Aug 16, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box: Scarletta Press Events

We're a small indie publisher, so it's important that we use the motto "think outside the box" to guide all our marketing (e.g., events, social media, etc.). In Monday's Publishers Weekly Shelftalker, Josie Leavitt discussed "What Makes a Good Event?," and that had me thinking, what kind of outside the box thinking have we done to reach that "good event" status?

It's the common case with all book events that you most likely won't get what you expect. Book stores, libraries, and other venues graciously welcome our authors in, so a good chunk of promoting the event and the store is up to us. When determining events or setting up any type of event, we ask ourselves a few simple questions:
     1. What can we do that's outside of the
        box or special for this event?
     2. What is the incentive for consumers to attend this event?
     3. What connects consumers to this venue?
     4. How can we creatively reach consumers who frequent the venue & those who
        do not?

Something that Leavitt said in her post really stuck out to me (because it's true!)

"What publicists and authors need to understand is that not every event is going to a crush of hundreds of people. But having a good event means that the folks attending will remember you and your work. They will tell their friends about how wonderful it was to meet you and talk to you about your work. And most importantly, they will now become loyal fans who will not only buy your books, they’ll give them as gifts."
So what can we do to draw those good consumers in?
There are a few simple things I always do for events. I start with the incentive—food, music, giveaways, etc. I determine the local media/coverage and especially post it on every online event/literary calendar I can find. I bring in social media, advertising, newsletters, and of course I ask our authors to self-promote to their personal contacts.

A good example of a Scarletta Press event is our upcoming Read & Dine with Bob Macdonald next Tuesday evening at Barnes & Noble at the Galleria in Edina, MN.
1. What's special about this event? It's a paired reading with Lee Svitak Dean, the Star Tribune Taste Editor and cookbook author, and it's the first public event for Bob's new book Knives on the Cutting Edge: The Great Chefs' Dining Revolution.

2. What is the incentive? FOOD! It's catered by Broders' Deli, and Lee is bringing in a delicious treat straight from her cookbook Come One, Come All. Not to mention two of the most respectable foodies in the Twin Cities area will be available to the public!

3. What connects consumers to this venue? The shops at the Galleria are high-end, thus consumers at the shops will most likely have an interest in the type of food and books available at the event. They're also local and frequent shoppers in the area.

4. What have we done to creatively reach consumers? We created huge posters for the event that went up in the Galleria and at Broders'. We posted on every online event calendar, sent out notifications on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, sent out press releases and announcements to all the local media, and had an interview in the Star Tribune with Lee. Bob sent us a list of personal contacts that we sent event postcards to, and we even handed out postcards and chapbook galleys on Nicollet Mall.

We won't know the attendance until Tuesday, but we do know we've done an awful lot to create one heck of an event. In the end, when it comes to book events, it's not always the quantity of attendees, but the quality of the event.

1 comment:

  1. We must think outside the box to decide all our events, their venues etc, Depending on the type of event locations you decide to have your press conference, you may be able to use some of its features to enhance your decorations and themes. If you have hosted other events in the past, don't be afraid to recycle certain ideas to make your party a success.