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Engaging Events

by Suzanne Kuhn

Every time you you have an event, whether it is a book signing, a meet and greet, a launch party, or speaking with a book club, you are representing yourself as the flagship of your brand. How you present yourself is very important. Understandably, everyone gets a little nervous at show time. How can you make your next event run seamlessly?

Always carry a Sharpie. Over the course of my retail career, I have hand sold many of your books, connecting readers with them. But only you can sign your books, and you need to make the book signing experience memorable. Ink pens fade, but fine tip Sharpies are permanent. A fine tip, autograph Sharpie allows you to sign with flair, pun intended, creating a lasting impression. Pick a consistent page, have a consistent tag line and use a signature different from your “check signing” one. Knowing what you will be signing and how you will be signing it will help you when you have a long line.

Dress for success. Be sure to wear comfortable, flattering clothes and shoes. Always be camera ready. What do you look good in? To help you figure that out, look at family pictures of yourself, identifying flattering colors and styles. Find something that works and wear versions of it consistently. It can become your signature look. My look is a combination of red, black and white and, of course, RED glasses. A comfortably dressed author, who looks good and feels great, will be focused on the reader. Please remember that an event is not a good place to “test drive” a new outfit or pair of shoes.

Be approachable. The old school book signing model of an author sitting in a folding chair behind a card table places a physical barrier between author and reader. Come out from behind the table and greet your readers at eye level. This might mean you have to gently take control of the event if the venue is still old school. Your readers have emotionally connected with your book, and now they want to connect with you. As you focus on the reader, remember that strong connections cement the author/reader relationship. Standing also allows you to position yourself for a more private conversation or to pray with your reader fan.

Take photos. Taking a picture makes a singular encounter a lasting memory for you and your reader. Without you in the picture, a photo of a fan and your book does not connect you to the event. Always be in photos with your fans. Make a singular encounter viral by posting these photos on your social media. Be sure to ask the fan to tag themselves in the photo, which will soft advertise you and your book to all of their friends.

And don’t forget that events come in all shapes and sizes. Every time you are in front of a reader or even a potential reader (and really, who is not a potential reader?) there is opportunity to make an impact. And absolutely every event should be engaging.

Suzy Q 2013
Suzanne Kuhn has more than 20 years of book retailing experience and event sales, including traveling as part of Karen Kingsbury’s team. In 2010 Suzanne launched SuzyQ, a full-service author promotion and retail development firm that works with authors, publishers and retailers, helping to coordinate events, train staff and authors in reader engagement, and develop promotions for increased sales and reader/customer loyalty. Suzanne’s experience and knowledge in the book retailing venue gives her an edge when consulting with retailers for niche and business plan development, facilitating book tours, and ensuring more successful and profitable events. Suzanne truly believes in the power of Christian literature to impact and change lives. Connect with Suzanne:
www.SuzyQ4U.com, on Facebook: SuzyQ4You or Twitter: @SuzyQn

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6 Responses to Engaging Events

  1. Reba says:

    Thanks for you post and the info Suzanne.
    Comeing out behind the table is somthing I do, if I cannot then I stand so I can be eye to eye and more one on one with the potiential buyer. But those frist words of engaging in conversation when someone comes up to the table to look at my books, are awkward. I really wish I could move past that, I don’t want to scare them away, but I also don’t want to lose a reader/buyer either.
    Reba

  2. Suzanne Kuhn says:

    Reba, I enjoy assisting authors in making their live interactions solid connections. It’s been a real pleasure to be able to share these blogs.

    eventfully,
    Suzanne

  3. Suzanne–Excellent advice. Because even a fine-point Sharpie isn’t always quite right for my handwriting, I prefer a medium point roller ball pen with permanent black ink, and always carry one when I am out (along with three copies of my current book and a handful of bookmarks in my car).
    By the way, thanks for teaching me that signed bookmarks are a nice thing to have and give away.
    Appreciate the work you do to help authors. Thanks.

  4. My very first book signing is next week. I was very apprehensive about it until I spoke with Suzanne, and she filled me so much inspiration and insight into how I can connect with people, now I can hardly wait for the event to happen. THANK YOU, Suzanne!

  5. Suzanne Kuhn says:

    Richard, I apologize for my lack of reply. For some reason, I missed your comment. You are a savvy author for sure! By carrying bookmarks, books and your permanent ink pen, I’m certain there have been times when you were glad you were well prepared. :-) Autographing those bookmarks gives an added bonus to the reader too.

  6. Suzanne Kuhn says:

    Connie, *gasp* I’ve no idea how I missed comments on this thread. You ROCKED your signing! And you touched lives while doing so. That’s what it’s all about!!