Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

4 Key Elements to Having a Successful Author Event

6 min read

When authors pay attention to the finer details of an event, they not only seem professional but build relationships

Preparing for an author event can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Realistically, when preparing for an author event there are four key elements to pay attention to.

  • Presentation

  • Reader Experience

  • Building Relationships

  • Marketing

Now, depending on the venue and the circumstances surrounding your book, each element is going to vary.


As with anything else, presentation is everything.

From the clothing you wear to the way your table is presented, down to the experience you provide. When you make an inviting and easy area for readers to visit, your likelihood of a sale is higher.

Consider the following for your table:

  • A tablecloth to drape over the table

  • Having bookmarks for readers to take

  • Having a pen and paper for people to sign up for your newsletter

  • A QR code for people to scan and gain access to your website

  • A free item for readers to take

  • Bags for readers to carry their purchases

  • A clear list of your book prices and how they can pay

  • A way to display your book

  • Having business cards out

Using these tactics can help set you apart when readers are scoping out their next purchase.

Reader Experience

Readers enjoy getting to meet authors, ask them about their work, and chat about writing.

This is a great way to maximize your time with readers.

For example, you can:

  • Ask them what local bookstores they frequent

  • If they read on Amazon Kindle Unlimited

  • Ask what genre’s interest them

  • Talk about their favorite books

Starting conversations with readers can sometimes change their interests from curiosity to a sale. And you could build some unexpected relationships along the way.

In addition to this, many readers enjoy:

  • Having their book signed (so have pens ready)

  • Receiving a business card for future events

  • Taking photos with authors

  • Hearing more about you

Do you have anything related to your book that readers can take with them?

For example, for a Lancaster Native Plant & Wildlife Festival I am a vendor at the end of the month I will be selling my children’s book Dandelion.

To enhance the young reader experience I am going to:

  • Have packets of seeds with planting instructions for kids to take

  • Cardboard rectangles with a vase and holes for children to pick flowers and stick into the holes to pretend they are filling a vase

  • Have coloring sheets for readers to take with

  • Facts about Dandelions for them to learn

Making this effort for them is going to go a long way.

Building Relationships

This is something that every author should be taking advantage of, building relationships.

For example, I was able to attend an Indie Author event at the Lititz Public Library last fall. During a break at the event, I walked around to the other authors to check out their tables, take a few business cards, and make some connections with many of them. And in turn, I learned a lot from what some of them were doing to meet their audience.

Taking a step further, you want to ensure you are solidifying the relationship with the venue.

Perhaps you are doing an event at:

  • A local bookstore

  • A local library

  • A fair

  • A festival

  • Coffee shop

  • A local business that links well with your book topic

Be sure that you are making an effort to speak with the head of the venue to thank them for their time. And come prepared with a thank you note or small thank you gift for the venue.

Before, during, and after the event, be sure to post on social media tagging the venue and thanking them for hosting you.

It all makes an impact.


Just like when gearing up to publish your book, you want to market your author event before, during, and afterward.

Before the event, you have the ability to create a special event page on social media to remind readers. Be sure to tell them what to expect at the event, what time it will happen, and what you will be selling.

This is going to be key for readers who want to show up.

During the event, give updates on what’s happening. Are there readers asking you to sign books? Did you get to meet any new authors?

Consider designating a person to take photos of you during your event so you have content to post on social media throughout the time you are there.

Why afterward?

Because this is your chance to talk about how wonderful it was to meet readers. How great your venue was. And open up the door for any new announcements you may have been saving up.

Being able to have an author event is a big deal.

This is why you want to make sure you:

  • Professionally present yourself to readers and the venue

  • Ensure the reader experience is a positive one

  • Build Relationships with readers, other authors, and the venue

  • Market your book before, during, and after the event