Dos and don’ts for a successful bookstore event

Scheduling an event:

Do. . .

    • Plan ahead. Most bookstores plan their event schedules 2–3 months in advance (and they want to promote your book during the release period – within 3 months of publication).
    • Find out the name of the person in charge of events and contact them by email.
    • In your email, provide a short author bio, cover jpg (if you have it), and link to your website.
    • Have an idea when you want to the event to be held, but be flexible. The most popular months are March/April/May and September/October, so competition is stiffer during these months.

Do NOT. . .

    • Send the bookstore a link to your book’s Amazon page!!
    • Tell people during the event about your

What criteria does the bookstore use for deciding whether to book you:

    • Does the book make sense?
    • Are there typos?
    • Is the author’s name and title on the spine?
    • Are comparisons offered. . . such as “this is the next J.K. Rowling”
    • Will the author’s event attract an audience?
    • Is there a local connection?
    • Is this an underrepresented voice?
    • What is the availability of the book?
    • How does the event fit into the schedule?
    • Praise from booksellers is influential, as well as praise from other authors


How to make your event successful

Do . . .

    • Promote your event heavily! Get in touch with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc.
    • Encourage people to come – and to buy the book at your event.
    • Plan your presentation. . . these are “author events,” not just readings.
    • Go beyond the book. . . include visuals of the place your book is set, information about your writing process, challenges the book presented. . . you can talk about “anything” but your presentation should be about more than what’s on the page.
    • Be sure to inform the bookstore if you need special support/equipment.

Don’t . . .

    • Bring food and drink without asking first.
    • Bring giveaways that encourage people to buy the book ELSEWHERE.
    • Create clean-up issues (no confetti!)

At Third Place Books, contact Sam Kaas to request an event.


Thanks to Sam Kaas at Third Place Books for his input on this list.

One thought on “Dos and don’ts for a successful bookstore event

  1. Pingback: Recap: Inside the book business with Sam Kaas – Puget Sound Sisters in Crime

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