Attending festivals or other events could be a highly beneficial opportunity for you if you’re an independent author or small-time publisher, but they’re also quite pricey, especially for those who are traveling from out of town to attend the conference. It’s good to make the proper preparations so as to make the most out of your experience.
Attending book fairs is an excellent way to gain publicity as an author as well as introduce your book to a wider audience, all while positioning and effectively marketing yourself among other artists of different calibers to potentially gain a new following in person and online.
Your entire writing career could be improved by attending just a single publishing conference, book festival, or publishing industry trade show.
Not sure if you should join a book festival? Consider this:in essence, the book fair experience is all about linking people to make something magical possible, whether you sign with an agent during a speed-dating experience, have the opportunity to place your novel in the possession of your favorite independent publisher, or engage in a wonderful workshop that helps you complete your next book.
Here’s how to register your book or manuscript to a book event, and some things to keep in mind when doing so.
- Register on the festival’s website and pay the fee
Most international or even smaller-tier book festivals allow patrons to register in advance online, and usually, there’s a registration grace period. Find the book fair’s website and navigate to the registration page from there.
2. Make preparations in advance
Once you’ve successfully registered, it’s time to start planning. Design and take inventory of the items you intend to display- whether it be bookmarks, business cards, flyers, all of that. Preparation is key.
3. Talk to other people who have attended the event before
If possible, try to gain insight from others who have participated in the event in the past, so as to get a gist of how the program flow is and what else to expect. It’s always good to research in advance.
4. Gather as much information as you can about the exhibit, and use it to your advantage
Conduct research in advance on panel discussions, presenters, appearances, and more- find out which one you want to participate in, then plan your presentation around that.
5. Look into the career-beneficial opportunities and genre-appropriate stalls
Research on the distributors, agents, service providers, publishers, authors, and editors that will be attending. Figure out who you want to meet, then determine which stall would appropriately fit your book’s genre as well as the plan you have in mind for the stall’s aesthetic.
6. Wear comfortable shoes
Most book fairs involve a whole lot of walking around, going back and forth across the fairgrounds while interacting with others. Wear comfortable shoes- you’ll regret wearing stiff leather moccasins (unless you’re used to them).
7. Being early is always great
Show up to the fair early in order to get a thorough understanding of the event’s landscape and layout- survey the environment and familiarize yourself with entrances, exits, bathrooms, and other potential points of interest.
8. Remember- these events are meant to benefit everyone involved
Being able to participate in a publishing event is a great opportunity to talk about your book and earn new readers, all while meeting and interacting with potential editors, publishers, and agents.
9. Tailor your stall to fit your book’s genre and feel
Be sure to carefully curate every aspect of your stall’s decorations and collaterals in advance. Prepare a pre-illustrated or imaginary layout as to how it will look, then execute that plan with precision. Every detail must accentuate the vibe of your book and its book cover in a visually appealing manner.
10. Be prepared for the next day
Conferences can either be one-day events or last up to ten days at a time. Most of them are within the two to three-day mark, usually over a weekend, and generally consist of anywhere between five to thirty-five (or sometimes more) workshops being conducted during the event.