Anatomy of a Book Event: 8 Do’s and Don’ts of Success

It was with great delight that I participated in Indie Author Day at one of our local libraries. It was to be a wonderful day of readers, authors and librarians merging together. The day was well planned and the participants showed up with lots of resources for visitors.

The array of authors ranged from recently published by a few weeks, to long-standing authors of more than 20 years. There were children’s authors, historians, novelists, poets and everything in between. There were workshops, panels and lots of conversations. And it was an opportunity to see what other authors in the area had created.

It was surprised to see how many authors did not know how to prepare for this event. Most of them had tables filled with books and were ramped for sales. One person stacked up five boxes of books on a handcart to bring into the venue. Most authors left disappointed about the sales. Many of then left ahead of schedule once they realized that selling books among so  many authors wasn’t going to happen.

With a little planning on the authors’ part, this could have been a very rewarding day. Author events are most often about visibility and connectivity, with sales being the icing on the cake. If you have an event planned in the near future, try to avoid these disasters:

  1. DO NOT expect your host to have set -up resources for you. You should create an event kit to include tablecloths, display racks, etc. Be sure to get clarity on these details prior to committing to the event.
  2. DO have some literature for visitors to take away. This could be a business card, a bookmark, a button or a chapter reprint. If you don’t have any of these, at least have a sign up sheet so you can capture their information. It doesn’t take long to send a “Thank You For Stopping By” e-mail and jumpstart a writer-reader relationship.
  3. DO NOT invest in swag that does not support your book topic or genre. When a western book author offers lip gloss, I miss the point. If they can tie the book’s title or main characters to the use of the gloss, well done. Otherwise, it could be money down the drain.
  4. DO have a giveaway to capture email addresses of visitors. You could offer a signed book, a small gift bag with book and other goodies, a consultation (especially if you are in the health genre) or other great prizes. One author in attendance at my last event offered a bundle of all three of her books as a prize.
  5. DO NOT overstuff your table. Your display should be inviting without people knocking over books every time they pick up a bookmark. Don’t use large printed displays that block other people’s displays. Stand back from your table and observe it objectively. If you still aren’t sure of your display, ask a fellow author to assist you.
  6. DO have an “elevator speech” ready to describe your book. Visitors don’t expect a dissertation when they stop by your table. They want a quick story with lots of excitement. Also, try to include a compelling call-to-action to get your book into their hands during that visit, but don’t be pushy.
  7. DO NOT glue yourself to your table and fail to mingle with the other participants. As authors we share in the same highs and lows somewhere in our careers. Get to know your fellow author. Besides, you never know where a connection might lead you.
  8. DO pack a snack for quick energy. Most venues that offer food are carb-loaded. Pack some fruit or fruit juice and some nuts to give you a quick lift, especially if it’s a long day.

Reframing your mind for these events can go a long way towards the success of your day. Every person who approaches you is a potential reader (book buyer) who is worthy of your time. You need just the right combination of visual and verbal to get them on board.

Remember, even if a visitor walks away without a book in hand, it doesn’t mean you didn’t make a sale. It might just mean you didn’t make one at that time. Send them away with something in their hands and a warm smile and hope they follow up to make a purchase later.

Writing Rhythm Can Easily Be Developed


Writing rhythm is easy to recognize and develop. In this article we’ll delve into one of two types of writing rhythm (your personal writing rhythm and the rhythm of your content). Let’s look at your personal writing rhythm.

Your writing rhythm is the time of day when your energy is better for writing than at any other time. It’s the time when your productive juices are flowing at their best. You are alert and excited about writing. Like other Night Writers, you attest to early morning being their best time for writing. And the second-best time is the late evening.

The same holds true for Night Writers who are full-time (day job) mothers of small children. The results from a recent social media survey on this topic favored the early morning for get-ting their writing done. This rang true for career mothers who work full-time out of the home. They thought it was best to complete their writing before the unexpected activities of the day ate up their scheduled writing time.


A large part of discovering your writing rhythm is acknowledg-ing when you are joyfully productive. It’s your peak time. If you feed good, you write better. You want to feel good about what you are penning and you hope it requires fewer correct-ions when it’s time to edit.

