Items to Bring for Your In-Person Book Events
When I first started going to in-person book events, I would invariably not have something I needed. I didn’t always know I was going to need a particular item either. But now, after doing a fair number of events, I have a list of things I need to take and I take this one ‘Must-Have’ item every time.
First, my list includes:
Books (but, of course!) You won’t believe this but yes, one time I forgot my books.
Banner (I have a banner made that just says, “Meet the Author and Book Signing.” I kept it generic to be able to fit any event. Mine hangs for tent events but I’ve seen the ones that stand. That’s my next investment.)
Tablecloth (I invested in a large rectangular—maybe 120 inches long--no-iron tablecloth. You can always make a longer cloth fit a smaller table but you can’t stretch it to fit longer one.)
Book stands (to stand my books up for more visibility)
Business cards and Holders (obvious)
Signs and Plastic Holders (these are signs I’ve created and printed at home that say something like “Book Sale and Price” and I place them inside plastic holders that stand up. You need a sign that says you are selling books and for how much. It just makes sense if you’re selling anything to have a sign saying what you’re selling and the price.)
Bookmarks (I use them as promo items but I also give one to everyone who purchases a book.)
Newslettes Sign-Up Sheets (I also have a plastic sign promoting the Free Ebook they receive for signing up.)
Pens (for that exciting time when you get to sign your book to a buyer/reader!)
Glasses (I need them to see! You can omit these from your list if you don’t need them.)
Table Decorations (For me, I have toys because I’m a children’s author, but I’ve seen people have all sorts of items related to their books.)
Credit Card Scanner (Don’t miss a sale because you can only take cash.)
Ipad/Phone (to run the credit card scanner)
Candy dish and candy (because everybody likes food)
Money Bag (To keep all the money you’ll need when you sell your books and to make change)
Now, for the ‘Must Have’ Item—it’s a clear rectangular box that keeps all my “must have’s.” It is invaluable, did I say it’s something you really gotta have?!
Anyway, here’s what’s inside my box:
You can expand on my items adding more or taking less depending on what you think you’ll need but these things, man, I’ve been so glad I had them.
A folder with my Newsletter Sign Up Sheets (I have a bunch in my folder, just in case I run out. In fact, at one event, another author borrowed one because they forgot theirs.)
Pens (Lots of them in different colors because I like to sign my children’s books in fun, matching colors to the cover)
More Glasses (just in case I forget the ones I usually wear)
Scissors (heavy duty ones that’ll cut through anything)
Clothespins (You just never know when you’re going to need to clip something)
Tape (both clear and painters tape—for times when you don’t want the tape to stick to something)
Nametag (it’s important to wear a nametag. It shouldn’t just have your name, but also indicate that you’re an author. I can’t tell you how many times people are surprised when they find out I’m the author of the books I’m selling)
Square Reader with Sign that says I accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover
Clips to hold your tablecloth down (like picnic table clips—these are fabulous when you’re at an outdoor event and it’s windy)
Zipties (you gotta have these—invaluable, I say!)
Ziptie cutters (my heavy duty scissors don’t quite cut it, haha!)
Extra business cards
Baggies (you’d be surprised, but sometimes you need to put something in a baggie)
Hand sanitizer (you shake a lot of hands, just saying)
And last but not least, I have a rock (this came from a particularly windy day and everything was blowing everywhere and some kind soul handed me a rock, it was a lifesaver!)
This box is probably 12 x 9 x 3 or 4 inches high
It’s one of those things that keeps all my small items in one place and I can just grab it and go knowing that I have everything I need in it!
Another note: I always pack up the night before by going over my list.
And one more thing: I graduated from a rolling bin to a wagon just because I had to stack everything up in a rolly bin and in a wagon, I have more space to spread out and keep things only 2 items high. It’s easier to keep organized and find what I need.
Sometimes when I’m setting up my table and I’ve stacked things 4 high, the very thing I need first is at the bottom. But, my new wagon, the table cloth is on the side and I can grab it first without having to move anything else. Plus, it has great wheels which makes it easy to turn in tight places (which is usually is behind tables and up against a wall or another table).
Hope this helps you be prepared for your next in-person event. And if you have something else you’d like to add, I’d love to hear it!
Wanda Luthman has her Masters of Arts in both Mental Health Counseling and Guidance Counseling from Rollins College located in beautiful Winter Park, Florida. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Adjunct Professor, and Hospice Counselor for teens. She’s currently a Guidance Counselor at a local High School. She is an award-winning, best-selling, international author who has self-published 5 children’s books (The Lilac Princess, A Turtle’s Magical Adventure, Gloria and the Unicorn, Little Birdie, and Franky the Finicky Flamingo). She belongs to the National Pen Women Organization in Cape Canaveral; the Florida’s Writers Association; Space Coast Authors; and Brevard Authors Forum. She presently resides in Brevard County Florida with her husband of 22 years and 2 dogs. Her daughter is away at college, like Little Birdie, she has left the nest. To download a free ebook, visit Wanda Luthman’s website at www.wandaluthmanwordpress.com and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wluthman.