Tips to promote your author event

So you're planning an author event and you want to make sure that news of this can't-miss-event reaches as many people as possible. The following tips can help you expand your outreach and ensure your event runs smoothly. Put together a checklist using the ideas that are relevant for your event or just use the suggestions below for inspiration.

Use your networks and platforms

Here are some specific things you can do to promote your event using your social networks or other platforms:

  • Put it on your website: Maintain a calendar of events on your site or Facebook page so people looking for this information have somewhere to find it. 

  • Send it to your mailing list: Do you have a monthly newsletter? Add it in there. Maybe even send a dedicated e-blast about the event. If you've collected location information from your newsletter subscribers, find out if your mailing platform can segment your list by location so you're only emailing those who might be able to attend.

  • Make it easy for people to remember to come: Alerting people to your event is only the first part. You need to make sure they remember the date and time and that they actually come. Create an "add to my calendar" button to help them remember where and when your event is in a way that's integrated into their existing tools!

  • Use your social media accounts:

    • Twitter: Send out tweets about the event with basic information, such as the date and city, and provide a link to more information. Send different messaging as the event gets closer, including tweets along the lines of "Don't forget the event is this week/tomorrow/today." If this is part of a tour, consider creating a hashtag for the tour (#authornameontour) and use it to promote all the events where your author will appear.

    • Facebook: Create a Facebook event. You can see who is interested in coming and let people share the event with friends and invite others in their networks. You can also boost Facebook events if you have an advertising/marketing budget, which is a great opportunity to reach more people in the event's geographic area.

  • Giveaways: Is this a ticketed event? If so, consider providing a keen book blogger with a pair of tickets to give away to their audience. And/or, you can run your own contest. Asking people to comment on a Facebook post about the event for a chance to win tickets is an effective way to boost the event's reach on that platform.

  • Get physical: Create an experience by sending real, tactile, and beautiful invitations to influential and important guests.

  • Think about accessibility: Is the venue accessible? Are there stairs? Where are the bathrooms? Is there a bookstore cat? Can you hire an ASL interpreter? Do the chairs have restrictive arm rests? If it's ticketed, do you offer any subsidized or PWYC options? Making your event as accessible as possible will ensure that people from all walks of life are able to attend, which, at the end of the day, is good for your attendance and outreach to potential readers. Plus, you can collect all this information and share it alongside other pertinent event details so that everyone will know whether they will be able to attend and what to expect from the venue.

  • Livestream or record it: Not everyone will be able to attend your event in person — maybe they live far away or work nights — but you can involve more people by livestreaming your event, for example on Facebook or YouTube. You could also record it for distribution at a later date.

Partner up

You're not going at this totally alone, right? Get your author, event host, and/or moderator to help spread the word.

  • Take advantage of your partners' networks: Work with the event host to promote the event. Is it a local bookstore? Ask them to share the event on their social platforms or event calendar. Local library? Try to start a conversation with them on Twitter. Librarians' social media game is on point.

  • Get creative: Choose an unconventional event space and pick a local indie bookseller to come onsite to sell books. It could be a match made in heaven.

  • Get the author involved: Give them a designed image (or an image and some copy) to email to their friends and family, and to share on their social platforms. The easier it is, the more likely they are to do it.

  • List it: Get a listing in your local weeklies or post to your city's Facebook page.

We hope that these ideas have inspired you to get creative with how and where you can share your next author event.