How To Be A Success At A Book Event

Have you ever done an in-person event and felt like it flopped? Don’t worry. This happens to all of us. I have done several different types of in-person events from Craft Fairs to School Visits to Book Fairs. My first attempts were flops, but eventually I got the hang of it. And you will too with a few simple tips.

When I first started out, I used to sit behind my table and hope someone would come over and talk to me. I had my children’s book, a “For Sale” Sign, and some crafts for kids to make. Since my first events were at Craft Fairs, people just assumed I was offering a free craft. Sometimes they would pick up a book and realize I was the author.

You guessed it, it was a flop.

Learning the ropes.

Then, I went to a Book Fair and was seated beside two dynamic authors. I learned very quickly that you had to stand up and engage everyone that walked by.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t like when people are too aggressive or assertive when I’m at events as a shopper. So, I wasn’t too sure about this method. But, they sold WAY more books than I did. Yes, I flopped again. But, I learned to stand up and engage with people who came to my table.

For my next craft fair, I made a sign to hang at the back of my tent that said, “Meet the Author and Book Signing” to make it more obvious who I was and what I was doing there. Then, I started engaging people as they walked by asking them if their child wanted to make a craft.

It was easy to ask and kids always wanted to make something, so that got the parent over to my table. I would talk to them about my book and usually the child would like it and the parent would make a purchase. Much better, but I was missing the people who were there but didn’t have their kids with them.

So, I started engaging people not too aggressively, but with a “Hi,” or “I like your shirt,” kind of interaction. Sometimes people would come over and I could talk to them more about my books and I had to just let it go when people didn’t come over.

If they had a child with them, I would offer to let them make a craft, but I would engage the adult. This produced a lot of sales and I no longer flopped at events.

If you are shy, like me, it can be hard to learn the skills necessary to make a sale. But, here are 4 tips that should definitely help you.

Tip #1 stand-up. This puts you at eye level and people are more likely to interact with you.

Tip #2 talk to people as they walk by. It doesn’t have to be overly aggressive, but just a nice “hello” will do as if you are making a friend for the first time.

Tip #3 introduce yourself, tell them you are the author of these books, and begin telling them about your books. More often than not, people will listen politely. If the books pique their interest, great, and if not, that’s okay. You’ve done your best to connect with them. Who knows? They may know someone who would be interested in your books and tell them about you.

Tip #4 always stay positive. This is hard to do, but believe in yourself and your books. You love your book, otherwise you wouldn’t have put all the time and effort into writing it and publishing it.

Go on out there to an in-person event and by following these simple tips, you’ll be a success and not a flop!

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 and follow her on Facebook at


Karen Cioffi said...

Wanda, thanks for the tips on creating successful book events. Engaging with people is definitely the way to go!

Unknown said...

Thank You, Wanda, so much for your excellent article. We exhibited our books at the Cocoa Village Arts & Craft Fair in the last three annual events and I can agree with you one hundred percent that engaging your customers on an eye level is the tip to use. One of our guys was the most prolific as he stood up all of the time, (there are six of us in our group and we divide the time, three authors per one day, Sat/Sun).
He sold most of the books, but it also depends on the type of crowd that comes to the craft fair. The book lovers, nowadays, are few.
Thanks again, I'll see you at the Authors For Authors Convention when we interview the speakers.

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