them and ask what you really wanted to know about them. Of course in a somewhat limited time but still…
Give your camera to the author’s assistant if you are alone and take a picture or two or three if the author is game and the lines are short.
Another very useful tip: stay till the end!
If the authors still have lots of unsold books by the end they don’t want to carry them back home and you’ll have books at half price! Some authors even sold their books for 1 USD!
Just keep in mind that you have to carry your haul back home!
I hope these advices will help you and if you have questions feel free to ask!
Thanks for reading!
Oh this is such a brilliant post, Sophie, thank you so much for sharing this! I am going to my first big bookish event and signing next week and I am excited, but also quite nervous so thank you for all of the wonderful advice! 🙂
Thank you Marie! Which event are you attending?
Sophie!! This is the BEST advice for any sort of author meet up! I especially loved how you promoted your blog and mad3 yourself recognizable to the authors you’ve talked to before. Also wrapping your books is a great idea… we benefited so much from your experience! Thanks for sharing ♥️
Oh Dani you made me so happy! I really wanted to help so if it worked I’m a happy camper. Thank you <3
HA I can bond with strangers I see buying the same books I own
Me too! Books are a great bonding media 🙂
Great Post, Sophie! This is a very helpful guide and I really like your idea of tote bags and T-shirts! 🙂
Thank you Raven! As I was unknown and a newbie it helped authors and bloggers to recognize me.
This is really a phenomenal guide! I’ve been to a few signings now and I feel like every time I attend one I pick up a new ti or trick to really help me make the best of my time.
I love the idea of making a shirt with my blog name/logo – I wish I had time to do that before my even this weekend, but maybe for the next one!
Oh wich event are you going to?
Great post Sophie. I’ve yet to go to a book event, so I’m tucking all these in my memory file♥
hahaha use them when the time is right Ari!
Great Post 😀 A lot of this vice also applies to Comic Cons! I really like your totes and shirts with your logo! You could probably sell those if you wanted.
Thank you Brittany 😉 And yes I guessed it must be quite similar!
Awesome advice! I especially liked the tees/totebags…great idea!!
Thank you Trisy!!!
Sorry…….now that you have been through the first event………
Great advice Sophie! Now that you have been never the first event you are a seasonal need veteran!
Thank you Susan! And yes I think you are right 😉