Sunday, August 24, 2008

Presentation Is Everything
By Debra Owsley

As the owner of Simply Said, I provide unique reading accessories for authors and readers. Attending a wide range of literary events satisfies my reading and professional needs.

The social aspect of the gatherings allows me to acquaint myself with the presenters and attendees. Foremost it allows me to look at things from two perspectives:

* Taking inventory of what products are being presented.
* Accessing what has been done and what should not have been done

Before you attend your next event ask yourself this question -- what’s going to make YOU stand out at a book event?

Here’s my two cents…

Atmosphere is everything – Decorate your space!!!

If you are a romance author, bring some romance with you and create an ambiance!

If I were an author I would have a suitcase filled with props and tools to make my signing table or booth EXTRAORDINARY.

Have a “Go” bag that is always ready with the tools you will need to make your space “POP”, and mind you, P.O.P. also stands for Point Of Purchase, which is what you are after.

* Use bright and attractive colors, they draw the eyes to you
* Tablecloths
* Posters
* Have a banner
* Have bookmarks and postcards***
* Stack your books attractively
* Use plate stands to stand them up
* Have CD’s and samplers of your book as giveaways
* Show your trailers or slide shows, add theme music, and add a pod cast on your laptop
or a portable DVD player
* Invest in gifts for those book clubs you want to woo and place them into pretty baskets
If you are shy, the props and setups will help draw people to you.

When I attend book events, I try to have a theme, or find out what the event theme is so that everything pulls together. The goal is to stand out, be remembered and have your information retained.


*The object of the game is to draw people in -- MADE YOU LOOK!
Once you get their attention make your pitch

I have seen many authors do this and they sell more than those who just point to them or hold
it themselves. Remember that you are marketing yourself as well as your book.


This is the length of most people’s attention span, especially if you are at a book festival

Have them sign your guest book. This builds your mailing list. Send thank you notes thanking for coming and mentioning any upcoming events


You're still a little shy, and you want to get the discussion started, or they are a little up tight because they are a little nervous. Hmmmmm, what’s an author to do????

Play a game of Charades about your book or create some type of interactive game. These activities break the ice and allow your guest to win a prize. Something personalized with your contact information is a great giveaway.


When you visit my site: you can view the slide show ‘DON’T END UP HERE’. It will show you where most of your postcards and bookmarks end up.

This slide show represents the end of every book festival I have ever attended.

Now let me very clear, some venues are appropriate for the bookmarks that you spend $100.00 for 5000 bookmarks. They are appropriate for browsers stopping by to see what you have as a giveaway. BUT, my experience has been that they are bent and worn before I get home, if they get home.

When you meet that publisher, editor, or book club group that you really want to make an impression on, and for them to remember you, do you really want to give them a bookmark that will not be in the best shape when they get home? Do you want to hand them yet ANOTHER 5000 type bookmark that everyone else has?

You want to give something that will make them want to hold on to your information; that is a great representation of you investing in yourself, and that displays your uniqueness.

What about your more intimate venues where you also want to leave a thank you gift as well as a promo tool?

As I mentioned earlier you need to stand out, be remembered and most of all, you want to have your contact information retained. Pause and think! Be creative.


* What does your BRAND say about you?
* What do you want to be most remembered by?
* What is your signature?
* What’s going to make YOU stand out in a sea of other authors?
* What do you do different?

All of your promotional materials should have
* Your name
* Book cover
* Contact information
* A tag line or a phase

If space permits
* Current and up-coming releases
* Past works
* Tour schedule
* All of your books
* Your picture

As I close I want you to remember:

* What not to do to blend in
* What you need to create a buzz and a memory
* You do not want to disappear in a sea of fellow authors
* What to do in order to POP
* Not to expect the people to come to you, you must draw them to you
* You are marketing yourself as well as your book
* Your “GO” bag should always have the tools you need
* You want to be retained
* You want people to follow up
* You want your BRAND to be recognized
* You want your presentation to be unique
* You want to be EXTRAORDINARY

DEBRA OWSLEY is the owner of SIMPLY SAID™. The company offers handmade, personalized, bookmarks, book thongs, and love notes. I would love to personalize some of these items just for you. They are great gifts for fans, giveaways, book signings, promotional events, contests on your website and press kits.

