Book festivals are everywhere, all year round and have something for everyone. Whether you are an avid reader or not, I believe that every book festival has a magnetic pull. As soon as I think about a book festival, I visualize a grand happening—magical books from every genre imaginable, banners, giveaways and food. God, who could resist that?
And with this comes the chance to speak with authors. As a reader, I have this belief that every author is a celebrity in their own right, and I wish to meet each one of them. As an author, I found that the best opportunity to meet other authors is by attending conferences or book festivals.
Book festivals can be one of the most effective ways to connect with new readers. It’s also a place where you sell your books. Attending book festivals can be extremely costly. It is important to do a little bit of homework first, and choose the festivals most appropriate for you and your readers.
Define your market
Book festivals come in all shapes and sizes. Some are genre specific, some have a little bit of everything. With some festivals you may be competing with dozens of other authors. With others you may have the opportunity to connect with every attendee in a variety of ways. The key is doing your research before you register. If a book festival has been around for years, look to see which authors attend every year. This gives you a good indication of what sells.
Smaller events will cost less money to rent booth space. The larger the event, the more costly it will be, but it will also expose you to a bigger audience. If you start with smaller, local festivals, you can test not only what festivals are the right fit for you, but also find the best way to market your book.
With simple searches, you can find festivals for your needs. The Library of Congress lists book festivals by state, festivals.com provides a directory for festivals of all kinds, or check out literaryfestivals for listings from around the world. Or if you’re looking for something in your local area, simply Google it.
Plan For The Future
As an author, you’ll connect with a variety of people at your booth. Some are already raving fans, owning every book you’ve written. They are simply happy to have you sign a book and be able to shake your hand. Others may not be ready to buy, but will take your bookmarks or business cards with the thought of looking you up online.
Never ignore future potential. If someone isn’t ready to buy, you can offer a chapter or two for free on your website and take their email address to send them a link once you return to your office. And once they are on your list, you can keep connecting with them over and over again. They may not be ready to buy today, but through the power of social media, they can learn more about you over time. This also gives you instant opportunity to sell future books you may produce as well.
If you are in the process of writing and marketing your own book, don’t forget the power of a book festival when you are creating your marketing plan. And if you have your own success stories about selling at a book festival, I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below. Or you can tell me your story in person. I will be at the Decatur Book Festival in Georgia on September 5-6, 2015. You can find me in my booth, eager to meet new people.
Please stop by Booth 429 in Zone A and say hello.