Tag Archives: Literary Publicity

Events: Thinking Outside the Bookstore

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

Bookstores seem like obvious, ideal places to hold a book signing. While they seem obvious, they may not be ideal for your book. Bookstores contain thousands of titles on a multitude of topics. Where does your book fit into their shelves? And I mean fit in, tuck away, go virtually unnoticed among the myriad titles and non-book items stores now carry. Sometimes you need to think outside of the store. Literally, outside.

Have you written a gluten-free cookbook? Or a history of agriculture in your county? If so, consider setting up a booth at your local farmers’ market and conduct a signing there. Is your book about WWII? Consider setting up at your local VFW or during a Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day event.  Perhaps your book is about equine or large animal care? Then maybe a table at your state fair is the place for you.  Fantasy or SciFi book? Check out gaming stores, gatherings and conventions.

When looking to promote and sell your book through signings, get out a pen and paper, start brainstorming and consider the following:

Niche & Genre:  Let’s say your book is a gluten-free cookbook. Clearly, it falls under the Cookbook category, but couldn’t it also fall under Health & Fitness, Education, Family & Relationships and Medical? When you expand your book’s subjects, you expand your opportunities.

Know your audience and their habits:  Using the same book, think of who your audience is.  Those with Celiac and their families are potential readers, and beyond that, think nurses, nutritionists, health food store owners, chefs, and the list goes on.  After identifying your audience consider their hangouts – health food stores, hospitals, restaurants.

Search creatively:  Armed with your book’s subjects and audience, you’re ready to get creative. Start with Google. Enter your key words and search. I typed “gluten-free” and “recipes” and “Indianapolis” and over 100,000 results popped-up. Some aren’t helpful, but many are.  I found a local TV station’s site which has a community events tab.  There I found an upcoming food event where I could hold a book signing. Beyond the Google search, check your local hospital, parks dept, community newspapers, neighborhood associations and chamber of commerce sites and find out about upcoming events.

When you think outside of the bookstore, you step into a world of opportunity. Widen your subject,  go to where your audience is and watch your sales grow.