I had the pleasure of hearing Wendy Delsol speak at the Des Moines Public Library about her debut YA novel Stork, and what a fantastic event it was. Great crowd, beautiful space, lots of shiny new books for sale, and a supportive library staff.

So I’ve been thinking about what makes a successful book launch/author event. Here’s what I learned from Wendy’s:

  1. Planted questions are a great idea – Wendy had three friends in the audience with pre-written questions to show she’d answer anything from literary questions to tennis questions to raising-teenage-boy questions. It was a fun way to break the ice and get everyone laughing. Plus, it’s probably nice for the author to have the first three questions planned out before having to deal with point #2:
  2. Have grace under fire – I’d heard from other authors that people will ask about money all the time, and they were right. Wendy handled the “how much goes in your pocket” question with a lot of poise.
  3. Bring your family – Wendy’s sons were helping sell books and her husband was a salesman, a photographer, and general support system, which was adorable. You have to have a supportive family to be an author, I think, and it was such fun to see them helping Wendy during her event.
  4. Bring non-writing friends – While writing people are some of the best, Wendy also had a group of tennis friends in the audience. It was great to see the support she had outside of “writing people.”
  5. Yay for after parties – Assume you won’t have much time to visit with folks during the event and plan for drinks at a local establishment afterwards. It was lovely to mix writer and tennis friends and a good time was had by all.

What have you learned from author events? Any advice to share?

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