I’ve been meaning to talk about this for a while now.
It’s clear that book signings and events are on the wane. Traditionally published authors already know this, and indie authors do too. Unless you’re a former President, a NY Times best-selling author, have an established fan base (which brings up the inevitable Catch 22: ie how can I build a fan base without signings… but no one will give me a signing unless I have a fan base), or your family member, best friend, or person who owes you money runs a bookstore, it’s become harder and harder to get a book signing.
And not just at bookstores. Libraries, festivals, book fairs… you name it… the road is filled with potholes these days. Even if you do manage to strong-arm—er—persuade a venue to host you, there’s pressure on you. And on your host. You’re supposed to promote the event like it’s the second coming. They’re supposed to fill chairs with bodies. Preferably alive.
Plus, who knows how many books you’ll ultimately sell? Bookstores order twice as many as they need. Most go back to the publisher, and your sales viability slips. Or they don’t order enough, and fans go away disappointed. Or they tell you the books can’t be returned and you’ll have to provide them yourself. And maybe even pay a fee for the privilege of doing so. (I know a bookstore in Illinois doing just that.) And good luck on getting the consignment check. I’ve been stiffed more than once.
Okay. Enough of the bad stuff. Suffice it to say that the book event model is broken. Happily, there is a solution.
Do you know about TOGATHER? I think its an awesome concept: a way for both the author and the host to agree on what they both want from an event, and go all out to make it happen through crowd-sourcing. You, as an author explain what you want from an event, say 50 people… or 25 books sold. A potential host decides if it’s something they can provide. That’s it.
It’s such a fabulous idea that I’m amazed no one thought of it before. Thank goodness Andrew did. I strongly recommend that all of you who are interested in doing personal events —I am: events are a great way to build enthusiasm and the energy that’s created is a lovely thing — read this blogpost and then run, don’t walk, and sign up on Togather.
And I’m not talking just authors here. Librarians, Bookstores, organizations like AAUW, Brandeis Women and Hadassah, League of Women Voters, what are you waiting for? SIgn up now! You’ll have your pick of authors.
BTW, I signed up, and I’ll be hosting an online event toward the end of March… but more about that later.
I don’t see the downside. Not at all. I think we can make book events rock again. What do you think?