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Friday, August 12, 2011

My experience at the ‘Women’s Expo Event’

Nervous, I approached the expo with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. It was a chance to promote not only my work but three other authors beyond cyberspace.

I took my welcome letter with the directions and headed to the ‘Walk -the outlets in Atlantic City’. I easily found the entrance where Cat Country radio station trucks were loading their stuff and their staff helping arrange everyone to their booths. I was impressed with not only the organization, but the helpful attitude of the staff. It certainly allowed everyone to have a day free of the stress and worry of disorganization. One staff member, Kaitlynn Breder the Marketing Consultant at Millennium Radio NJ did a great job helping us. A professional I had the pleasure of meeting her and experiencing the care and consideration she took of all of us.

The three talented authors I had the pleasure meeting for the first time. M. Kate Quinn author of ‘Moonlight & Violet’, and ‘Summer Iris’ published with The Wild Rose Press, M. Flagg author of ‘Retribution’, ‘Consequences’, and ‘His Soul to Keep’ published with The Wild Rose Press, and Ami Feller author of ‘Boardwalk in Disrepair-The Splintering of Miss Patriotic’ published with ComteQ Publishing, arrived later for the event.

The day was beautiful, people mingled and bustled about, waiting to shop or dance the Zomba!
A dance inspired from the Latin dance. The spicy, sultry beat had me dancing about, handing out postcards and gifts.

We met many interesting people that showed interest in our books and handed out a lot of gifts. The day passed with the handing out of promotional goodies, and answering questions. We had readers stopping to inquire about our books and we were more than happy to chat. Few actually asked if our books are on Kindle which tells you more and more readers are into reading on today’s gadgets.
I passed my postcards, lollypops, cards, bookmarks. Also I handed out the gift bags provided by the talented Helen Henderson author of ‘Windmaster’, and ‘Romance of my Dreams II’. "Thanks Helen, I passed some of what you sent me". The bags were filled with goodies from different authors.

I discovered many vendors gave out their products for free. Some were there simply to promote their products by showing and giving free gifts. To these select vendors the selling aspect was not a priority, their intent was to spread the word about their name, their brand so to speak. Some offered a free promotional gift if you friended them on Facebook.

To have a successful event there are a few key things you’ll need:

1. Signage. A BIG banner or board to show who you are. Unfortunately, I was so nervous I forgot mine. Still, I’m happy I didn’t spend the money on a banner with my book cover and a few words about my book.
I know now what I need to place on any banner, or two banners I use. Intrigue is key: draw people’s eye and the body will follow. What you write and show on the board or banner is the most critical aspect, and is intended to catch the interest of a fast passer. Remember they walk fast and some of them will not stop unless something catches their eyes.

2. You need to engage the people who come near your booth. I saw some providing that engaged them on more than just a visual level. I never thought of that, I was concentrating on selling my displayed books, and offering some free stuff. Really, the people who engaged the crowd did a great job even if they didn’t sell anything. They made sure the traffic come to them to win something and got to know their website, or friend them on facebook. That made me think that I should change my strategy next time I go for an event. Time to think out of the box!!!!

3. Be creative with your gifts. Anything big, colorful and useful will attract attention. Nothing pricy, just something that will bring their attention. I attached my lollypops to my bookmarks and postcards. Their eyes hit that lollypop before my postcard, but hey, whatever makes them happy.

4. Don’t sit and wait for readers to come to you. Get on your feet and start talking to them. Ask if they like to read books, or if they would like a gift. Initiate the conversation and titillate their interests. I know some of us are shy, and afraid of being rejected face to face. Well, here’s some news for you - there is no place for that introverted personality here. To sell, or even to get your name out there you have to GET on your feet and work it.

5. Beside the postcards, do brochures. Give them something to read when they get home. Attach some chocolate to it and make it memorable. The brochure should include something other than your book excerpt and your info- write something funny that they will remember you-the author-by it, or something to brighten their day. Write something that will make them say, wow I think I like this author and would like to check her/his books.

6. Finally, enjoy your day and smile at everyone who passes by and wish them a wonderful day.

You never know who you will meet at an event. You may not think about it, but it only takes one person to spread the word to two, and three and soon you don’t know who will hear about you. Most importantly I discovered that I need to be out there spreading awareness about my name, books and business. And yes being an author is a business, and one has to approach it as such.

Don’t be nervous instead start thinking ‘how can I be more creative this time’, how can I get my name and my books in front of the people who will buy them?

I hope my experience gave you some ideas of how to plan your next promo event.

Thank you for visiting my blog and reading my article


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience and helpful tips, Suzannah.

  2. Really good advice Suzannah. Thanks for sharing your experience and what you learned.

  3. Great advice. Especially smiling and chatting people up. Sometimes, when you're really nice and friendly and you listen as well as talk to people, the feel guilted into buying your book. That's fine by me. I don't even particularly care if you read it. Just buy them. Buy them all. lol!

  4. Cherie and Beth~ thank you so much for reading my article. Hope I added something new ;)

    Lilly ~ thank you so much for reading my article and I hope you found something new to add to your events. ;)

  5. Suzannah, great article. Interesting ideas and useful information for how to get out there and become known. You are right, it takes meeting and greeting. Smiling and making an effort. It is working. Having postcards to hand out really helps. Thanks for your 'heads up' on what to do.

  6. Hi Suzannah. I enjoyed reading about your experience. And I agree with all you have said. Promo is hard and "selling yourself and your work" is hardest of all for those of us who are introverts but it has to be done.
    Thanks for the insight and encouragement.

  7. Thank you, Rosalie and Linda for reading my article. I'm glad that you enjoyed reading it, and I hope my experience will help you in your next event.

  8. You have helpful words of wisdom I plan to incorporate into signings. I never thought about encouraging them to join my Facebook page. It's hard to "sell" an e-book. But it is easy to engage visitors about e books and publishing. That is except when they wrinkle their nose when mentioning e-book! Some will not even think of buying one...sigh...

  9. Thank you for reading my article. Actually J Q Rose, lots of readers love their kindle and e-reader and we had couple that asked us if our print books are on kindle. One idea you may try as well, people like the look of a mini CD so you can place a postcard - the cover in the front and the blurb on the back and stick it to the mini CD either as a gift or to sell your e-book.