It’s a dream come true. Not only are you a published author, but your publisher is actually setting up an event for you! A reading at a bookstore, perhaps, or possibly something at a library or community center. You get nervous: What will I wear? Which section of my book should I read? What questions will I be asked? And, finally, most importantly: will anyone show up?
The answer to that last question, as just about every author can attest, is no. Well, it’s not always no–sometimes people show up. Especially if you’ve been writing for a while and have a following, of if you’re doing an event for later books in a series, or if you’re doing an event with authors who have a following. But as a first-time author out in the world, getting people to turn up is hard. I had an author at an event this past weekend that went spectacularly badly. Not only was it sparsely attended, but the store wasn’t able to get the books in time! So the author traveled to an event only to have a handful of people show up, and then couldn’t even sell the book to them. I wish I could say this was a rare occurrence, but it happens all the time.
But I’m not really here to complain. What I want to know from you, dear readers, is what makes you turn out for a book event? Do you ever go to events for authors whose books you haven’t yet read? Is there some sort of enticement that might make you come out? Or is the bookstore event best reserved to those with large followings? I’m curious to hear what you think.