The Power of the Group: Bringing a Few Authors Together for Intimate Reading/Sales/Signing Events
by Laura Orsini
My, how our little Meetup group – Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion – has grown! When I took over as organizer of the group in May 2013, we had 72 members. As of this writing, 686 additional Phoenix-area authors and would-be authors have joined. Funny thing, this group of authors and would-be authors. Most of them have never set foot in one of our meetings. Many others come once and don’t come back. I’m still scratching my head about that, but I definitely don’t lose sleep over it.
Those authors who do come back do so because they find value in what we’re doing: offering practical professional advice on how to make great books and market them. We offer two seminars a month on various aspects of publishing and book marketing. Upcoming topics are “INDIE vs TRADITIONAL: Know Your Publishing Options + Festival Success Tips and Formatting Your eBook and Creating an Audiobook. In addition to the two seminars per month, we have a networking only meeting every other month, where authors meet for a casual get-together. No theme or workshop topic – just a place to talk about their books, ask questions, offer suggestions, mingle, and foster friendships. I do begin every one of the networking questions with an icebreaker question that encourages each author to introduce his/her book or book idea in a novel way. Past questions have included: “Which song would be the best one to explain or introduce your book?” and “What would be the best non-bookstore venue for you to sell your books?” The networking events are the last Wednesday of the odd months.
This year, we’ve added something new to the mix. Thanks to the suggestion of member Suzanne Sinclair, we are hosting an intimate, bimonthly Author Reading/Sales/Signing Event. The Author Reading/Sales/Signing Events are the last Wednesday of the even months. Which means the next one will be held on Wednesday, April 27! The goal is to bring together about 10 authors. Each will prepare a 5-minute reading – followed by a Q&A with all the participating authors. Each author will have room to display his/her books and will sell and sign books following the reading.
Our first outing with this new reading/signing event was in February. We had 7 participating authors (one a husband-wife team) and a few guests. All told, it was a small showing, but successful nonetheless in that books were sold! Our goal for the April 27 event is to do a better job of spreading the word so that we have different authors participating and more of the general public attending. The location is the clubhouse at the condo of one of our members.
Our tentative upcoming schedule is:
Wednesday, April 27
Wednesday, June 29
Wednesday, August 31
Wednesday, October 26
Wednesday, December 28
If you’re local, I hope you’ll add our April event to your calendar and come out to see us! If you’re from another corner of the state or part of the country, consider pooling resources with authors in YOUR area to put together a small author event. Things are almost always easier when it’s a group effort, instead of trying to do it all on your own. Remember that the PR/marketing onus is on all participating authors.
Have a great group-author event success story? Share it with us in the Comments section below.
To your continued publishing success!
LAURA ORSINI is a self-publishing consultant who works with authors who want to change the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Laura is the organizer of the Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion Meetup, creator of the Holiday Author Event, and conjuror of many other author opportunities. She will explore the power of the group in her posts for this group blog. In the meantime, read her regular posts at Marcie Brock – Book Marketing Maven. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.