What Makes A Wonderful Author Event?

Having great weather is essential for an outdoor event. It was sunny and 80s on Saturday for the Cheshire Strawberry Festival.

Planning ahead is the next best thing. All the books were in waterproof suitcases and bags. We positioned the table half a foot from the edge of the tent, just in cast rain tried to surprise us.

Having a booth buddy to work the event with me makes all the difference in the world. Rejection is tough. When you work a booth, you have to hand sell the books to every single person with the same enthusiasm as you did the first person that day. We literally pitch the books hundreds of times. Mom and I keep each other’s spirit up, take turns watching the cash box during bathroom breaks, and made sales all day.

Working with amazing organizers. Seriously, this was the best run event I’ve ever participated in. The First Congregational Church of Cheshire made this a dream day.

The second you pulled into the event area, people directed you to the proper check-in area. Then you were told where to go for your booth.

Each car was able to pull up right next to their booth to unload. And guess what? Boy Scouts helped you unload and set up your tent for you! What normally took Mom and me an hour to do, they did in 10 minutes. It was amazing.

Throughout the day, volunteers checked in to see how things were going and to get feedback. They even give their vendors $10 of coupons for food and drinks.

The event was held beside this beautiful national historic place and we were allowed to use the church’s restrooms instead of port-o-lets. That’s a big serving of kindness when you’re working an event for 7 hours.

The people were so friendly. Even when someone wasn’t interested in a book, the person was polite. That’s rare. I’ve worked events where you ask if someone likes to read and they look at you like you offered them a cold virus.

We sold lots of books and met lots of amazing people.

I left there in high spirits, feeling like the day was a huge success for me!

What makes a great author event for you? Or what do you wish authors would do when you go to their book signings?



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15 Responses to What Makes A Wonderful Author Event?

  1. This does sound like a dream of an event for you Kourtney, though it must be hard work doing that selling all day long!

    • Kourtney says:

      Sorry for the late reply. You got sent into the spam box, but I rescued you! It’s very tiring work. Especially for an introvert. But selling is a part of being an author so I gather my energy and I send it out to others. 🙂

  2. A strawberry festival – ahhh, the strawberry smells in the air. (Looks like a fun time!)

    • Kourtney says:

      They had a band the entire time playing great music. I didn’t see all the events because I had to man my booth, but there were games and food. Strawberry Shortcake of course! 😉

  3. It sounds like a lovely event and I’m glad the weather held! I love your observation that “I’ve worked events where you ask if someone likes to read and they look at you like you offered them a cold virus.” I have had that response as well. It’s truly baffling! Why would someone come to a book event if they don’t like to read? Although I usually ask “What do you like to read?” so maybe they feel like I’m putting them on the spot.

    • Kourtney says:

      Thanks. Me too. I hesitate to do outdoor events because the weather can be so unpredictable, but this one seemed like a great location and time of year. Doesn’t matter if I’m at a book fair or a craft fair, people still seem to either love or despise reading. Mom and I try different hooks. She’ll tell someone “You look like a reader.” Sometimes they are and they come talk. They might not buy the book, but they sign up for the mailing list. It really helps to have a greeter to talk to people and warm them up before I talk to them. She helps weed out the interested from the uninterested. And sometimes she shifts someone toward interested.

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    So glad it went well for you! Seems like you have a lot of those types of festivals near you. Wish we had more. The craft shows I’ve called around here don’t allow books. Guess I’ll have to hit New England again. 🙂

    Thanks for the Twitter shares!

    • Kourtney says:

      Thanks. I had to research them. They aren’t easy to find. Then once you get connected, you hear more about them. I think they might do one in December too. 🙂 I’ll send you some info I have on a couple of them. This was my first time at this one and it was AWESOME. That’s a shame they won’t let you participate. Books are art and a craft. It also adds another artistic endeavor to the event. Sometimes craft fairs are a sea of jewelry, pottery, and hand made foods.

  5. Well, you couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather, could you? I’m so happy the festival was a success and you sold a lot of books. By the way, I received a thank you letter from the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury. Thanks for allowing me to participate, Kourtney! It sounds as though the fundraiser produced terrific results.

    • Kourtney says:

      We were so lucky. It rained an hour after we left! Thanks. Oh wonderful. They are a terrific organization. I’m so glad you could help them out!

  6. Sheila says:

    Sounds perfect – I hope you had the chance to try some strawberries! Your table looks great – that would draw me in. I haven’t done an event like this yet. So many are so expensive, but I’ll keep looking for a cheaper one. I’m glad you had sunny weather and that you were able to enjoy the outdoors!

    • Kourtney says:

      LOL. I only left the booth for bathroom breaks and water. The line was so long for strawberries. Thanks. We try to make it eye-catching. I usually spend $50-150 on a table at an event. I consider them marketing events. I grow my newsletter. And I’ve been able to turn a profit. 🙂 Local schools have lots of craft fairs–they tend to be $20-50 for a spot. The foot traffic isn’t as good, but it costs less and you still get out there.

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?