When I say smaller book events, I mean the events where there’s a conversation/talk, followed by a signing! I’ve recently went to two smaller book events and I’ve been to couple over the years. There’s lots of how to guides on how to handle big events such as BookCon, BookExpo, and YallFest/West, but no so many about smaller events! I know it seems like you just, go haha, and that’s the basics. But, I always get really nervous beforehand and I’ve heard other people get nervous, so I thought it’d be cool to write a post about what to expect and these types of events!
Check The Event Details
This is where you’ll find where it will be, if you need to purchase a book, and what time it will take place. It can usually be found on the bookstores website or social media. If it doesn’t explicitly mention that you have to purchase a book, I have found it safe to assume you don’t need to. Though, I would prepare for it just in case! Plus, it’s always great to support indies, where most of these events take place! It’ll also tell you if you’re able to bring more books from home to get signed! Again, if it doesn’t shout at you “NO OTHER BOOKS ALLOWED”, you should be fine go bring a few from home!
It’s Totally Normal If You’re Nervous
I’ve been to a few of these events and I still get nervous before everyone. You’re not alone! I don’t really have advice for how to quell the nerves, since I’m still trying to figure that out haha. But, you’re going to see authors you think are cool and you’re going to here them talk and get your books signed, which is pretty cool!
Time To Arrive
I usually arrive an hour before the event starts. I’m the kind of person who likes to be early for everything, so you can adjust according to your schedule or what you think will work best for you. Some events, when you buy the book before the event, will give you a wristband with your number in line. If the event is like this, it might be beneficial to arrive earlier. Or, if you’re close enough, go in the morning, get a great spot in line, and come back later! It really depends on how you work. If you want to sit up front, you might want to get there earlier. If the authors aren’t huge names, you can probably get there a little later. And you can always just lollygag if you get there super early!
The event will usually start with the conversation. I find it super fun to listen to the authors talk about anything from their favorite books, to their writing process. They usually take questions at the end too. Definitely ask something if you want to!
If you’re awkward, that’s fine! I’m sure so many people in the signing line feel the same way as you. You don’t even have to have anything prepared to say to the authors when you get up the table. You can just say “hi” and they’ll do most of the talking! I’m sure some of them feel as awkward as you do! If you do want to say something to them, that’s totally cool too! I’m sure they’d love to here it!
This might just be because I’m an intense introvert, but I am always so exhausted after these events. It usually a new place, with a lot of new people, and a lot of information to absorb. So, if you feel like just collapsing on your bed afterwards, I totally understand the feeling haha.
I’ve come to enjoy these types of events a lot more after I got used to them. Hopefully something here helped a little bit, since I know these kinds of things can be nerve-wracking!
Thank you for reading!