In our Event Managers meeting on May 11th, we shared tips, strategies, and solutions for some of the sticky situations we all face. We meet quarterly; our next session is Thursday, September 21st.
Here are a few highlights of our conversation.
A Challenge and an Opportunity
First the challenging news – publishers are cutting back author tours across the board. Front list writers may be getting 5 stops where they used to get 9. Midlist authors are getting very little tour support at all. Debut authors are very often mainly on their own. We’ve all been sensing this, so it’s good to have confirmation.
The opportunity in this moment – publicists are looking for ways to support their authors, and to engage audience, so we have a chance to let our creativity shine. Everyone knows that audience turn out is a challenge, so we have to create not just an event to go to, but An Event – conversation partners, panels, parties, fan-fests – whatever it takes to make something people feel they have to come or they’ll be missing out. The general consensus of the meeting is that “one author reads and answers questions” events are no longer drawing audience; we are all looking for conversation partners, panels, theme nights, and other ways to give our customers FOMO.
School Visits are Working…
if you can meet requirements, which tend toward at least 200 kids/school, 2-3 schools in a day, and minimum buys per school, usually 25 or 50 books. This is an opportunity for stores in suburban areas, who might not be getting “big name” authors who stop in large cities, but can get the bigger children/s/YA authors into their schools. Some publishers are specifically looking for evening visits with multiple schools invited, perhaps an entire district, with an audience of 300 or more with tickets tied to book sales – perhaps 1 book per family of 4, or 1 book purchase required with each additional seat for $5. If you can meet these numbers, even if you are an “out of the way” location, you have a chance in these current conditions.
Working with publicists
The sense of the group is that the COVID years has made our need to be really clear when working with publicists even more urgent. High staff turnover within publicity departments can make our jobs much harder. We need to remember to ask very clearly for what we need, and that we can say “no” to requests that don’t work within our programs.
Tips, Tricks, and Tools
Libro.fm is making a push to get more of their best-selling authors to provide their followers with links to purchase audio books on Libro rather than other sites. They have social media assets for you, and info to share with any authors you book for events:
Eventbrite will let you create a separate link for each of your affiliates/listing locations, so you can actually see who is sending views and registrations to you. This option is under the “Marketing” menu.
Instagram is rolling out a Beta option that allows you to invite another person/account to be the co-author of your post. Using this allows you to tag the author so that the post will automatically go out to all of their followers. Keep checking to see if this option has come to your account.