In searching out your rhythm, you should reach what some call your “sweet spot,” a mythical place where your fingers can’t move fast enough. The thoughts are flowing and there’s a welcomed tension between hearing it and keying it in before the thought is lost. And so it continues, like a great symphonic crescendo. The intensity drives you to create more and more content. If only you could keep this writing rhythm for the entire length of your book. You’d live happily ever after.

Much to your dismay, you’ve maxed out the intensity of this movement. This rhythm comes to an unwanted end. Either the alarm screams at you or your thoughts dissipate as quickly as they surfaced. It’s over for now so you move on with other matters in your life. Yet there’s the fear that you might repeat this scenario at your next scheduled session.

Some writers miss catching their writing rhythm because they are over-focused on completing their writing assignments for the day. Their scheduled writing time has become routine; they can’t resume their former writing rhythm. They may need to change something in their writing environment to increase their sensitivity to their writing rhythm.

You’ll find more information on this topic in chapter 5 of the book, NIGHT WRITER: Optimize Your Time, Upgrade Your Skills, and Write Around Your Day Job, available on

The Inside Story on Goodreads

This month we’ll explore several reader platforms to help you discover additional author visibility outlets. You won’t want to miss a post! 

Goodreads – Just the Facts!

Goodreads is a social network designed to meet the needs of both authors and readers.

  • A platform for gathering readers and authors
  • Launched in 2007
  • Readers list books they want to read, read them and rate them
  • Readers can also leave a review, but it’s optional
  • Readers can connect with other readers, just like they would on other social networks
  • There are more than 40 million members, 1.3 billion books and 47 million reviews on this platform; 70% female and 30% male users
  • It’s one of the most visited websites in the world
  • You can network with fellow readers and authors
  • Readers vote on their list of favorite books (Listopia)
  • Goodreads help people find the books they really want to read
  • You can track the books you read
  • It integrates with other social networks
  • Connect via message boards, recommendations and listicles
  • Some people compare it to Pandora Radio for books

Why Should Authors Use This Platform?

Authors should run to Goodreads because it offers the following author visibility benefits:

  • You can communicate directly with readers through the “Ask the Author” platform, or post trivia, polls, quizzes, quotes and events
  • You can set up a Goodreads button on your blog
  • You can solicit reviews
  • Want to dig down deep? Start a Q&A Discussion Group
  • Launch a Goodreads Book Giveaway
  • Determine if Goodreads Deals meet with the specifics of your book
  • Sell your books from a subtle position

How Do I Register for this Platform?

To register, go to www. and complete the log in information.

Are There Any Costs Related to this Platform?

Goodreads is a $0 platform (except for paid ads which you may want to consider — get details here). Otherwise, your investment is your time.

Getting Started

Follow these steps to begin your relationship with Goodreads and the readers who frequent this network:

  1. Go to Sign up for a free account. Spend time learning the dashboard to assure your ability to benefit from this site.
  2. Complete your author profile (bio, photo, social network links)
  3. Import your blog from your author website
  4. Double-check all links and references
  5. Join groups that interest you.
  6. If available, add your video book trailer
  7. Invite friends to join you (consider using the import tool to gather friends from your social networks).
  8. Read the works of other authors and comment or rate them, when appropriate
  9. Position yourself to meet new readers and fellow authors
  10. Visit this page if you need assistance. You’ll find a slideshow there also —

Sample Review for this Platform

  • Add a brief introduction to the book
  • A a brief synopsis of the storyline
  • List several relevant points
  • List things you didn’t like or seemed not to fit (be gracious in your wording)
  • What surprised you the most
  • Other (perhaps a question surfaced more than once, or you have an additional comment)

Go Deeper 

Check out the following e-books available on on the subject of Goodreads:
Goodreads for Authors: How to Use Goodreads to Promote Your Books
The Author’s Guide to Goodreads: How to Engage With Readers and Market Your Book

Wrapping Up 

By all means, make use of Goodreads. It’s just sitting there waiting for you. Feel free to visit my page hereAnd if you haven’t connected to us through our blog, BookWorks, you can subscribe today!