Events and Signings (Including Virtual Events)

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Introduction to events

We encourage all our authors to hold bookstore signings, workshops, talks and conferences, virtual or in-person. They are excellent ways to meet readers and launch books. Some of our authors get regular sales and exposure for their book/s for many months/years after publication, through events at shops, schools, etc.

We don't organize events. If we are contacted by an event organizer we will then pass on the organizer's email address to you.

In light of the current Coronavirus situation, it may be temporarily impossible for you to hold an in-person event. If so, please consider holding a virtual event instead.

Tips for all events

  • You can start organizing events as soon as your publication date is set.
  • It is advisable to organize an event close to or after the publication date so that books can be purchased. We won't have printed stock available to a month prior.
  • Your event is there to sell your book, so encourage attendees to buy your book, digitally if you are virtual, or by selling copies if you are in-person.
  • Our US and UK distributors can offer your attendees your book(s) at a discount (20% is normal) to readers. This is known as a “discount code”. It can last for a specified amount of time, particularly if you are doing several talks/events/conferences. Typically, we have organized codes to run for 6 months. Promotions must be set up by JHP. If you would like to run a promotion, please post your request in the the Help forum under Sales & Distribution/Other queries. And make sure to add this promotion to your Marketing Activities and to share with JHP on the FB closed author group. Read Chapter 16: Ordering, for more info.

Tips on holding a virtual launch event

  • Keep it short and sweet. People have virtual meeting fatigue. We say no longer than one hour.
  • Divide your event in short contrasting segments of no longer than ten minutes. This give variety and stops people switching off.
  • Use guest speakers to talk and interview you.
  • Read from your book.
  • Make it multimedia. If you have a book trailer, play it. Think how you could use music or video to enhance the talk.
  • Invite the audience to ask questions.
  • Use a service like Eventbrite to manage your invitations.
  • Encourage attendees to pre-order or buy your book!
  • Advertise your event via email and your social media networks.

Platforms for virtual events

Tips on holding an in-person launch event

Booksellers and event organizers are keener than ever to invite authors to participate in promoting and selling their books. Bookstores are more interested in you than us – and usually want to deal with the you directly, so pop in and tell them you'd like to hold an event and see what they say.

We would advise that you take your book along to your local library and talk with the librarians, and see what opportunities they have. Libraries, like most of the public sector, are cash strapped. They will not buy a book from you directly if you walk in with one, as they have proper acquisition channels to go through. However, they may have opportunities for talks to your local community.

How to add your event to your Marketing page

If you arrange a book event or any other publicity regarding your book:

  • Alert us to it by adding it as Arranged in your book's Marketing Activities .
  • Leave a message on the Author Forum under Sales/Distribution: Sales to the trade and our Sales Coordinator will alert the relevant sales rep(s) who can contact the event venue or bookshop buyer.
  • Click + add activities.
  • In Activity Type, select Event/Signing.
  • Select the date for Arranged if you have set up the event for the future.
  • Date completed if you have done the event, and supply a link in the Notes section if you have one.
  • Feedback on your event in Contact Notes.
  • Search for your title.
  • Save.

When an event is completed and there is a link available, your publicist will get a notification and can highlight this event on social media.

Tips from our authors

  • "It is only big names that draw the crowds; keep promoting yourself on radio and in magazines and your name will grow."
  • "Ask if you can sign author copies (the larger chains usually do that as a matter of course) and you will sell more."
  • “Do a talk instead of just a signing, move about and don’t just sit at a table.”
  • “Some people will come up to you, but it is incumbent upon you to initiate contact most of the time!”
  • "Location, sitting at the front of the store, helps. You have to greet and say "hi" to everyone coming and going."
  • "Work with a specialized rather than general store, especially if they have a dedicated client base. They will market the event which increases the chances for sales."
  • “Hand out flyers, bookmarks, any kind of bag stuffers.”
  • “Have the book close by you, for sale, hold it when you talk about it.”
  • “At the beginning of a talk, poll people to find out what bought them there, or what they hope to learn. See if you can solve their problems.”
  • “Make friends with the bookshop people, get to know them.”
  • "Track the stores in the website in your area, see which titles have been launched there, contact the authors privately through the forum and ask how they got on."
  • “It doesn’t have to be a bookshop, could be anywhere different.”
  • “Show up early, hand out flyers and talk it up.”
  • "Just keep plugging away, and throw away all your expectations."
  • "Check if they supply chairs. Most people are happy to stand for a short talk, but it is helpful to have some for the elderly/infirm."
  • “Buy yourself a table-top easel. It is great to show-off your book in an upright position!”
  • “Place a nice good horizontal pile of your books next to that (you can fan them out if you want to be arty!)”
  • “Get yourself some bookmarks printed… Try www.thebookmarkshop.com/promotional.htm.”
  • “The main value of some events is in the contacts you can make rather than direct sales. Have a couple of extra chairs for conversations.”
  • “At book expos, walk the floor, have postcards of the book handy, give them out to booksellers (denominated by color of badge) and encourage them to come to your table for a signing event for a free copy.”
  • “It is easier and more productive if you can join forces with one or more authors in your area, post on the Author Facebook Group or on the HELP/Marketing & Publicity Forum.

Case studies

Nick David, author of Birds of the Nile, is an author based in York (Northern England, UK). Nick began his "event" marketing with the writing group he was involved in. A first-time author, he set up readings with his local writing group and others in the area. From there he proposed talks to writing groups along the lines of “How travel broadens the literary mind” and whilst there he could promote his book Birds of the Nile set in Egypt. At another he discussed “his writing journey”. Nick also contacted his local libraries and local book festivals. In all, during publication of his first book in 2014/2015 Nick took part in seven book festivals in the North of England. He then moved onto bookstores and did a tour of local W H Smith and Waterstones Stores in the York area. Typically, he sold around 20 copies of his book at each signing. By doing lots of events he got himself known as a local author. These events helped the sales of his first book. With the publication of his second book in 2015, Nick repeated his book tore event/signings, doing a tour of 13 bookstores during the Summer 2015. Sales of the second book were much improved on the sales of the first.

Donna Bryson, author of, Home of the Brave (publication Jan 2018), emailed her local Denver (USA) Library to ask if they would purchase her book. This is their reply. The Denver Public Library is excited to be purchasing your book! We would love to explore the possibility of an author event at the Park Hill Branch of the Denver Public Library as well. We have had the most success with author events on Saturdays at 2:30pm. We book events pretty far in advance. We are especially excited to promote your book on Random Acts of Kindness Day on Saturday, February 17 at 2:30pm.To book in February, we would need the description of the event and details finalized within a month or so. If you would like more dates, I can provide more dates and even look into weekday evenings, if that is your preference. We are located at 4705 Montview Blvd at the corner of Montview and Dexter, not to far from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Expected audience can vary. Sometimes weather issues arise and it is either simply too nice or too yucky out. I would say, with your topic and expertise, I wouldn't expect any less than 20 to attend. We will promote in print with the Engage brochure, our branch brochure, flyers in the branch and community and on social media. If you would like to sell books at the event, we would love that. Our boundary is that we are unable to assist with the transactions of book sales. Are you able to bring someone with you to help with book sales? We are not equipped to provide book sales. We are happy to facilitate book sales by setting up a table, etc. We provide light refreshments. We have had many successful author events in the past. I feel that your book would be immensely popular with my community.

Photos

Above: Peter Bartram launching Headline Murder (JHP Roundfire Books imprint) at City Books, Hove.