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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

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Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

What to Bring to an Author Fair
Kate Gingold Host
/ Categories: Author Tips

What to Bring to an Author Fair

While most libraries, schools, and bookstores are super hosts when they hold an author fair, you’ll be more relaxed and a better guest if you aren’t stressing over making change or having a coughing fit. Below is a list of things to pack in your Author Fair Bag that will let you be the awesome person you want your readers to remember.

  • Your books
    Well, duh.
  • Book price and tax cheat sheet
    Because it’s rough trying to do math while chatting, signing and keeping an eye on the merchandise.
  • Credit card reader
    A Square, Paypal, or other credit card reading device makes it a cinch to for readers to buy your books. They also do the math for you for cash sales and email receipts.
  • Ample change
    There is bound to be someone who won’t use a credit card.
  • Extra box of books in car
    No one wants to drag boxes of unsold books back to the car, but boy, will you be kicking yourself if you run out!
  • Several pens
    Have plenty of back ups. Practice to see what kind of pen you like best for ease of writing and a good appearance.
  • Self-sticking notes
    Ask folks to write down the name they want you to sign a book for. There are far too many variations and you won’t remember as you’re writing even if they just told you.
  • Reading glasses
    Because some of us can’t read the Square or the notes without them.
  • Business cards, Bookmarks and other Leave-Behinds
    Some folks won’t or can’t make a purchase today, but they might put your book on their Wish List or ask for it at their library. These are cheap ways to build your brand.
  • Camera or smartphone
    Get someone to take a photo of you at your table. If it can be while you’re talking with readers, even better. Also take some photos of the the rest of the fair. These will be great later on your website, in your social media and in your press releases. Extra points if you can post photos from your phone while you’re still at the fair.
  • Water bottle
    To stay hydrated when chatting up visitors to your table.
  • Mints/breath spray
    To keep those visitors chatting at your table.
  • Tissues
    To mop up spills, catch sneezes, etc.
  • Place to put dirty tissues
    Have a baggie handy. There might not be a trash can nearby and damp tissues don’t belong near your books or in your pocket.
  • Lip balm
    All that chatting and smiling is going to take its toll.
  • Fabric refresher spray
    When you’re nervous, it could be helpful.
  • Sanitary products
    When you're focussed on books, you might overlook normal planning.
  • Comb, Hairspray
    For men or women. Wind, rain, the humidity, or the lack of humidity can mess up whatever look you carefully cultivated before you left the house
  • Makeup, Small mirror
    Having the ability to make touch-ups, even if you can’t get away from your table can relieve worry.
  • Hand lotion
    Take care of your hands and nails both before and during an event. If you’re signing books, they’re looking at your hands.

You may not need all of these things at every event, but if you aren’t prepared, there will be that one horrible time that will have you cursing yourself. So just pack the bag. Knowing you’re ready for anything will give you an extra boost of confidence and that confidence shows when you’re out introducing people to your books.

Photo by Oleksandr P

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Full disclosure:  Writing for Sprocket Websites is my day job, so if you have questions about digital marketing, I'm happy to help!


Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.



Get a Book Siging Checklist and our Sprocket Report

Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

AND, since much of your efforts will be online, she'll also enroll you in her Sprocket Report, an email newsletter sent every other Tuesday, that includes 2 Internet Marketing tips and a post from a guest blogger on related business.

No worries! She won't use your email address for anything else, and you can unsubscribe from the newsletter anytime, but the checklist is yours to keep.

Any questions of Kate? Leave them in the message field and she'll get back to you ASAP.

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