Saturday, August 4, 2012

How to Plan Author Events that Rock

Every now and then I like to feature other perspectives on my blog. Today is one of those days. Have you ever had to plan event for your team, workplace or a non profit organization that you volunteer with?  What about pull a fundraiser together for your children's soccer team (at the last minute). How about help your friend who is hosting an event for their company? 

Planning successful events has both a science and art component to it.  From my experience exhibiting and speaking at events around the globe, I know that creativity, a purpose, passion and planning are part of that science and art mix.  Today my friend Sheri Fink shares her tips about planning events for fun and profit.  Thanks Sheri for being my guest blog!

A Best-selling Children’s Author Shares Strategies to Plan Author Events for Fun and Profit

By Sheri Fink

I just got back from one of the most beautiful and amazing weeks of my life. I did a Book Tour in my hometown and enjoyed reading my books, The Little Rose and The Little Gnome, and empowering children to pursue their dreams. I write books that inspire and delight children while planting seeds of self-esteem and I love speaking and sharing my stories.

It was a busy week in which I visited several schools, spoke to over 2,000 kids, had an author visit with local Girl Scouts, hosted a pajama party at the library, and was interviewed for print and TV. It was a dream come true! If you are an author or aspiring author who dreams of doing something like this yourself, here are some strategies that can help.

There are many reasons to do author events such as school visits, speaking engagements, paid appearances, etc. Here are a few of the top reasons you may want to consider doing an author event:

1. To get paid for your visit, speech, advice, and/or appearance

2. To sell more books in person at the event

3. To build your email list and Fan base

4. To meet new customers who can buy from you again in the future

5. To get positive publicity for your books

6. To connect with your readers

7. To get photos and testimonials for your author website

8. To have fun!

The most important thing to remember when doing an author event is to take care of as much as you can in advance so that you can be completely present and attentive to your Fans. There are several things you can do in the planning process to make event day run smoothly:

1. Recruit a team to help you at events. Do you know anyone in the area? Can you enlist the help of friends, family members, or interns? Tell them exactly how they can support you on event day and give them whatever tools will be needed.

2. Send book pre-order forms in advance of your visit (when appropriate). Set a date to receive the orders. Sign and personalize all of the pre-ordered books a week or so before your appearance. Bring or ship the books to arrive the day of the event.

3. Provide written content (such as your bio, blurbs about your books, and reviews), images (your picture and your book covers), posters, etc. to enable the venue to easily promote your upcoming appearance.

4. Map out your venues so you know exactly where to be, when to be there, and how to get there.

5. Plan your schedule to have breaks between events so you can refuel your energy.

6. Provide a list of any equipment, special set-ups, tables, chairs, etc. that you need prior to the event. Ask if the venue can provide a microphone, a screen and projector, etc. if you know you will need them.

7. Always add value. Do you have additional resources that may be helpful to the venue? For example, if you’re speaking to a school, do you have lesson plans, coloring pages, discussion questions, etc. based on your book? Send them so they can be shared with the teachers and kids.

8. If you’re not sure about something, ASK. Some venues have rules that are unique. For example, some schools have sensitivity around photos being taken. Get clarification upfront so you know what to expect on event day and can make it a positive experience for everyone.

9. Reach out to the local media in the area you’ll be visiting and invite them to the events prior to your visit.

10. Promote your upcoming appearances on Facebook, Twitter, your websites, your email newsletters, etc. Fans love to know what you’re up to and to visit you when you’re in their local areas.

A huge part of my success has been from enlisting the help and support of others to accomplish my mission. At the Book Tour events, I had a wonderful team of three people who were carrying the cases of books, running the laptop, playing the introduction video, advancing the PowerPoint slides, setting up my table, making sure I had water and snacks, and taking care of purchases. This enabled me to completely focus on sharing my stories and inspiring the audience. When families brought their books to my signing table, I could talk with them, sign their books, and take pictures without worrying about everything else being done.

On event day, be sure to thank everyone who helped make the event possible as well as each of your Fans who took the time to come see you. Practice your readings and speeches and trust that the right words will come at the right time. Make it an extra special experience and memorable experience for your Fans. Have fun and just be yourself…that’s who everyone has come to see!

Happy Travels!



Sheri Fink is a #1 best-selling children’s author and an international speaker. Sheri’s first children’s book, The Little Rose, is an enchanting story about a rose growing in a weedbed who learns to accept and love herself despite her differences. Published in March 2011, The Little Rose has been a #1 best-seller on Amazon for over 45 weeks and is being adapted into a play. Her second inspirational children’s book, The Little Gnome, helps children learn to look for the good in change and debuted at #1 on the Amazon best-seller list in March 2012.

In 2011, Sheri was selected as one of the top “50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading.” She is featured in several inspirational non-fiction books, including two international best-sellers, Self-Esteem Doesn’t Come in a Bottle by Kelly Falardeau, and Dare to Dream: This Life Counts by Debbi Dachinger. Sheri is a proud supporter of organizations that make a difference in the lives of children, especially Reading Is Fundamental and the Girl Scouts of America.

To discover more about Sheri and her books, connect on Facebook at and explore




  1. Charmaine,
    thanks for posting this as it is a great reference tool.

    I enjoy looking for new ways, reasons and opportunities as well for my events. It inspires me to do more events.

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed the article and found it helpful, Shelley! Thanks for commenting!

  3. What a great source of info. I actually looked this up a few months ago and did not find anything with as much info. Having help I think is a huge one. I know I always forget to bring an extra person to events.
    Thanks for the share :)

  4. Very useful info and applicable for different event ideas I have brewing in my mind! Those books sounds great. I'll have to bookmark these pages...great Christmas gift ideas for my niece and nephews.

  5. Always love, love, love, any helpful tips for planning events!


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