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Planning an Event Fit for an Author

Tips for planning an author event  by Charlese of Girl at the Yellow Desk

There are very few things that inspire stress the way planning an event does, especially an author event. Yet there are so few things that bring people together, especially your fans: present and future ones! Short of a national book tour, how does an indie author create a stellar marketing event that brings about much success and avoid some stress and expenses? Here are some tips to help!


First of all, you will want to decide on a venue making sure to include the idea of how many people you are expecting. If your budget is low, some ways to snag a low cost or free location include:

  • Asking a friend or someone you regularly do business with who owns a local business with a beautiful location such as a salon, boutique or restaurant.
  • Offering to barter or give a percentage of sales to a local business who would like the exposure such as a coffee shop or art. 
  • Asking someone you know who has a beautiful home or backyard
  • Extra points if your location is themed to your book!



The day and time will depend on your book release, but goes hand in hand with the location as well as season. Work with your location to help make this decision final.


The Fun Stuff!

What will your event offer? This is where you can have fun by getting creative! Use your book to inspire you, here are a few cool ideas to make this event more than just a reading of a passage and stuffy people standing around with drink glasses in their hands. This also has to go along with your venue since the scope and size of what you will offer for fun and food depends much on your location as much as your budget. Make sure to see what your venue already can offer in the way of food and decor, the location may have some easy options already that you will love. As far as making the event a stand out with fun, here are ideas:

  • A selfie wall/photo booth which background is inspired by a scene from your book or the cover with fun accessories that are on brand. Make sure the wall has proprietary hashtags to you and your book for being featured on social media as well as a way for your publisher to be tagged.
  • Games based on your book theme or location theme are a fun surprise. A summer release could have cornhole and horseshoes in a backyard or an indoor salon can have a fun guessing game or “pin the tail” style game. Make sure to have some small prizes, people love that.
  • If you released a book of poetry, perhaps a wall can be used with words and phrases for your attendees to create their own poem by moving the words around to form a fun haiku!
  • If your book is about cooking, creative skills or about self improvement, make this a short learning or therapy session, encourage people to come to learn and leave with a new skill, to be put into smaller group therapy sessions or have a guest expert join you.
  • Create drinks and snacks that also go along with your book theme, season or create and name specific drinks (alcoholic or otherwise) named after you, your book, characters or chapters within. 
  • Decorations can be simple if your location is already set up for public appearances, just add a few touches to personalize things.


Invitations and Marketing

This is the time to really reach out to your Social Media followers, email list, friends and friends of friends. Spread the word! You can ask your local establishments to support you as well with fliers, cards or asking for emails on a list. Make sure to check with your venue for the maximum number allowed and set up online ticketing through a site like EventBrite. Encourage attendees to sign up for their ticket online and reward them with a coupon off their book purchase. To ensure people actually attend, I suggest charging them a nominal fee for their tickets in exchange for a food or drink coupon and/or the book discount. When using Social Media and Email marketing, ramp up with announcements a couple weeks in advance and send reminders up until the day of. Don’t forget to take pictures at the event and include those in follow up posts and emails for those who couldn’t make it to see what they missed and encourage joining you next time.


Thank You Gifts

These aren’t necessary if you gave a discount or had food and drinks available. But if you held an intimate event for close friends and colleagues, a small take home gift of gratitude is always appreciated.


Multiple Events

Once you have found ways to save money with your event, why not have more than one book event? Maybe in multiple locations? While this is marketing for yourself, it should be fun too.


I hope these tips helped to stimulate creativity and organize your ideas to help you start planning your next event within your budget. Don’t be afraid to get out there and show your fans a great time! For more ideas on marketing, free links to social media planning, or to work together on your next event,  please click here.



Charlese | Girl at the Yellow Desk

A Virtual Assistant for Social Media Management, Copywriting and Event/Travel Planning

Instagram: @girlattheyellowdesk




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