Tomorrow, Saturday, May 6, I’m participating in a book event at one of my favorite local bookstores, Scrawl Books in Reston, Virginia. The event includes a book drive for an elementary school library and an author panel and book signing with me (The Travelers) and another local author, Angela Glascock (The Locksmith at the End of the World).Revised Book Event Poster

We want to get as many book donations as possible, so we’ve been working with the Girl Scout troop organizing the event on promotion. (Therefore, here is the first of two shameless plugs: If you live or are visiting the Northern Virginia or Washington, DC area stop by and bring or buy a book to donate! Bring a friend! There will be prizes and Girl Scout cookies! Look at this adorable poster the Girl Scouts made! So cute!)

Brainstorming and researching the various ways to try to reach people and promote this event got me thinking about author events in general.

Promoting a Book Event is Hard

Like health care, shocker, promoting a book is hard. Unless you’re very popular and have a lot of name recognition, it’s pretty hard to get people to come to an author event. Even with money for advertising and listing on event sites, you have to find some reason people will want to come.

youll thank me laterMany people may not feel like it’s worth it if you don’t know the author or the book. Some people apparently also just aren’t “book people.” (I know these people exist. It’s still confounding to me, but true!)

However, if you fall into one of these categories that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to an author event. There can be a lot of benefits beyond just meeting an author.

Here are some reasons you may want to think about going to an author-related book event and bring some friends and family along.

5 Reasons to Go to An Author Event (Even If You Don’t Know the Author and Aren’t a Big “Book Person”)

Free.jpg1. Free Family Event

Did I stress the word free enough? Author events rarely cost money and many are kid or teen focused. Several authors will come and read their books or portions of their books. When they are for younger kids, especially, they will also often include coloring and other activities for kids. Sometimes there’s even food. (Free activities + free snacks = lots of free fun!)

Looking for a weekend activity for your kids? Why not bring them to an author event? Just check with your local bookstore or on an event website in your area.

excited2. Gets Kids Interested in and Excited About Books

Author events aren’t just for authors to promote their books. They’re for people too, particularly kids. Having an author event and showing excitement surrounding reading books can help increase children’s interest in books and reading.

inside scoop3. Get Inside Scoop on Writing and Publishing

How better to learn about what it’s really like to write and get published than from someone who has been through it? Many author events will include author Q&A where people can pose questions to the author about the writing and publishing process. If you’re interested in writing or even if you’re just interested in the process, these types of sessions or panels can provide valuable insight into the complicated and sometimes confounding world of book writing and publishing.

photo_by_kiren4. Supports Books and Bookstores (which are a vital part of our society)

While data indicates that independent bookstores are doing better than the big bookstore chains, neither type of business is booming at the moment. In general, people are reading less. This is unfortunate since books are not only critical for children’s growth and development, they’re important for adults too. Among other benefits, reading has been shown to increase intelligence and empathy and even stave off dementia. Books are a vital part of an evolved society. If we want to continue to thrive as a people, we need books. Therefore, we need bookstores. So, going to author events is a great way to support your local bookstore and keep books alive.

5. Brings People Together

talking in bookstores.jpgEven movies know bookstores bring people together. How many times has there been a cutesy meeting at a bookstore in a movie. Tons! You may not be looking for romance, but that doesn’t mean a bookstore isn’t a great place to build all kinds of different relationships.

An author event may be focused on the author, but it’s also an opportunity to meet others and encourage participation in your community. Author events can be about more than just books. Discussion of books and bookstores bring people together and strengthen communities. You might see a neighbor or make a new acquaintance. Your children could make new friends at book events.

So, if you’ve never attended an author event before, perhaps you should. Try one this weekend! (Second and last shameless plug alert.) If you’re in the DC area – try the one I’m participating in! Remember it’s for a good cause – getting donations for a local elementary school library. AND we’ll have girl scout cookies!

girl scout cookies.jpg

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