1) Create a marketing plan for you book that explains your target audience and lists places you can have events that will reach those people.
I suggest using Jennifer Fusco’s Market or Die series. Read all three of the ebooks. Especially the Market or Die: Integrated Marketing Plan Advice for Writers.
2) Once you have a list of venues and associations to target, reach out to them.
I prefer email, but some places you have to call. Make sure you have something prepared to say–a pitch if you will.
Have a press release ready to send them.
Focus on your strengths and explain how they will benefit from the event. Offer a free workshop with Powerpoint or an intimate author talk and reading.
For workshops, I wrote up a paragraph description of 8 different workshops I would create based on demand. Have that ready to give to venues.
You should reach out months in advance. Some conventions/conferences/book festivals require you to reach out a year ahead of time. And there may be forms to fill out. So make sure you start reaching out at least 6 months before your launch date.
3) Keep track of every interaction in an Excel spreadsheet.
That way it’s easier to follow up. I’ve reached out to 200+ venues and organizations in the last year. Impossible to keep track of everything unless I log it in. I also log when I need to follow up or when they are waiting on something from me. It keeps me on track.
4) There will be lots of follow up via email–working out all the details of dates, times, topics of workshops, setting up, technology, and how you both will promote the event.
Be prepared for 10-20 hours of planning and interaction. Try to create a question list ahead of time and hit them with it once. Can you bring refreshments? Can you sell books? Do they charge for the space? Is there a laptop and projector available, etc.
4) Make sure to compile a contact list of possible attendees.
I built mine from my personal contacts, my FB contacts, and people who signed up for updates at previous events and on my website.
5) Promote the event on FB, Goodreads, your blog, and email your contact list as appropriate.
If you have time to write personal emails, do so–they get the highest response.
6) Sometimes you get lucky and venues reach out to you because they see/hear you are doing events.
If anyone asks you to do an event, do it! These are much easier to do than cold calling venues. You don’t have to convince them of anything, they are already on board.
7) If you are selling books at the event, check the state’s rules on sales tax collection.
Sometimes you have to sign up ahead of time for a permit to collect sales tax at the city, county, and/or state level. Other states allow one time sales without a permit as long as you collect and send them payment in 20 days.
8) Be gracious and thankful to the venue for sharing their space and making the event possible.
Be on time, be professional, and be helpful.