Visit her on the web at:
Call her at: 954 562-5709
Debra Owsley -- For Authors, Book Stores, Book lovers


Ty said...

Ah man! That's a shame. You know a lot of events are like that where materials end up on the floor instead of going home with folks.

You have some great ideas on branding and getting yourself from behind the table to talk with fans.
I like the idea of using multimedia - show off your book trailer with music, etc.

What type of materials would you suggest an author bring to these larger venues instead of bookmarks and postcards?

Anonymous said...

I do recommend bringing post cards and bookmarks.... BUT do realize they may not make them home. Try having some made that are unusal in shape. Maybe offer key rings, or something that people tend to hold on to, such has fans because it gets quite warm at outdoor venues.Of course have all of your contact information on what ever you choose to use. Have them sign your guest book and make notes, you may want to send some people a something extra, after the event like a book thong! What have you used as giveaways and promotional tools?

Linda Beed said...

Can you give an example of an interactive game an author might use?


Anonymous said...

Have book clubs act out their favorite scenes in your book!It "loosens" up the group and will make each other laugh. It will be easier for the others to follow suit too. It's helpful if you, the author, start the "role play" first. This also will open the dialog of discussing their views and takes on the characters in the story. To make it even more interesting, the person who did the best job gets a prize!!!

Anonymous said...

How do you figure out what type of promotional items will work best for you?


Anonymous said...

What does you book say? What is your theme? What do you want you readers to remember the most about you and your book? That's how I would go about choosing the right promotional items. As you know I create custom bookmarks for authors. I always have the author tell me what they want to get across to their fans. Each author or poet has their own vision, of what they see. I then take what was told to me and create the vision. It also depends on venues. One of the authors I work with, chooses a different "LOOK" for every event she attends to stay"FRESH". If the event has a theme, build around their theme, but make it your own. Most authors want cost effective, unique, and retainable promo material. So keep that in mind which ever you choose.

Anonymous said...

Can you explain more about branding? Does your brand come from the theme of your book? If it does, does that mean that your brand changes with each book you write?


Shelia E. Lipsey said...

Thanks for this valuable information. The ideas you share are truly simple things like you said but I never thought of doing things like this. My new book, My Son's Wife is being releasedin October 08 and I am going to use many of your ideas, especially the trailer idea.

Anonymous said...

Branding can be many things. Yes, if very well could change from book to book, especially if you write in more than one genre. It can also be you, yourself as a author of.... Beverly Jenkins BRAND is Historical Romance, as well as a Romance author. She has 2 Brands. There are many authors who write main stream fiction as well as erotica,they write under a psedonym, and therefore also have 2 Brands. If you are a Christian romance author you can Brand yourself as that, but again what makes your Brand stick out? Your Brand is something unique to you. Do you have a specific theme you like to use? That very well be your brand. Branding is what makes people identify you with.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Shelia !!!
Looking forward to your new release

LaShaunda said...


Excellent post. I know the bookmarks I got from you people kept and even asked where I got them.

You want to make an impression with readers, one that's good and will stay in their minds.

Anonymous said...

LaShaunda as you know I adore you and what you do. The people you mailed my products to, as gifts for the holidays brought a lot of attention!!! and I thank you for that. I truly strive to make you order memberable. Creating a Brand and a Buzz for us both. Making you look good, makes me look good. And you've been in this business for a while,it make be feel good that you chose me to do your holiday promo, and the feed back was truly incredable.

Jeanette Hill said...

Thanks for this presentation. I too have had problems understanding the concept of branding. I'm trying to take the provided to help authors with marketing and transfer it to my plays. Do you have any suggestions?

Jeanette Hill

Anonymous said...

When I think about Branding, I think about logo's. It was makes people think of you when they see the logo or image, or something simlar to you and your product. Think about Coke, when I say I want a coke to me I see Coco-A-Cola, or maybe you see Pepsi. Do you say Coke or Pepsi? If you say Pepsi, more than likely, you drink Pespi. If I go to a dinner and ask for a Coke, they usually respond ok or we only have Pepsi. It's name amd logo recognition.Thats what Branding is.