How-To: Author Takeovers

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So you’ve been invited to do an author takeover at a release party. Fantabulous!

Now what?

While having the spotlight on you might seem overwhelming, it’s really fairly simple. Readers (and that’s who we’re hoping is attending a release party, obviously) want to know about three things:

  1. Your book
  2. You
  3. What they  might get

So let’s take these one at a time.

Your Book

If this is a release party specifically for your book, then your book is the obvious star. The goal is to let people know about your book and *hopefully* generate lots of sales. So of course you want to talk about your book. Give the readers the synopsis. Share a couple of quotes or excerpts. Talk about where you got your inspiration for the book. Create a character profile for one of your main characters and share it. Share your cover; this is an especially good tool to use if your cover has not yet been released. Readers are drawn in first and foremost by a cover, so use this to your advantage. Above all, share the link to where readers can get your book; you want them to know where to go.

What if this a release party for someone else’s book, though? Well, give their book a shout-out; it’s polite and respectful. Thank the featured author for having you and allowing you to host a short portion of the party. And then talk about your book. Yes, you’re allowed. Still give a synopsis. Still share the cover. Still talk about the characters, your inspiration, whatever you’d like the readers to know. And don’t forget to share your link.

You

There’s more to marketing for indie authors than just talking about your book; there are way too many of us out there for us to depend solely on our work and report cards. Readers want to know us. They want to know why they should trust us enough to buy our book over author A, B, or C’s. So when you do an author takeover, don’t be afraid to talk about you.

Create a Q&A post, where you invite the readers to ask you what they want to know. Make sure you answer! Even if it’s not immediate (because believe me, these parties can get crazy with interactions, and time flies) let them know you’ll get to their questions. Let them know you’re paying attention and you find their inquiries important.

Talk about why you started writing in the first place. Share a fun anecdote. Tell your readers/share a picture of the costume your kid wore for Halloween, and encourage them to do the same. Talk about the things you love, whether it be a sports team, tattoos, a certain band. Share music you like. Share quotes you love. Recommend other books to your readers. Have some fun with them, and let them know you’re someone–as an author and a person–they should invest in.

What They Might Get

It’s fairly typical to run some sort of contest or giveaway when you’re doing an author takeover. It’s not required, by any means, but it is the norm. And frankly, it’s a fairly easy way to help generate interest and sales. Readers will be much more willing to buy your book if they know that doing so might win them something. That’s just reality.

You can do contests or giveaways however you like. You can also do as few or as many as you like. It’s all up to you. Many authors give away copies of their books,–either the new release or previously published works–donated copies of other authors’ books, or swag. (For anyone who isn’t aware, swag is any type of marketing material that helps sell your book: bookmarks, postcards, magnets, business cards, t-shirts, hats, anything that you can think of. Most swag will feature your logo, your publisher’s logo, the cover of your book, a teaser, or some other image that helps represent you and your work.)

Contests and giveaways can be as basic or creative as you want them to be. Some authors choose to do a straight-up raffle. You mark that you’re attending, your name goes in the pot. At the end of the event, all the names go into a random generator and the winner takes all. Others will do individual contests that require some sort of participation. For example, they’ll post a picture and ask attendees to caption it. Whoever creates the author’s favorite wins. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you follow through on your promised prize, even if it takes a while. Keep in contact with your winners and let them know you’ve got them covered.

And that’s about it. The goal is to relax and have fun. It is a party, after all. 🙂

If you’re interested in a few more details regarding my own personal experience with release parties, check out What I Learned At My First Pre-Release Party. It’s got a couple of tips that I didn’t cover here.

Much love!

 

~~Briana Robertson, Author, Stitched Smile Publications

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Briana Robertson is an emerging speculative fiction author, working primarily within the genres of horror and fantasy. Her love of authors such as Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Patrick Rothfuss, and J.K. Rowling has developed her own need to put pen to paper. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies, and broadcast on online podcasts. Her debut novel is in the works, set to release in 2017. She currently lives in the Midwest, with her husband, three daughters, and their Maine Coon, Bagheera. Be sure to visit her website, as well as follow her on Facebook,Twitter,Instagram,WordPress, and Pinterest.

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