Tag Archives: events

Some Tips for Planning Book Events

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Some Tips for Planning Book Events

I have set up a number of my own book signing and marketing events. Here are a few things I have learned that you might try. Most of my events occur outside, so some of these suggestions may not be appropriate for all venues.

l. Buy brightly colored balloons to display outside the event. These create movement and draws attention to the event.

2. I usually have a paper craft available to do at the event. These are something simple that might appeal to all ages, especially children.

3. Don’t rely on the venue to do all the publicity. It is important for the author to do some of their own. Your own news releases, flyers, emails and other forms of publicity will help get the word out about the event. People sometimes need to see the publicity in several places for them to remember.

4. Have a raffle.  People like to turn out at events if they see that they might win a prize. I usually give away one of my children’s books. I have people put their name and phone number on a ticket and ask the store to call the winner a day later to come pick up the prize. That way the prize winner will return to the venue and maybe purchase another book.

5. Have the event in a location where there is likely to be a captive audience. I recently did a signing and demonstration at the Gallery at the Network in downtown San Luis Obispo during Art After Dark, an event the first Friday of each month.  There were plenty of people walking downtown visiting various shops and galleries which meant a good flow of traffic.

6. At some locations, I might have a small grouping of chairs for readings if the venue lends itself to such a grouping.

7. Food is important. For a children’s book event at Whiz Kids Toy Store, we had popcorn, appealing to kids and adults alike.  Food helps to create a festive atmosphere. Even if I am on the street, I have a bowl of candy or cookies.

8. Have an inviting display. At my own events, I usually have stuffed animals on my table, my books in a display rack, a bright table cloth and colorful signs and banners. I like to engage people in conversation as much as possible. I have brochures, business cards, bookmarks, newsletter copies and a clipboard to gather email addresses on your table.

9. If on the street, remain standing and talk to people. Don’t sit at the table and look bored. Be lively and engage potential buyers in conversation.

Now it is your turn. Please share your suggestions about what works or doesn’t work for you at your events.

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Working with Kids at Children’s Events

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I spent the last couple Saturdays showing young children how to make accordion books at the Mini Maker Faire in San Luis Obispo and at the Paso Robles’s ArtFest. It was a delight to be working with these young kids and talking with their parents. Give them a piece of paper and a crayon and kids jump right into the creative process. Many of the children stayed for fifteen or more minutes working on their books, even the younger ones. They were focused and intent on their creations.Image

I loved to see how their minds work, their choice of colors, their choice of topics and how they approach the creative process. Some took our butterfly and heart stamp outs and put them all over their books, others wrote a story and drew illustrations, and two young girls decided to copy a page from one of my books with their own art work. Each child approached their project in their own unique way with many creative results.

I also find that watching children’s at work helps me develop my stories, illustrations and marketing ideas. What are their interests? How does each age group relate to my books? How do they and their parents respond to my book display and the covers? Which books do they pick up first? Do they read the book through or thumb through the illustrations? If I give them a brief summary of the story, are they more likely to buy the book? What questions do they ask? Will they pick up my brochure and business cards? Are they willing to sign an email list?

They were both long days, but well worth the experience. I sold some of my books, talked to a couple of parents and teachers about school visits, passed out flyers for my upcoming classes at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles and gave out flyers listing where my books can be purchased.

Most of all, it was enjoyable relating to my young audience and their parents.

November Events

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November Events.I will be participating in the following events in November:

    November 2 – Butterfly Sanctuary in Pismo Beach from 10 to 2. I’ll be demonstrating and teaching folding accordion books to be used by children to draw and write information about Monarch butterflies.

    November 9 – At the Curious Cup Bookstore in Carpinteria, I’ll be participating in their grand opening at their new location at 5285 Carpinteria Ave from 11 am to 3 pm. I will be teaching a class in accordion book folding and demonstrating. 

    November 30 – At the Curious Cup Bookstore, I’l be participating in their book sale event. Hours to be announced.

    Drop by either location and say Hi.  Beryl

Meeting my Readers

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For all of us who write books, it is always a delight to meet our audience whether they are adults, teens or children. To be able to see what books or stories appeal to them, which covers they reach for or what questions they may have about our process, makes us better at our craft.

I had such an opportunity this past weekend at a Mini Maker Faire in San Luis Obispo’s Mission Plaza. Organized by the local Art Museum, this faire was based on other such events around the country. The Plaza was lined with booths and tables where various tinkers, innovators, and others demonstrated. This was billed as a family event, the day was sunny and the turnout was brisk.

While it was not a sales event per se, I believe any event where my name is out in the public as an author and illustrator of children’s stories is worth my time and effort. I demonstrated and taught children and adults how to make accordion book forms. I had my books available for viewing and of course, my usual pile of stuffed animals along with my banner, brochures, business cards, an email sign up list and a list of where my books can be purchased in the immediate area, etc.

Here are some highlights: I met one woman who was going to Bulgaria for the summer to work at a camp for gipsy children. She was interested in the folded book form to teach the children. One woman wanted to write and publish children stories, and we talked about the process. Teachers came by to see what I was doing and possibly use my folded form in their classes. A fellow from the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum wanted to know if I would demonstrate at his event in July. Of course, the biggest highlight was the many children and their parents.  One child wanted to take my stuffed frog home; I said he could play with it instead. Another little girl, I had met at an event in the library some months ago came by with her parents.  I remembered her because she was a very focused five-year-old, intent on writing her own story. Her parents remembered me as well.

Many of the parents and children looked at my books and asked where they could be purchased. Many said they had seen my books in local stores. It would have been nice to sell my books on the spot, but hopefully the day will result in later sales. I did give them my list of local places that have my stories. And, of course, I am delighted to hear positive feedback.

I talked about my two upcoming books from Oak Tree Press, “Butterfly Girls” and “When Caterpillars Dream” and acquired an email list of possible future sales. One woman was especially interested in “Butterfly Girls” because her granddaughter has a birthday coming up and loves butterflies. Another fellow who helps purchase books for the Natural History Museum in Morro Bay and the Butterfly Sanctuary was interested in these as well. But I had already been in touch with the Museum and Sanctuary about these books and will follow up when they are published

 ImageI have a similar opportunity in two weeks; this time at the Paso Robles Arts Festival. Again, no direct sales possible but an opportunity to meet my public and interact with my potential readers, children and the people who buy their books, their parents, grandparents and teachers.   Besides I delight in talking with these children and their parents about stories and above all encouraging them to read, read, read. I guess we never stop being an educator in one guise or another.

Passport to the Arts

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Last Saturday ArtsObispo sponsored Passport to the Arts for families. Designed to have children and their parents become involved in the arts in San Luis Obispo, California, the program directed them to various events downtown.

I was at the local library showing children how to fold various book forms and encouraging them to write and illustrate their own stories. I was delighted that a number of enthusiastic children and parents attended. We folded several accordion books forms and talked about where story ideas come from. I encouraged parents to immortalize their children’s stories by copying, self-publishing and other means. I hope the City and art community has another such event next year, and I encourage other cities to do the same. Beryl