No, not your face. We’ll talk about THAT later.
I mean AUTHOR appearances–cons, festivals, and the like. On the eve of the Unbound Book Festival independent author fair (starring yours truly), I am ruminating about tips and tricks for personal appearances. These are things I didn’t know the first, second, or even third time around.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I’m going to hit some high points. Ready? Too bad.
- Power Banks! What happens if your phone dies? Or your laptop or tablet (if you bring one)? Power banks are crucial for those situations where there is no place to plug in–and there often isn’t. Make sure they’re charged up the night before!
- Card Reader! Not everyone pays with cash. Sometimes, they have cash but prefer to pay with a card. You can usually get a basic, FREE card reader from PayPal Here or Square, but you might want to kick in the extra $$ to get a better model–one with a chip reader.
- Cash! If you need to make change for someone, you’ll need some 1s, 5s, and maybe even 10s just in case. Also, this cash is useful for when you’re exploring the con and want to buy other books! (this is dangerous)
- Book Transportation System! How on Earth do you expect to transport your books from your car to the table? A rolling suitcase is PERFECT for this! And this was something I never thought of until I saw someone doing it…while I was lugging a heavy-ass box of books around–It was great exercise, but also ridiculous.
- Business Cards! This was also something I hadn’t thought about until I saw someone suggest it. You can get a bajillion business cards online for really cheap, and they’re handy to include with each book purchase as well as to display on your table.
- Table Decor! I’m talking maybe character art, a tablecloth, book stands, maybe a candy dish of some kind–whatever. Make your space unabashedly yours. If it catches the eye, then potential readers will be drawn to it. Even if your books aren’t their thing, they’ll look anyway, wondering “what’s up with all this?”
- Snacks! If you’re going to be putting in a lot of time at an author table, it’s a good idea to have some snacks on hand. Some venues will provide snacks and drinks, but it’s best not to rely on them. You want to be at your table for as much time as you can be. If you have someone to tag-team with you, that works really well (I never do).
- Your Elevator Pitch! Be prepared to answer when people ask “what’s your book about?” or casually look your way. However you do this is up to you, but it’s a good idea to get used to the idea.
- Books! Of course, if you’re going to sell your books, you need to have your books. This should be self-explanatory.
By no means is this everything–every author is different. But these are a great start. Remember, you want to catch the interest of passersby and get them interested in what you’ve written. How that goes down depends solely on you.