Thursday, September 29, 2016

Journey Into the World of Book Tours (and Presentations) – Part 2

I’ve now had the privilege of conducting six presentations and book signings at various libraries around the great state of Pennsylvania. Here is a few things I have learned along the way –

Make sure you are well rested. Sometimes easier said than done, but I made sure before my evening
presentation I took a little nap or at least had some down time. I never did any rehearsing either of my program. That tends to make you nervous, etc. Trust in your prep (which you should have done beforehand!). Which reminds me, make sure if you are staying overnight at a hotel, that you pick a good one and in good proximity to your events. Do your research ahead of time and check reviews for the place where you plan to stay.  I also used Priceline to help with the cost and find a reasonable place to stay. To make it work better, check out the hotels in your price range ahead of time using Yelp or Trip Advisor for reviews. Then go for a price point on a site like Priceline.

Try to stay organized. If you have requested tables for your literature, handouts, books, make sure your boxes are packed for that particular table, it goes quicker in set up. I also arrived a good 75 minutes early to greet the librarian or whoever arranged for the program and got the lay of the land, so to speak. In some libraries the program took place among the book stacks, literally! Others had large meeting rooms. Don’t expect that everything will be ready when you arrive. You will likely need to help set up the room. If you plan to speak, make sure also that your PowerPoint presentation is up and running early to avoid any issues. Most libraries do not have a clicker – bring one (much better that way then having you stuck at the laptop advancing photos).

Try to get some book signings in BEFORE you begin your presentation. I said something like – 

I used an easel to advertise about my speaking
"I will be signing books before the program begins if anyone wants to avoid the after meeting rush.” I took care of many book sales at that time (have enough change, your Square credit card reader or other cc card reader ready to go then).  After the program it can get quite hectic, esp with questions and conversation. If you can have a buddy go with you to manage the actual sales, leaving you to sign books and converse, all the better.

I did have to rush a bit at the end on occasion as the libraries need to close by a certain time. Try to stay on schedule.

Make sure you have something to eat and have bottled water with you before you speak. It helps with energy levels and helps your speaking voice.

After the program, make sure to communicate with the libraries or other venues that hosted you. Ask for feedback, recommendations, and to encourage them to ask others in their area if they would
like to have you speak. Follow up is important.

By the way - 
If your library would like to have me speak about my 4000 mile AT adventure - go HERE for more information. I am based in VA and can travel to the mid Atlantic region and PA. I would love to come!

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